President Obama is being stuffed with advice from foodies. Michael Pollan in the New York Times instructed President Obama on what the president “can and should do to remake the way we grow and eat our food.” Nicolas Kristof pleaded for renaming the Department of Agriculture the Department of Food. Now the fight has entered the White House kitchen. Alice Waters, Berkeley chef and high priestess of local foods, has tried to bully the Obama administration into hiring a new chef.
Obama may have a few other problems, such as the economy, and the war in Iraq, and yet Waters, is pushing him to pick a chef who “thinks about food as being connected to nature, to time and place, who understands where food comes from….Even if you don’t taste the food, if you’re hearing this idea that good food should be a right and not a privilege, then that message is getting across. We’re talking about local seasonal food supporting the people who are taking care of the land. You’re inviting the guests to dine on the very best of what America has to offer. This could inspire a rediscovery of our gastronomic heritage and biodiversity.”
Critics have called her an “elitist” and argued that local foods aren’t necessarily an option for everyone. Former White House chef Walter Scheib was offended with the insinuation that his presidents hadn’t been fed the finest and freshest. “To her credit, Mrs. Bush was adamant about organic foods,” Scheib said. “It goes counter to her perceived personality, but it was never important to her that the information be released.” The Obama’s have kept the Bush’s chef (Cristeta Comerford), but the food fights continue.
—Mary, Jacob, and Michael Bryce