Pioneers in Denver - Chefs, Farmers Lead the way to Sustainable Future

If all the insects in the world disappeared, in 50 years life would perish. If all the people in the world disappeared, in 50 years life on earth would flourish.

Our oceans nourish the rest of the planet, we depend on their ability to do so. Yet, we're destroying the systems that support those processes. If our oceans' "protein soup" of phytoplankton and zooplankton disappears, and the oceans can no longer support the basic building blocks of the food chain - we will all suffer. Much larger issues than a preferred species' disappearance challenge us to take ocean conservation seriously.

We're still trying to make food grow in ways that defy nature and natural processes in pursuit of greater profits. Might there be something wrong with treating our food production and distribution by the "take more, sell more, waste more" rules of manufacturing? Depleted and eroded soil is the result of monocrop farms that give nothing back and later crops require propping up chemically because the soil is so depleted it cannot support healthy growth.

Animals that we confine, feed unnaturally, and fatten too quickly are sickening us who consume them, despite the prophylactic antibiotics given to try to prevent the inevitable.

We haven't yet learned the lessons we should have by now. 

Maybe it's not too late. As chefs, farmers, and culinarians came together in Denver these were some of the issues tackled under the banner of "Pioneering a Sustainable Future". This was the theme for the 31st convention of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. We convened for a week to discuss these weighty issues and our role in addressing them.

We also addressed issues facing writers, photographers, entrepreneurs: how to build economic sustainability? How to use a website to project our brand? How to pitch a magazine editor? How to work with an agent? How to Vodcast?

And, we had fun! Lest you think we were serious all the time, the week was balanced with some raucous laughter, some bawdy jokes and a fair amount of good food and liquor. After all doesn't that sustain us, too?

Seminars, panels, master classes and field trips the event offered adventures and learning. And lots of really good people offering advice and guidance to new members and old.

2009 IACP Cookbook Awards - Winners

One of my favorite winners was the Baking category winner. Caleb bought this book for me on our 4th Anniversary. He said my gift to him was whatever he picked out. Hence, the Fourth Anniversary Fougasse was born.


The Art and Soul of Baking Author: Sur La Table Co-Author: Cindy Mushet
Editor: Jean Lucas
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing 

Another winner I was pleased about was the "General Category" winner.

A "Do It For Less! Weddings" book. Why? Because the acceptance speech made me feel like this is an organization to which I can really belong (she said her win proves you don't need push-up bras to win and promptly dropped the F bomb.) My kinda gal! Plus, Matt Armendariz was her photographer so you know it's beautiful, too.  


Do It For Less! Weddings: How to Create Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank Author: Denise Vivaldo
Editor: Megan Hiller
Publisher: Sellers Publishing 

A book I think helped to change the way we think about sustainable seafood also won. Yay for the Fishes!

Literary Food Writing The Cuisinart Award Author: Taras Grescoe
Editor: Jim Gifford
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.  

Talk about polarizing food issues. Fat is one of the most wrongly villified foods in recent times. Rather than understand what are good fats, bad fats, fats to enjoy in moderation we fed the neuroses of many who eschew this food category that our bodies need for healthy cellular function. Plus it just plain tastes good. 

Single Subject  Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient
Author: Jennifer McLagan
Editor: Clancy Drake
Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Other IACP related posts: