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I wanted to really know where the food I was eating comes from. REALLY comes from. No surprise, I'm finding that the better the food, the easier it is to trace. Here's my account of how I'm doing it, who is growing it, making it and selling it and what that all means in the big picture of the world...

Heather Carlucci | Chef | Advocate | Mom |


Fashion Comes Around

Yeah, I know.  Fashion is more hip than ever now and so is food. Martha wears Carolina Herrera.  All the young hip chefs are too cool in the haberdashery department.  Great.

But I was walking up Madison Avenue yesterday looking at the beauty and talent of those who can afford to put it all out there when I came to the Dolce and Gabbana store.

As the Sicilians they are, they didn't beat around the bush.  No sexy men and women smeared with food.  No hip chef acting like he knows how to wear clothing with a modicum of style. Just produce and a dining room table.


I loved it.

Label It Yourself

—-for immediate release—-

Label It Yourself Campaign: Citizen Action to Label GMOs
If There is Nothing to Hide, Why Hide It?

Citizens from across the country, concerned by the increasing scientific data indicating serious
economic, environmental and public health risks associated with GMOs (genetically modified organisms), have taken matters into their own hands, labeling foods that may contain GMOs in a nationwide campaign toLabel It Yourself” (#LIY).  

Polls have consistently demonstrated that a vast majority of Americans want to know if food they are purchasing contains GMOs.  While more than 40 countries around the world require labeling of genetically engineered food, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to require mandatory labeling, citing industry claims that genetically engineered food is equivalent to conventional food. But with an estimated 80% percent of processed food in the USA containing GMOs, Label It Yourself asks: “If there’s nothing to hide, why hide it?”

GMOs, also known as transgenics,  are plants or animals that have been created by splicing DNA into them from other plants, animals, bacteria, or viruses to create an organism that would not otherwise occur in nature.  Most GMOs on the market have been created to tolerate herbicides and pesticides applied to crops, in many cases incorporating the pesticide into the plant itself. While the long-term impacts of GMOs on humans are unknown, increasing evidence connects them with potential health problems (including infertility, birth defects, allergies, and digestive problems), environmental damage (including degraded soil health, and biological pollution) and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

As like-minded citizens across the country advocate for mandatory labeling, Label It Yourself offers shoppers tools to know what products are most likely to contain GMOs as well as open source labels that can be downloaded to create stickers for people to do their own labeling of GMO food products in stores. Photos of citizen-labeled products uploaded by users to the Label It Yourself website show non-organic meats and dairy, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, granola bars, fast food, soy milk, pancake mix and corn chips, among others as potentially containing GMOs.

A 2010 Thomson Reuters PULSE™ Healthcare Survey poll found that 93% of US consumers support the labeling of GMOs. Despite these findings, and President Obama’s promise during his presidential campaign to push for labeling, the US government has refused to allow labels for GMO food to appear on grocery shelves in America.

“Human beings are not just consumers or voters as the corporate and political advertising industry likes to believe. People are free, and they want the truth, which, if you think about it, is the only thing worth advertising.” says a member of the Occupy Wall Street Food Justice Working group,  Label It Yourself  is a citizen’s campaign to empower people to make informed decisions about the food they buy, without waiting for government or corporations to do it for them.”


On the Web:

twitter hashtags:

Hotlanta !

I took a few days last week to go down to Atlanta to soak in some southern hospitality, good food and a type of fancy we don't manufacture up here. 

 I fell in love with Atlanta despite this "road block" that started in LaGuardia Airport.

What is this world coming to?

From the minute I got off the plane, I got a chance to see how great the food scene is in Atlanta.  For Atlantans, what I'll talk about here may not thrill you but I come from a time when any city outside of New York was good for a decent restaurant or two, not a "scene" by any means. Like many other cities, Atlanta has grown a really great one.  I didn't even get a chance to skim it.

The first place I saw, in a moving car (just so you get how drive-by this trip was) was here: 

Gato Bizco Café in Candler Park

It's a true hole in the wall but for two days a month,  a guy from the band Deer Hunter hosts a pop-up dinner there, flying chefs from all over. It's call the BATON supper series. (

Today and tomorrow my buddy, Michael Laiskonis will be cooking.  Last month was Brooks Headly of Del Posto and Carlo Mariarchi of Roberta's.

Here's a photo of my first meal in Atlanta:

The bacon isn't burnt. It's covered with something that is likened to the bacon version of whatever they put on curly fries. You know, that weird coating that makes you take a face dive into it?

Well, they've come up with something like that for bacon. Not that bacon needed it. I loved this place. It's called Sun In My Belly

Good website too. Unlike many other restaurants, it really has the vibe you see on it's website. That's a good thing in this case.

Here's what the rooms looked like that morning.


Next up, was the visit to the castle that is the world of Anne QuatrannoShe is the chef of the Atlanta epic Bacchanalia.  Attached to Bacchanalia is her store Star Provisions.

I want to live in Star Provisions.

Here are a range of photos:

She's got a farm room:

Huge farm fresh asparagus

Total Farm Porn

She's got a great bakery....

 A charcuterie room....

 ...a butcher shop....

While there are those of us that love butcher shop anything, I realize that some of my readers may not.  I have a thing for butcher paper. I also have a thing from great tile floors

I find this photo very satisfying. market....

Where they also keep their fresh pasta

Which I dig but wouldn't the pasta smell like those crab cakes? 

The mind reels.........

So, back to the cheese cave....

and the Butters Of The World case...

And now that I'm working with our friend Claire Marin at Catskill Provisions, I had to show her the honey situation down South.

So this all comes to the conclusion that

a) Anne is way too cool for school

b) Atlanta has one up on us for space

c) Even they give more love to the ladies of food


Anne has a great farm as well. I hear it's right outside the city (for a driver that could be a days ride. for a strap hanger, a week and a half trip as the crow flies).

The other love of my life during this trip was the restaurant group that houses Holeman and Finch. They have a great casual dining place called Holeman and Finch Public House. Which only makes 25 hamburgers a night.

You have to sign up for them early in the evening and wait until 10.  They announce it and then you can eat. We got there right before 10 unaware of this but we sat next to a New Yorker who was on the list and he let me try some of his.  It was really that good.

Sooo, another thing Atlanta has on us?

d) The  H&F burger.

They also have a fine dining restaurant, Restaurant Eugene. A liquor/wine store, H&F Bottleshop, a bread bakery and farmer's market.

Each business is really fabulous and sustainable.  Loved everything about them. Perhaps it was the wisteria in the air.

The only photos I have are really dark and it's of a partially eaten steak tartare and partially eaten cheese plate.

It was a long night.

And as a parting shot, here is what my host cooked for me on my last night in Atlanta. Yes, that's pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon.

The South may rise a kinder, gentler, greener way.


James Beard, Pastry Chefs and where's the beef?

I got tagged in Facebook post today. Shuna Lydon, the pastry chef at Peels, was calling out a roster of pastry chefs to come forward and make a statement about an issue that's been talked about, e-mailed, posted and tweeted quite a bit over the last week or two. Jenny McCoy, most recently the pastry chef at Craft, wrote an open letter to the James Beard Foundation about honoring more than one pastry chef a year at their annual awards. Shuna posted her say on her blog.

I hope you like reading about pastry chefs. This post is going to get crazy deep with them.

The Beard Awards are the Oscars of the American food world. And the Foundation has been called out on many, many things in recent years. I won't go into the details but it's not pretty and they are trying very hard to rectify. I say this as someone who has always worked in the same circles as the Beard Foundation and have gone to the awards most of my 25 years in the business. Honestly, I really don't remember anything before 1997 but that's for another post.
I'm also working with them on their work they've been doing on sustainability. I'm on the committee for their sustainable conference. This says a lot. I've never come near an award and have been told years ago, not by the recent ruling party, that I won't because I don't play the game and that I've got a mouth on me....and now they've asked me to participate for that very reason. This does say a lot about the state of the Foundation now. Kudos.

SO, with this in mind, here's what I have to say about pastry chefs, The Beard Awards and what's been going down.

It is high time they recognize more pastry chefs across the country. There is a roster of chefs that do always get nominated.
I've complained about this for years. And for the most part, in all the categories, the most visible of chefs get nominated. No one
is going into the depths of Idaho to find that one pastry chef who is doing something amazing and giving them the award.
With such a small community like the one of pastry chefs in America, expanding the award even by another three winners, would
open up a world of talent previously unrecognized.

It's overdue. It's a bit old actually.
Now we have pastry chefs that are opening restaurants as the executive chef. Hell, they're all over the place. You're looking at one right here (shameless plug) and the recognition that this award brings can help a relatively overlooked position, give it an air that it really should have.
A Beard Award changes careers, it changes business plans. It can change everything.

Pastry chefs are not savory chefs. You can't compare. It's a completely different discipline. It's a discipline that should be honored. On many different levels.

I've never met Shuna or Jenny or most of the pastry chefs that have been openly supporting this statement. There are just too many pastry chefs for me to know all of them anymore. But I like anyone who speaks out and can articulately start a ruckus.

I'd vote for them.

Occupy Pastry and have a great night.

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