Josh Ozersky, a James Beard Award–winning food writer, wrote an interesting essay for Time pondering whether or not chefs play a part in the obesity epidemic in America.
A chef’s job is to make food delicious. Can you blame them, then, if delicious food often requires butter? In the essay, Ozersky quotes Paul Bocuse, who once said “A chef is not a doctor.” Can you even blame a chef whose cuisine is out of the price range of most Americans anyway?
To get some other opinions, Ozersky sought out more chefs to see how responsible they felt for feeding patrons fattening food. Some simply shrugged off the questions, echoing Bocuse’s sentiment. A few, though, offered some more insight.
Writes Ozersky: “Zak Pelaccio, of Fatty Crab and Fatty ‘Cue in New York City, stresses that people don’t need to ‘fear salt and fat, but understand how these ingredients can be used’ and has started a nonprofit called the Cooking Room that teaches kids to cook to that end.
“The most interesting of the responses I solicited from chefs was from Chipotle’s Nate Appleman, who is in charge of the culinary program at what is arguably the healthiest of all the major quick-service chains in the U.S. … Though buff and fit now, Appleman used to be 90 lb. heavier … ‘I think people need to take responsibility for their own actions instead of blaming others,’ he says. ‘I know, because I used to be obese and always had an excuse. I have since lost 90 lb. and changed the way I eat. However, I did not change the way I cook: use fresh ingredients, sourced responsibly with minimal manipulation. That said, a chef’s job is to make food delicious. If that means it is decadent and indulgent, so be it.”
Appleman stresses fresh over low-calorie prepackaged food, something a lot of food professionals support.
Though I’m not a food professional by any stretch of the imagination, I think I fall into that camp of fresh over prepackaged. A high-fat avocado is much better food to feed my son than a low-fat cookie, in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on the subject?