Farm to Fork

Farm to Fork

Farm to Fork
7 Jul 2023

The sixties saw the rise of the farm-to-fork movement when Americans shelved canned goods and embraced locally sourced produce. Famous chefs like Alain Chapel and Michel Guérard led the revolution, but Alain Ducasse is said to have invented farm-to-table even before it became popular. While most restaurants saw veggies as a side dish, the menu at Le Louis XV featured fresh pea soup, eggplants and artichokes back in 1987. Together, they took over the age of Nouvelle Cuisine — a French approach to food presentation characterized by lighter, more delicate dishes that promised to keep their natural flavors intact.  

The first official farm-to-fork restaurant was set up in 1971 by Alice Louis Waters. To move away from frozen foods and use more native ingredients, she started Chez Panisse in the heart of Berkeley, California. After promoting regional produce for years, she finally succeeded in teaching chefs the importance of seasonality and cooking with locally available goods rather than imported substitutes. 

Vegetarian cuisine was always a hit in India! Yet only a few fine-dining restaurants serve fresh farm-to-table dishes. ‘Farmlore’ by Mythrayie Iyer, in the outskirts of Bengaluru, is such a space and caters to only ten covers per meal. Last year, I was lucky enough to reserve a table at Farmlore and went home with one of the most wholesome meals Ive ever eaten.

While farm-to-fork doesnt always imply plant-based food, it certainly revolutionized the vegan dining scene. ‘Tendril,’ a mostly” vegan kitchen run by Chef Rishim Sachdeva in London, offers clean, innovative, yet familiar food. Its dynamic menus allow him to get creative with recipes and add a twist to traditional dishes. What started as a pop-up meal subscription during the pandemic garnered enough crowdfunding to become a restaurant. Here youll find Jerusalem artichoke served on a cracker, topped with chives and wakame” and shakshuka with black bean fritters and a side of fregola tabbouleh.”

Another famous eatery in Europe is the Michelin-star Restaurant de Kas. Built at the center of an Amsterdam conservatory, its one with nature and offers an immersive experience to all its customers. Chefs pick their produce right before preparation to keep it as fresh as possible -- a feat many cannot claim to achieve.

So, whats the way forward? As we move towards holistic cooking and eating, we must understand that change only comes from increasing awareness of food and its origins. At École Ducasse India, we learn about much more than simple, sustainable cuisines. On the experiential farm at Karma Lakelands, we learn to grow, harvest and cook with organic produce, treat the soil and respect the Earth in every way possible!

By Raagini Poddar,

B.A. (Hons.) in Culinary Arts, 2nd year

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