In 2009 Dan Barber won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef, a spot among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People, and an impromptu visit to one of his restaurants from President and Mrs. Obama. Somehow this sustainable chef still has time to to educate the public about responsible farming and conscious cooking. As executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns (and its New York City outpost), Barber works to promote the importance of everyday food choices by sourcing products directly from the farm surrounding his restaurant, in addition to its Hudson Valley, N.Y. neighbors. With his recipe for Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree, Barber highlights the quality of the main ingredient with a simple and delicate preparation.
A three-time James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and chef, Deborah Madison is best known for opening Greens in San Francisco, one of the first celebrated vegetarian restaurants in the United States. An early proponent of local, seasonal eating with a vegetarian slant, Madison's best-selling cookbooks like Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone elevate fresh ingredients with sophisticated recipes that run the gamut from appetizers to desserts, and instruct the reader on how to best develop and infuse vegetables with flavor. With her recipe for Celery Root Chowder with Wild Rice, Madison shows that you don't have to compromise flavor, richness or decadence in order to eat vegetarian.
Chef Jamie Oliver was recently reduced to tears when he was met with extreme resistance to healthy eating while in America's fattest town, Huntington, W.Va. The event took place as part of his new show Jamie's Food Revolution also the title of his newest cookbook. The normally upbeat Oliver was shocked when students didn't know the difference between tomatoes and potatoes. But, we're thinking this TED prize winner, who has 12 television series, 2 restaurants and 10 cookbooks under his belt, will recover from this setback. We applaud his mission of fighting obesity and encouraging healthy cooking at home. Try his Vegetable Jalfrezi and you might be moved to tears yourself, but in a good way.
Chef and James Beard Award-winning author Peter Berley has long been dedicated to encouraging home cooks and developing local, sustainable food systems. His deep respect for the quality of food was on display for years during his tenure as executive chef of Angelica Kitchen, a popular and well-regarded vegan restaurant in New York City. As the author of The Flexitarian Table, Berley strives to bring vegetarians and meat eaters together for the common focus of eating locally, seasonally and sustainably. Berley's recipe for Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Pumpkin Seed and Ginger Vinaigrette takes advantage of the season's tough root vegetables and softens them with a light vinaigrette and fresh, aromatic ginger.
When chef Jose Garces won The Next Iron Chef he said he would use his new title for good. He was referring to supporting younger chefs, but we think Garces is pretty good to the environment as well. The James Beard Award-winning chef owns five distinguished restaurants in the Philadelphia area all striving to source local ingredients whenever possible. The restaurants styles range from Andalusian tapas, to Mexico City cuisine. The next culinary style for Garces to master is farm-to-table, his yet-to-be named new restaurant with this theme that should be opening in Philadelphia in the spring of 2010. Garces helps you find a unique way to eat your beets with his Pickled Baby Beets with Goat Cheese Mousse and Spicy Pecans recipe from his classic American bar Whiskey Village.
Favoring a straightforward approach that makes use of the finest ingredients, Alice Waters is often credited as the single most influential person in the development of New American Cuisine. While originally on a quest for flavor, Waters eventually came to find that local, sustainable ingredients were the cornerstone of full-flavored cooking, and implemented a local and sustainable-only policy at Chez Panisse, her Berkeley, Calif., restaurant. Nearly 40 years later, Waters and her restaurant are considered revolutionary and she is often praised as the originator of the now popular Slow Food movement. Her Spicy Cauliflower Soup is a perfect example of how, with the help of a few spices, fresh winter produce can be both comforting and intensely flavorful.
One of the originators of the market-to-table movement in New York, Peter Hoffman has been extolling the virtues of eating locally and seasonally for years. Hoffman is best known for his restaurant Savoy, where traditional country cooking meets painstakingly sourced products, often drizzled with his own famous New York City rooftop honey. His dedication to staying local extends beyond the kitchen and up to the bar at his other restaurant, Back Forty, where local beers, wines and mixed drinks abound. Staying true to his seasonal roots, Hoffman's recipe for Beet and Braised Beef Soup makes the best of winter's tough produce, slowing simmering it all in a beet-stained, ruby-hued broth.
Chef Bryant Terry brings soul to vegan eating. This chef and food justice activist wrote the book Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine, and in it he makes the often high-fat, meat-heavy, soul-food dishes healthy with his unique style. Terry is currently a fellow of the Food and Society Policy Fellows Program, and his goal is to bring healthy eating to urban children with programs such as b-healthy! (Build Healthy Eating and Lifestyles to Help Youth) which he started in 2001. Terry's recipe for Caramelized Grapefruit, Avocado, and Watercress Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette is a refreshing and slightly sweet way to use your winter citrus.
If there is such a title as a celebrity vegan chef, it would have to go to Tal Ronnen. Maybe you've seen Chef Ronnen on Oprah, or perhaps you scored an invite to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi's wedding or Arianna Huffington's party at the Democratic National Convention. If you did, you would have sampled Ronnen's vegan fare there. This chef cooks in a classic French style and he's a recovering steak lover so he's great at easing you into the vegan lifestyle, and his cookbook The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat does just that. Try his Quinoa, Avocado and Sweet Potato Timbale with Roasted Tomatillo Dressing and then let us know if you miss the meat.
After years spent as a vegan nutritionist, Joy Pierson went on to open Candle 79, one of the most lauded and well-known vegan restaurants in the country. Committed to sourcing only the best sustainable products and lowering her carbon footprint with every little step, Pierson has converted even the most vegan-averse meat-eaters with her thoughtful and meticulously prepared food. Her eco-friendly actions reach beyond the kitchen, covering all aspects of her restaurants, including using eco-friendly fabrics and paints, energy-efficient cooking equipment, and purchasing recycled materials whenever possible. Her casual dining restaurant Candle Cafe was the first Certified Green Restaurant in New York City, and both of her restaurants remain among the greenest in the country year after year. Pierson's recipe for Mini Potato Latkes with Eggplant-Hiziki Caviar shows that creativity is a vegetarian cook's best ingredient.
Best known for catering the Academy Awards and as one of the fathers of California cuisine, Wolfgang Puck is going strong, having recently opened a series of bistros highlighting local, seasonal produce and quality organic meats. With Wolfgang Puck Bistro, the superstar chef reinforces his commitment to sourcing from local family farms and purveyors whenever possible, in addition to offering high-quality fare at affordable prices, outside of his many award-winning fine-dining establishments. He's also opened Springs Preserve, a sustainable events space in Las Vegas providing a non-gaming and eco-friendly environment for business, weddings and education. Puck's recipe for Lemongrass Poached Salmon stays true to his East-meets-West philosophy, utilizing the best of winter's aromatics in classic French style with an Asian twist.