Angela Bell

Restaurants: The power of the plate

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It was several decades ago that Chef Alice Waters introduced the concept of using natural, locally grown ingredients in all of her menu items in one single restaurant in California, a restaurant known as Chez Panisse. From one Chef with an idea and a passion for fresh ingredients came a whole new cuisine, California cuisine, still popular today for it’s abundance of fresh, locally caught or grown, and simply prepared ingredients. Fast forward to 2000 and there is Chef Jamie Oliver who has made it his mission to rid America’s food supply of toxins, sugar and all things unnatural. He singlehandedly rid the country of “pink slime”, a nasty concoction of ammonia laundered meat remnants in ground beef.

America is clearly in a food crisis. It was never more obvious to me than it was yesterday afternoon when I received a 10 pound case of what was described to me by my fish purveyor as frozen at sea whole haddock fish fillets. Having lived twenty three years on the coast of Maine before relocating to the upstate of South Carolina, I was euphoric at the prospect of dining on haddock fillet for the first time in several years. But, as I peeled away the wrappings on the carton, my euphoria was replaced with repulsion as I caught sight of the words, clearly stenciled on the side of the box, “contains sodium tripolyphosphate (STTP)”. STTP is just another additive we humans use in an attempt to help mother nature (and the processor’s deep pockets) by chemically inducing longevity in our food supply. But at what cost to our wellness?

Chefs Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver got it right -- fresh, local, sustainable. We, as chefs of restaurants frequented by Americans across the country, have the power to change our course. If Chef Alice Waters can start a whole new cuisine with one single restaurant and Chef Jamie Oliver can have a profound and lasting effect on the beef industry with one single television episode, imagine what we can do together to change the eating habits of this country. Eat smart, America!

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef Angela Bell

Beyond the Bull (an "eat smart" kitchen)

233 W. Main St., Central, SC 29630

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