Thursday, December 02, 2010

U.S. Congress passes sweeping child nutrition bill

Today the House of Representatives passed a bill supported by Mrs. Obama that will fund child nutrition measures with $4.5 billion dollars.  Part of the funding will come from a cut in the federal food stamp program.  If President Obama signs the bill into law, the federal government will soon have more power to set school food standards.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Senate approves overhaul of food safety laws

By a vote of 73 to 25, the Senate today approved the biggest overhaul to the United States' food safety laws since the 1930s.

The House has already passed a similar version of the legislation.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marilyn Monroe's Stuffing Recipe

Was Marilyn Monroe a competent home cook?  There is some evidence that she was, including a delightfully detailed, hand-written recipe for poultry stuffing published in yesterday's New York Times.  Sensuousness and cuisine--a natural pairing.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Fast Food Restaurants Dish Up Unhealthy Marketing to Youth

Can you believe it?  The U. S. fast food industry spent more than $4.2 billion on marketing and advertising in 2009, according to a new study from Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.  Companies are stepping up their marketing to children, and it's working.
The full report and tools for consumers and researchers are available at Follow the conversation on Twitter at the hashtag #fastfoodfacts.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

IACP Impacts Chefs Move to Schools

Yesterday IACP members Dan Traster, Judy Rusignuolo and I and a room full of Washington, D.C., culinary professionals attended a Chefs Move to Schools meeting sponsored by the National Restaurant Association DC chapter's educational foundation and Share Our Strength.  The first speaker was everyone's favorite, White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass.  He gave a pep talk and then asked for questions.
I brought up research that came out last week from the Edible Schoolyard.  It said that children who had been in the Edible Schoolyard program in elementary school did not eat more vegetables in middle school.  In fact, they ate less veggies than when they had been in the Edible Schoolyard program.  Kass said the results meant that children and youth need to be supported at every step as they develop. 
We can support young people in school all we like, I replied, but if we don't involve the families, the youth will experience cognitive dissonance when they are eating at home.  My suggestion:  Bring together the first two pillars of the Let's Move campaign against childhood obesity with youth/parent partner cooking classes.  
One pillar seeks to give parents the information they need to provide healthy meals for their families.  The second is to improve school food.  (The third pillar is a goal of sixty minutes a day of physical activity, and the fourth is to eliminate food deserts.)
Interestingly, of the twelve speakers who followed, three of them commented on the importance of family participation.  They mentioned ways they are helping families in their healthy eating programs.  For instance, Share Our Strength's Operation Frontline has a curriculum in use for youth/parent cooking classes.  Many chefs who are adopting a school are considering teaching cooking classes as a way to share their expertise.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Salmonella epidemic and food safety legislation

Recently 170 million infected eggs were recalled from 14 states after more than 1,200 people suffered from salmonella enteritidis in the United States.  New Food and Drug Administration monitoring and safety requirements ironically went into effect last month--too late to prevent the outbreak.

The enormous egg recall may have stimulated the Senate to act on comprehensive food safety legislation.  The bill would set up systems to trace food from farm to table, making it easier to identify infected products, and it would give the FDA power to mandate a recall.

Want to know whether your eggs have been recalled?  Check out

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Duke University offers online survey for adult picky eaters

Are you a picky eater? Check out Duke University's online survey for adult cautious eaters. While the study population is self-selected rather than randomly chosen, and there is no control group, online access may attract a huge global group of participants and help develop an understanding of whether picky eating has a genetic or behavioral base.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Louisiana Seafood at the White House

To demonstrate the safety and deliciousness of Gulf Coast seafood at the White House, the Louisiana Seafood Board prepared a special shrimp and oyster po' boy lunch at the White House on August 9. Several D.C. chefs with ties to the Louisiana seafood industry helped to prepare it, including Jeff Tunks from Acadiana, Ann Cashion and John Fulchino from Johnny’s Half Shell, Jeff Buben from Vidalia, and David Guas, from the soon to open Bayou Bakery.

Culinary Tourism and the Media: Georgetown Cupcakes

Many tourists to Washington, D.C., add a visit to Georgetown Cupcakes to their to-do list after reading about it online and perhaps watching "D.C. Cupcakes," a reality show on the TLC cable channel about the two sisters who founded and run the bake shop. 

Is it worth a two-hour wait, standing in the hot sun?  It is, to visitors who believe the hype and want to add a cupcake story to their travel adventure.  To the owners it's worth at least $25,000 each weekend day--doubling  business since the reality show debuted.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One step at a time for better school meals

The Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation did not pass before Congress went home for its recess. However, two nonprofits offer suggestions on how culinary professionals as well as others concerned can advocate to improve the quality of school meals.  Slow Food USA has a campaign to "Give Kids the School Food They Deserve."  Action for Healthy Kids offers step-by-step directions on how to influence policy making at the national level.

Chefs help make school lunches healthier

Here's a great story about Tony Gerasi, one example of a chef who adopted a school (district).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chefs Move to Schools, but first to White House

On June 4, 700 chefs from over 37 states gathered on the South Lawn of the White House in support of the "Chefs Move to Schools" initiatiave, a part of the First Lady's Let's Move campaign to end the epidemic of childhood obesity.  Sixty IACP members were among them.

The day began with breakfast across the street from the White House at the J. W. Marriott hotel, sponsored by Share Our Strength.  A lineup of speakers explained the program concepts.
Chefs were asked to adopt a school, to nurture it in a variety of ways, with the goal of producing healthier school food and healthier young people. Many of the suggested activities listed in the breakfast printed program would involve a significant donation of time, funds and energy.

Following breakfast, IACP members joined the other chefs for a tour of Mrs. Obama’s kitchen garden. Non-vegetable gardeners were surprised to see fennel, broccoli and Swiss chard all ready to harvest in early June in Washington, D.C. (The arugula, however, looked too pockmarked by insects to serve to any but the most convinced organic foodies.)

Part of the fun was standing next to well-known, respected television cooking teachers and sometimes engaging them in conversation.

It was exciting!

And the photos, with the White House as a backdrop, what could be better?

Read the transcript of Mrs. Obama’s remarks or watch her speak.

Once home again, food bloggers posted a flurry of reports, many on the topic, “Me at the White House.”

Now the challenge for IACP members and their fellow supporters of Chefs Move to Schools is to keep their commitment and to help realize the worthy goals of the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign against childhood overweight and obesity.

Already IACP’s Kids in the Kitchen section has enlisted the support of several of the breakfast speakers, to participate in IACP teleforums in the months ahead and to discuss with IACP members the practical application of how to adopt a school. Included will be Janet Poppendieck, author of Free for All: Fixing School Food in America; innovative school volunteer Chef Bill Telepan of the eponymously named New York City restaurant; and Ellen Teller, lobbyist for the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill.
In addition, incoming IACP Kids in the Kitchen Co-Chair Michelle Stern has established a free listserv for the purpose of continuing the conversation about the Chefs Move to Schools movement. A listserv archives messages but also stores related files, links, photos, and polls. To sign up, IACP members may contact

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kids Cook for a Cause

On the last day of the annual conference IACP’s Kids in the Kitchen professional interest section partnered with the Clackamas County 4-H club members to prepare a delicious hot lunch at the First Baptist Church for some young people who hang out on Portland streets.  The photo above and program planning leadership was by IACP member Michelle Stern.

Bayless Serves Mole to Mexican Prez at White House

IACP member and celebrity Chef Rick Bayless served as guest chef at the Obama White House’s second state dinner on May 19 honoring Mexican president Felipe Calderon Hinojosa and his wife, Margarita Zavala, as well as 200 other guests. Bayless created a menu of jicama with fruit, a green ceviche, wagyu beef with black mole, and a chocolate tart with goat cheese ice cream.

It was “the first time that real Mexican food will be served in the White House like this," said Bayless, author of several acclaimed cookbooks, host of the PBS TV show called “Mexico—One Plate at a Time,” and owner of Chicago’s fine dining Mexican restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, that are favorites of the Obama family.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Recipe from The Other Portland

IACP member and cookbook author Kathy Gunst filed a report about the Portland conference and offered a recipe in the web edition of Down East magazine.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Slow Food on Film

The topic of food has been a rich one in numerous films over the years.  Slow Food on Film has compiled a database with information about sixty-four films that focus on food-related issues.

Traditional Italian home meals for tourists

An Italian organization called Home Food strives to protect and increase the value of the Italian culinary legacy by arranging meals for visiting tourists with Italian families.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

“What’s the difference between food and fashion? Not much.”

Carol Smith, senior vice president and chief brand officer of Elle Group, was recently hired by Condé Nast to be vice president and publishing director of Bon Appetit and the Gourmet brand. One of her ideas is to re-create Gourmet as a “custom magazine,” whereby an advertiser such as Kraft or Target would produce a newsstand Gourmet magazine and own every ad.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tune in to Friday's White House childhood obesity meeting

On Friday, April 9, a broad array of experts, industry leaders, and people who work on child obesity issues every day in their communities will meet at the White House to share their specific ideas about how to empower parents to make healthy choices for their children, provide healthy food at schools, improve access to healthy, affordable food in local communities, and get kids more physically active.

You can watch tomorrow's discussion live on from 1:30-5:00PM EDT

Chef Brad Farmerie's Singapore Inspiration

Chef Brad Farmerie, of New York’s Double Crown restaurant, came back from a whirlwind trip of Southeast Asia to invent his own version of Singapore’s magical satay using sweetbreads.  Farmerie is one of the headlined speakers at IACP's Portland conference.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What to do in New Orleans: Visit the Southern Food and Beverage Museum

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South.  Best wishes to museum president Liz Williams, IACP's 2008 host committee chair!

"We've got to give animals a good life," says animal scientist Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin's revolutionary designs for humane cattle pens and corrals were beautifully described by Oliver Sachs in An Anthropologist on Mars.  In this interview she shares how her autistic "visual thinking" helped her acquire cattle behavior insights.

Challenges for organics market

Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary at the Agriculture Department, discussed problems with the National Organics Program in an interview with The Washington Post.  For example, "buying organic is no guarantee that it is pesticide free."

Sunday, April 04, 2010

CSPAN Student Cam First Prize on Childhood Obesity

Matthew Shimura is a seventh-grade student at Honolulu’s Punahou School.  In his prize-winning video, “Childhood Obesity: A Challenge Facing America,” he presents adults in authority who relate all the standard messages regarding childhood overweight and obesity. However, when you hear the young narrator speaking those truths, the effect is a very powerful realization.  Both adults and young people need to take responsibility for daily eating habits and physical activity.

Matthew will be the guest of Michelle Obama this coming week at the White House.  Bravo, Matt!

Once a rising star, chef now feeds hungry

How often do we learn about a culinary hero?  Here is one,  Narayanan Krishnan, who helps define the New Culinary Order.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who does Jamie Oliver think he is, trying to put America on a diet?

International social scientists who are members of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) listserv are actively discussing Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" television series, set in the unhealthiest city in the U.S., Huntington, West Virginia.  Here is one of the most revealing articles they shared, published in The New York Times. 

Food4Media has expanded operations into China

The online resource Food4Media distributes food news to media professionals serving the food, restaurant and wine industries in United Kingdom, USA, Middle East, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. 

Do IACP members use this food news service?  Why not persuade Food4Media to join IACP?  They are a multinational company and clearly part of the New Culinary Order. 

Does HFCS or unlimited access make people fat?

Washington Post blogger Jennifer LaRue Huget reported on a recent Princeton University study that compared the effects on lab rats of access to sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) twelve hours or twenty-four hours a day.  Results showed that the rats who drank HFCS were heavier than matched controls who drank sucrose.  Food Politics blogger Marion Nestle criticized the research, saying the results are inconsistent and questionably significant. 

Nevertheless, the biggest gainers were the rats with 24/7 access to unlimited chow and HFCS.  Surprised?

Perhaps the effects observed were due to overconsumption of highly palatable foods, which led to a worsening deficit in neural reward circuits of the brain.  This reward hyposensitivity, described in a Nature Neuroscience study published online yesterday, describes the creation of compulsive eating behavior as similar to the development of drug addiction.   

Saturday, March 27, 2010

U.S. midwest campylobacterosis outbreak related to raw milk

"Proponents of drinking raw milk often claim that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk and that raw milk is inherently antimicrobial, thus making pasteurization unnecessary. There is no meaningful nutritional difference between pasteurized and raw milk, and raw milk does not contain compounds that will kill harmful bacteria."

Historic American Menus

Henry Voigt is now blogging about his vast collection of American menus, dating from the mid-nineteenth century.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: Reality Pap?

Last fall Chef Jamie Oliver spent a few months in one of the U.S.'s unhealthiest cities, Huntington, West Virginia.  Tonight premiered the first of a seven-part series on how he tried to win Huntington over to healthy food choices.  The Washington Post TV preview suggested that it may be hopeless to get Huntington or the country to eat well.  Let's wait and see.  Despite the formulatic reality show approach, Oliver was clearly a man with a mission.  Whether or not he can get his positive message across without spoiling it with finger-pointing shame remains to be seen. 

Happy New Year to Iranians!

Nowruz, a spring celebration with roots in the ancient Zoroastrian religion, entails some interesting symbolic uses of foods.

Gardeners grow dinner with aquaponics

Picture this: Aquaponics is a closed system where many fruits, vegetables and flowers can grow in a soil-less medium, requiring just ten percent of the usual amount of water, fertilized by fish manure from the fish pond that can be either ornamental or can provide future dinners. How perfect is that?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

SuperChefs cookery at the Zajac Ranch, British Columbia

IACP members Dr. Greg Chang and Carol Murphy Clyne have teamed up on a kids' healthy eating program called SuperChefs of the Universe, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Best wishes, Greg and Carol!

Food bloggers endanger media restaurant reviewers

Newspaper and magazine restaurant critics are becoming an endangered species, due to Web bloggers and restaurant review sites.

U.N. rejects export ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna

Worldwide bluefin tuna populations declined by roughly 80 percent since 1970. Japan, which consumes nearly 80 percent of the bluefin catch, argued at a recent United Nations meeting on endangered species conservation that “the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or Iccat, should be responsible for regulating the fishery, not the United Nations.” Japan and other fishing nations were uneasy about possible regulation by the international endangered species convention in a major commercial fishery.  Bluefin tuna, called "hon-maguro" in Japan, is considered a luxury.

Do you like an open kitchen?

Some restaurant chefs like them, and some do not. Could popular open restaurant kitchens affect home kitchen designs and renovations?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rick Bayless recently opened his third restaurant, Xoco

"Xoco brings Bayless’ notions of quality, sustainability and stewardship to their most accessible and affordable levels yet."  Best wishes, Rick!

French council complains about fast food chain's halal hamburger

The mayor of Roubaix, in northern France, said Quick restaurant's halal menu constituted "discrimination" against non-Muslims.

Ruth Reichl after Gourmet

Reichl talked about the last Gourmet cookbook, a new PBS series and her writing plans.

Chains offer popular free food prizes

Giveaways are an inexpensive way for companies to stretch their marketing dollars during the recession.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jamie Oliver's TV Campaign Against Obesity in the U.S.

Set your TIVO or DVR to Friday, March 26, 8:00 EDT/7:00 CDT on ABC to catch the first of seven episodes of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution."

Jamie has hit on the crucial element missing in Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign ( against childhood obesity: cooking healthy foods at home.

London restaurant takes service charge off bill

Owners of most of the former Conran restaurants in London say they will leave the amount of tips for good service up to the customers in parties of seven or fewer diners. While in the U.S. customers expect to tip, the usual practice in Britain to add a 12.5 percent service tax to the check.

Chefs Answer Consumers' Calls for Healthy Breakfasts

Chicago-based market researcher Technomic, reports that nearly half of the consumers polled in a recent survey responded that healthy foods are important or extremely important to eat at breakfast. Chefs are discovering that when they offer healthy and attractive choices beyond egg-white omelets and bran muffins, their customers respond positively.

$5 Million in Funding for Farmers Market Promotion Program

The Farmers Market Promotion Program grants aim to help improve and expand domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Approximately $5 million is allocated for FMPP for Fiscal Year 2010 and $10 million for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012.  Each grant has a maximum of $100,000.

Apps for Healthy Kids Competition

Are you known for thinking outside the box?  It's time to apply your culinary creativity to a U.S. Government-sponsored $40,000 competition making use of the recently-released MyPyramid 1,000 food database to create web or mobile-based apps.

Prizes will be awarded for digital games that challenge kids to eat healthfully and be physically active. Other prizes will be awarded for parent-oriented tools accessing easy-to-understand nutritional information they can trust.
Winners will be honored at a White House event.

Fat Tuesday in Milwaukee without paczkis would be like Easter without colored eggs!

What's the difference between a paczek and a jelly doughnut?  In Milwaukee's Polish community, tradition says that if you don't have a paczek on Fat Tuesday, the rest of the year will be lean.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Pine Nut Mouth

Why do pine nuts leave some eaters with a metallic or bitter taste lasting seven to ten days?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Boston Market tests $2.99 meal deals

Restaurant traffic was down three percent last year, according to the NPD Group.  To test the market for smaller portions and lower price point, Boston Market is offering for a limited time, "to match quantity of food at a great price, to give people an extra reason to come in," said CEO Lane Cardwell.

Rose Gray, chef at River Cafe in London, is dead at 71

Chef Rose Gray opened River Café in Hammersmith with Ruth Rogers in 1987.  She developed her love of Italian cuisine while bringing up her family in Tuscany.  Her Michelin-starred restaurant became the stomping grounds of two employees who went on to become famous:  Chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Canned pumpkin shortage mystery solved

Have you wondered why you cannot find Libby's canned pumpkin in most U.S. grocery shelves this winter?  Fresh butternut squash is readily available and is an easy substitute.

Two Austin, Texas, foodies launch Crave Communications

Cathy Cochran-Lewis, the IACP's recent past president, and Paula Biehler recently established Crave Communications, a public relations and marketing agency for the restaurant and hospitality industry.  Best wishes, Cathy!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and it is a web site devoted to ideas worth spreading.
If you search for the topic "food," you can view15-minute videos by experts who discuss interesting culinary subjects.  For example, Peter Reinhart talks on artisan bread, Carolyn Steel on how food shapes cities, Jennifer Lee on General Tso’s Chicken, and Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce.

Portland restaurant serves wine from steel kegs

The Melting Pot restaurant in downtown Portland is the first to offer wine that comes from steel barrels.  Naturally occurring, non-toxic argon gas keeps the wine from oxidizing, a constant concern for restaurants that offer wine by the glass.

First Lady visits new grocery in former food desert

Michelle Obama visited a new north Philadelphia Fresh Grocer store to talk about the Let's Move campaign goal to increase access to healthy foods in impoverished neighborhoods.  
The Healthy Food Financing Initiative will invest $400 million a year to provide innovative financing to bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help places such as convenience stores and bodegas carry healthier food options.   This initiative is part of the President’s proposed FY 2011 budget.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Code brings clarity for pork country of origin

British pork producers hope that by clearly labelling their products with both the country of production and the country of origin of the pig, British consumers will choose to buy single country-based pork products.

Cookbook author first to decipher the Crock-Pot

The Crock-Pot came out in 1971, an innovation over an earlier slow cooker designed to cook beans.  With increasing numbers of women working outside the home, many were eager to try a device that would have dinner ready when they came home in the evening. Mabel Hoffman, a food stylist and home economist, published "Crockery Cookery" in 1975, and it was an instant success.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

How Restaurant Menus Make You Spend More

Lynne Rosette Kasper describes a menu as an "invitation to pleasure" but a smart restaurateur uses menu design to maximize profits.  Francis Lam at Salon explores menu design psychology and why we spend more for dinner than we anticipated.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Portland Restaurants Receive 12 Beard Nominations

IACP's own Mike Thelin reports in Portland Monthly that the James Beard Foundation unveiled the first round of nominees for its annual awards.

He writes, "[Portland] contenders in national categories include Higgins Restaurant and Bar for Outstanding Restaurant, Le Pigeon’s Gabe Rucker and Castagna’s Matt Lightner as Rising Star Chefs, and Ping as Best New Restaurant. For the first time in a few years, Portland dominates Seattle in the Best Chef Northwest category with seven of all 20 spots. Nominees include Nostrana’s Cathy Whims, Gabe Rucker, Autentica’s Oswaldo Bibiano, Toro Bravo’s John Gorham, Beast’s Naomi Pomeroy, Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker, and Jenn Lewis of Lincoln."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Matching Wine to Music

The Telegraph says that matching wine to music may help create a seductive atmosphere on Valentine's Day.  Listening to certain music enhances the pleasure of drinking certain wines, as has been suggested by research at Heriot-Watt University.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

IACP Conference Buzz from Nashville

The Nashville Scene reports on the upcoming 2010 IACP Annual Conference in Portland and the incredible, in-depth educational programming offered.  Nicki Wood writes, "the IACP is the awesomest [food association], if only for its incredible annual conference."  Thanks, Nicki!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2011 Budget Requests for FDA

According to 2011 federal budget requests, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would see a 6 percent jump in its budget to $2.51 billion. In part, the funds would be spent on food safety, which has been flagged as a domestic priority. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Goat Meat Becoming Popular on Chicago Menus

Goat is a protein of choice in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, and is now seeing an emergence on menus at Chicago restaurants like Girl and the Goat.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Restaurants Help Haiti

IACP 2010 Annual Conference featured speaker Kim Severson reports in the NYT Diner's Journal that restaurant communities in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other major cities are helping raise money for the Haitian earthquake relief effort.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Menu Trends for 2010

Restaurants & Institutions magazine shares their 20 menu trends for 2010 - the ingredients, recipes and strategies that will drive menus in the year ahead.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Bourdain Shares his View on a Foodie Nation

In an op-ed New York Times column, Anthony Bourdain talks about the shift in the world of food that brought bloggers, burger joints, "Top Chef," a Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer, personalities with saute pans, and the “epiphany” scene in Pixar's "Ratatouille" to the forefront.