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Poivrot Farci

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  1. People (Americans) die in large part because of food: nutritionally deficient sustenance compounded by lifestyle. Heart disease is the #1 killer. I am confident yours and my support for better food with fewer consequence align, but I think our food system is irredeemable and guided almost exclusively by grotesque, immediate profits rather than fundamental nutrition, basic health, flavor or even longer term financial benefits. Yes, food is a business, but a business that contributes to considerable health costs and mortality is a curious business model. Good quality food in the US comes at a steep premium and the consumer landscape (average supermarket -the only food venue) looks like it is designed to sustain doomsday bunkers. The artificial devaluation of meat (where it is cheaper than produce) is scandalous and shows what the priorities are. Sure, there’s a tiny renaissance in more wholesome foods -from sourdough breads from whole grains to organic produce and pastured meats- but even some of those standards have been diluted (misleading grass fed or organic labeling) and food without too much crap in it shouldn’t be out of reach for the middle class. I am grateful for the customers who buy our meats, eggs and prepared food because I couldn’t afford to shop here regularly.
  2. The studies don't mention the environmental devastation caused by growing feed-corn for the 90+ million head of cattle in the US. Buy local and eat less meat. Raise the price of oil/gasoline so it is at least the cost of a gallon of mediocre quality milk (or water) and tax vehicle horsepower. If only food was valued as much as "average rated" fancy gadgets and household whatnot on Amazon Prime...
  3. Massive (or what is loosely categorized as "large") CAFO’s don’t exist in Europe and the UK does not represent the entirety of the EU (won’t represent any by year’s end) and UK farms are larger than those on the European continent. 2/3's of the 10.3 million farms in the EU (accounting for 422 million farmed acres) are less than 12 acres but the average UK farm is around 207 acres (France: 135 acres; Germany: 137 acres according to Eurostat). The average farm size in the US (of 910 million farmed acres) is 444 acres. The EPA estimates about 15,500 CAFO’s in the US and almost 10,000 are defined as "large". That's one for every 21,000; 4 times more than the UK (800 CAFO's for a 66 million population.) US feedlots with a 32,000 head or more market around 40 percent of fed cattle in the US. That is far larger than anything in Europe even when adjusted for population/land. The largest dairy farm in the US (Fair Oaks, Illinois) has 30,000 cows whereas the largest proposed dairy farm in France was to contain 1,700 (France produces 25% of EU beef followed by Germany 17% and UK 13%). And there are significant ecological differences (waste management primarily) between fifty 100 head cattle farms and a 5000 head cattle farm.
  4. Why should a producer that has fewer environmental consequences be taxed at the same rate as those who are responsible for the bulk of the harm? There should be incentives to move away from the massive CAFO’s that don’t exist is Europe. Just like there are incentives for renewable energy and associated products. The general US population simply does not revere food or have anywhere near the same accessibility to it as in the EU. That’s not elitism, that’s just the way it is. Europeans are already well familiar with taxation and the services it allows government to provide whereas Americans reject taxes and are suspicious of government. If soda and plastic bag taxes are legislative battle, taxing the venerable hamburger is a Mars-shot. Changing methods (and subsidies) would be more beneficial than taxing what a population is resigned to. Changing those methods would already raise the price of curiously cheap food. It is baffling that a chicken leg in the supermarket is $0.69/lb whereas apples are $3.50/lb.
  5. Never. Americans lust for cheap food as much as they do low taxes. The majority don't have the critical thinking/global perspicacity to know of, understand or even appreciate the virtues of tax revenue and reverence for quality food (either nutritional/environmental merits or designation of standards, e.g., AOC, DOP) that exists beyond the bourbon label. However, if a tax were to be imposed on those raising ruminants, it should be applied to the CAFO's and factory farms which acerbate the situation by feeding their animals terrible feed grown with terrible pesticides from far away, shipped back and forth across the country, excessively packaged and burning all sorts of resources in the process. Taxing smaller operations would likely run them out of business and concentrate even more production to the massive shit-shows we like to call "farms". Tax the things that are bad for you (cigarettes, alcohol) as well as those which are frighteningly cheap (soda, commodity meat). After plenty of calculus, smaller farms which raise their animals in manners less detrimental to the environment should be given a tax incentive or reprieve given the high costs of small scale farming -one that doesn't enjoy the efficiencies of scale. The premium of such products reflect the true cost of growing food and taxing absurdly cheap $4/lb ground beef (national average) to make it as expensive as better-than-average apples would begin to help reset the reality of what food costs.* *while at the far, far end of the spectrum, at our 28 acre farm we sell our 100% grass fed lamb for $16-$35/lb ; chickens from $8/lb whole to $18/lb breasts and pork from $14 for ground, $16/lb sausages to $23/lb pork chops. Our customers happily satisfy their consciences and palates with their expenditures.
  6. Co-wrote, with varying degrees of help from Joshua Stein. To date, chef Kwame has only held 1 job in the capacity of "chef" that has lasted more than 4 months. The term "chef" merits more scrutiny and deserves to be distinct from cooks who do not, yet, preside over a kitchen staff. So does "memoir".
  7. To characterize Grant Achatz and Cat Cora as culinary stalwarts at the same height in the culinary stratosphere is like lumping Ernest Shackleton and Popeye Captain Stubing in the same boat as accomplished sailors. But sure, we can all agree that any international "go fuck yourself/s" gesture is the perfect catalyst to a reasonable conversation.
  8. Former coal lobbyist, clean air champion and acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler is an investor in "eco-friendly" Lucky Buns, which is curious since commodity feedlot beef (and the heavily subsidized, heavy pesticide feed) is not really beneficial to any physical or social environment (particularly the animals and the poor bastards that work in factory slaughterhouses). He's hopefully invested in Lipitor too.
  9. Good for them. They should buy a cheese map and if they have any money left go to what they believe to be Provence and see the limited selection of cheeses there which are objectively not Camembert. When I dramatically pour cider into a champagne flute I call it "Arc de Triomphe" because who cares about food integrity these days.
  10. Because nothing evokes the sun-drenched fields of lavender and olive groves undulating into the Mediterranean like Camembert cheese.
  11. Hello Mr. Hayler. Are you able to sniff out what happens behind the double doors at 3* (and other) venues and would social/environmental/economic factors such as employee benefits,/waste management & energy efficiency; food-seasonality-or-scarcity/how-the-establishment-affects-the-local-economy-for-remote-outposts affect the calculus of your verdict? Should Michelin and other rating agents consider those issues when judging for a consumer base that is perhaps more aware of peripheral consequences and values beyond food, drink, service and upholstery than half a century ago?
  12. The indignity of working in the US hospitality industry can only be rivaled by flying coach or taking a 1960's commuter train in the 21st Century America. Terrible pay and little to no benefits*. It is astounding and despicable that an $800 billion industry can't afford to pay livable wages, provide anything more than the worst health care available, paid maternity leave, paid vacations, paid sick days and paid holidays for all employees like every other modern country with electricity and indoor plumbing. *ETA: With the notable and remarkable exception of a luxury boutique hotel where warm linens were provided before each shift, plentiful staff meals, staff outings, free room overnight (when available) for dinner -> breakfast shift, premium health insurance, ample pay and even a birthday card from HR.
  13. Severance pay for minimum wage employees? Whatever food they don't donate for a tax credit, maybe, unless the creditors take that too.
  14. 2 days notice for all employees that they don't have a job anymore on Monday. That's nice. I hope Casey Patten steps in shit and that his keys, wallet and expensive telephone fall irretrievably through a sewer grate.
  15. Karma is an unreasonable bitch if you are now an unemployed employee who had nothing to do with Mike Isabella's imbecility and will never have anywhere close to the personal wealth he has squirreled away.
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