What a Farmer Can Teach a Chef

What a Farmer Can Teach a Chef

The Conundrum

I was working at a large resort a few years ago, killing the prep list for our New Year’s celebration. Running up to the last several hours before execution, I found myself in front of a six-foot griddle getting ready to sear off two thousand U10 scallops. As I started popping the lids off of the containers, I was amazed at how beautifully uniform every single one was. I set myself to the task at hand as my mind began to wander, imagining what it must have taken to have harvested and sorted all of the scallops. Had it been a labor of love or just another shipment to get out?

Earlier in the morning, as I walked into the prep kitchen to rally the crew, I was taken aback at the pallets and hand trucks stacked with the product for the event. When one is prepping for a thousand people, it doesn’t leave much room for reflection, yet I wondered — more than once that day — where had all of this stuff come from? Had factory farms and ranches been involved or did some product represent smaller operations? How much had come from our partners in the adjacent valley or did it even matter? My thoughts at that moment were more practical than romantic; there were mouths to feed, after all, and purveyors to thank.

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