Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday TED Talk: Dan Barber's Love Affair with a Fish

Dan Barber is a chef -- a very dedicated chef, who goes behind the food that he cooks, and investigates its sources. He investigates the sources because he wants to understand what makes a particular food taste good. In the course of his investigations, Dan Barber describes how he came to fall in love with a fish that was farmed in southern Spain. This fish tasted so incredible that it still surpassed every normal restaurant "fish" he had previously prepared -- even when it had been overcooked!

In this TED talk (from this past summer at Oxford), Dan Barber describes how he learned just what made the fish taste so good. In the process, he relearns a lesson as old as agriculture itself: food tastes best when it is produced as a sustainable, natural byproduct of the local environment. Modern goals to feed the world through increased yields have it all backward, and end up requiring far more input (in the form of feed, fertilizer and resources) than is produced for consumption, as output. That is a recipe that leads to nowhere. Far better to let the local ecosystem, through its own feedback, tell a farmer what works, and what does not. Listen as Dan Barber explains the lessons he learned from his love affairs with two very different fish:

Dan Barber is the owner of and chef for two restaurants in New York, using produce grown from his Blue Hill Farm, in Connecticut. Here is a link to his homepage, from which you can derive much more information, and here is a page with a brief bio and other links, including one to this fascinating Q & A session that grew out of his TED talk. Watch his talk in high-res video (mp4) from this link; download Dan's talk in that and other formats from this link.

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