Chefs, thanks to their celebrity, now have the clout and the passion, as well as the knowledge, to point us back to the things that matter -- to sustainable farming, to raising animals naturally in fresh air, rather than inside cement barracks pumped full of antibiotics. We're slowly, too slowly, recognizing the scary results of chemical-laced livestock in overcrowded spaces -- not merely inferior beef and tasteless chicken, or unpleasant bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria, but also the evolution of truly deadly bacteria such as E. Coli O157:H7.
Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse, began working with farmers thirty years ago and asked us all to understand better where our food comes from because it matters. This former schoolteacher had the authority to do this because she ran a popular restaurant. A generation later, chefs are a powerful force in the way we raise hogs, cattle, and chicken because Americans are spending their dollars at these chefs' restaurants and buying their cookbooks -- capitalism at its best -- and reading about their beliefs and philosophies, in addition to trying to actually cook their food, and believing what these chefs believe...The Reach of a Chef: Beyond the Kitchen by Michael Ruhlman