Tag Archives: Michael Pollan

Marc Kelly dishes on the story behind Berkeley’s Soop

Red lentil soupL In demand with new moms
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As mid-life crises go, Marc Kelly’s was a pretty productive one — with a little spice thrown in for good measure.

Seeking change after a 20-year career in the fruit and vegetable export business, Kelly was keen to open a food joint of his own. Something modest and manageable, a takeaway place that satisfied his culinary aspirations and cravings.

That’s how Soop, one of the original anchor businesses in the Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden, came about.

Kelly, a self-taught chef, determined that soup was an unexplored market niche in the edible landscape. He sensed an opportunity. Six years into serving up soup every day, Kelly’s enthusiasm for the comfort food he sells is still apparent.

He has a loyal band of regulars — Kelly sees them coming and knows which ladle to reach for. And his years of global travel inform what he sells: every culture has a soup tradition and on the road he learned the universal language of soup. … Continue reading »

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Awards tap Berkeley taste makers for national contest

Good Food Awards Judges: Dafna Kory (photo: Jeffery Kong); Michael Pollan and Alice Waters (James Collier) and June Taylor (Leigh Connors).
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Berkeley’s food mavens will likely be out in force tonight at the Good Food Awards at San Francisco’s Ferry Building and many of the judges for this annual event — sponsored by Seedling Projects and now in its second year — hail from this city’s gourmand ranks. But only one Berkeley name may find a place on the winners’ podium.

The concept behind this socially and ethically responsible food contest is to highlight “best in show” from five regions of the country in various edible categories. This year, prizes will go to makers of beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves, and — a new area — spirits.

At last year’s soirée — with a keynote address by restaurateur and sustainable food champion Alice Watersthree Berkeley winners emerged in the beer, charcuterie, and pickles categories. … Continue reading »

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Top food stories from Berkeley in 2011

Andre Green from the Berkeley Food & Housing Project cooks for the neediest in the community. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back to see what food stories created a buzz around town and on Berkeleyside in 2011.

Granted, there’s an arbitrary nature to such end-of-year lists. But it’s an opportunity to take stock of the city’s culinary culture.

For the purposes of this post we’ve focused on food news stories, which doesn’t take into account the dozens of interviews with foragers, farmers, artisans, advocates, chefs, cooking teachers, preservers, pasta makers, cheese purveyors, pop-up restaurateurs, and farmers’ market vendors we’ve published during 2011.

This year also saw controversial coverage of corner stores, reporting on detractors of school food, an insider’s take on speed dating with a veg-friendly focus, and a widely criticized first-person piece on disappointing camp chow.

Readers may differ on what food stories caught their attention. Feel free to add your own highlights (or low points) in the comments section.

In alphabetical order: … Continue reading »

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Baker’s dozen: To Berkeley from a brick oven in Marin

Eduardo Morell mans the oven at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin. Photos: Eric Smith
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As commutes go, Eduardo Morell knows he’s onto a good thing. The south-west Berkeley dweller spends 35 minutes behind the wheel before he reaches the bucolic setting that is home to the Headlands Center for the Arts near Sausalito, in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. He’s greeted by fresh air, windswept hills, blue (or fog-filled) skies, the sound and smell of the ocean, and the seasons on display.

It is, without doubt, a special spot. That Morell gets to call it his workplace only makes it more magical.

The baker behind Morell’s Bread spends two 14- to 16-hour days at this artists’ enclave in a collection of former army barracks in the Marin Headlands, where he bakes naturally leavened bread in a wood-burning brick oven designed by master-builder Alan Scott. His loaves are served up to the artists-in-residence and sold at the Thursday and Saturday farmers’ markets in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Michael Pollan: New food rules, but no need to be neurotic

Copyright (c) Maira Kalman 2011. Reprinted with permission from The Penguin Press from FOOD RULES by Michael Pollan.
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Sometimes a spoonful of sugar does, indeed, make the medicine go down. Though you won’t find that catchphrase in the just-released hardcover edition of Food RulesMichael Pollan‘s best-selling little eater’s manual.

Food Rules does sport the whimsical and witty illustrations of well-known artist Maira Kalman, however. And the new book also boasts 19 new rules — many gleaned from eaters around the country that Pollan wished he had thought of and included the first time around.

Take two is again full of commonsense kitchen wisdom such as If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably not hungry; and When you eat real food, you don’t need rules.

The takeaway message: food need not be complicated, and the act of eating is as much about pleasure and communion as it is about nutrition and health. In other words: lighten up a little and enjoy your dinner. … Continue reading »

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Food Day: Growing a movement around what we eat

Tara xx Farm: one of the farms on Ecology Center tour to mark Food Day
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Can Food Day, which is on October 24th, do for the growing food movement what Earth Day did for the nascent environmental movement back in 1970?

The organizers, the Center for Science in the Public Interest in D.C., certainly hope so. A national, grassroots campaign, Food Day is designed to celebrate what we eat while drawing our attention to the need to overhaul this country’s food system from farm to fork. In this way it is similar to Earth Day which sparked widespread interest in the fragile nature of our planet.

Events planned for Monday, including in Berkeley and around the Bay Area, will highlight the good, bad, and ugly of the way we consume food in this country.

Simply put, how we grow, transport, process, market, and eat is not sustainable for the environment or our health, said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of CSPI and the creator of Food Day in a recent piece for The Atlantic. Dietary diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart attacks are rising at alarming rates. Industrially raised meat sucks up energy, pollutes the land and water, and is cruel to beast and worker alike.

Even in places like Berkeley where local, seasonal, organic, sustainable, and fresh food is available in abundance, too many people lack access to good grub and/or go hungry or malnourished. … Continue reading »

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The frenzy around Chez Panisse’s 40th anniversary

A drawing of Chez Panisse by L. John Harris (He acted as busboy on opening night)
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The next few days in Berkeley will be all about Alice. You know, Alice Waters. Forty years ago, on August 28, 1971, she opened Chez Panisse in a small shingled building  on Shattuck Avenue. The inaugural dinner consisted of pate en croute, duck with olives, salad, and almond torte. The dinner was a few hours late, cobbled together by a number of well-meaning but amateur chefs, but it was good. And fresh. And it started a transformation in California cuisine … Continue reading »

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Nikki Henderson: On the frontlines of edible education

Nikki Henderson
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People seem to have an insatiable appetite for food matters right now. Case in point: the public tickets for Edible Education 101 at UC Berkeley were snapped up in 12 minutes on Monday, according to a tweet from Alice Waters, who played a key role in bringing the curriculum to the university.

The 13-week course, co-taught by J-school professor and The Omnivore’s Dilemma author Michael Pollan and Nikki Henderson, the executive director of People’s Grocery, … Continue reading »

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Tickets expected to go fast for Michael Pollan’s food class

Michael Pollan
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When word leaked out in the spring that Michael Pollan would be co-teaching a class on the rise and future of the food movement, students at UC Berkeley rushed to sign up. The 10-week, two-unit course was filled minutes after it was listed online.

Now, the general community has a chance to participate in this gold rush.

UC will be releasing tickets for Edible Education 101 on a first-come, first-serve basis on August 15. There will be about 282 tickets available for each class and people will be able to sign up for just one lecture or all of them, said Carolyn Federman, director of development for the Edible Schoolyard, which is co-sponsoring and paying for the course. The tickets will be free and will be sold through Ticketweb, she said.

Pollan is co-teaching Edible Education 101 with Nikki Henderson, the executive director of People’s Grocery, a food justice organization in Oakland. While Pollan and Henderson are the co-teachers, much of the class will center around lectures given by luminaries in the food movement. Confirmed speakers include Carlo Petrini, Peter Sellars, Marion Nestle, Frances Moore Lappé, Raj Patel, Ann Cooper, Eric Schlosser, and Alice Waters. … Continue reading »

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Chez Panisse chef to open artisan butcher shop

Screen shot 2011-05-26 at 10.22.32 AM
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Chez Panisse chef Aaron Rocchino and his wife Monica are bringing artisan meat to the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto with the opening this summer of The Local Butcher Shop on Cedar Street in the old Red Hanger Kleaners space.

“We think there’s a void in the market for restaurant-quality, sustainable meat for home customers,” said Monica Rocchino, who is setting up the new retail operation with her husband.

“It’s an idea whose time has come. I’m looking forward to having this shop in the neighborhood,” said Michael Pollan, who lives in north Berkeley and has done much to champion the consumption of responsibly sourced meat.

The butcher shop will feature whole animals sourced directly from farms, none of which are further than 150 miles from Berkeley. The emphasis will be on grass-fed, sustainably raised meat, and the butchering and cutting will be to order. … Continue reading »

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Author Raj Patel’s food revolution: From chips to salad

Bill Schechner (right) fetes Raj Patel (left) at the recent Berkeley Public Library Foundation's Annual Authors Dinner./Photo: Richard Friedman
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Raj Patel is a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for African Studies, an honorary research fellow at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, and a fellow at The Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First, in Oakland.

Such affiliations allow the academic activist to hang out with his brethren in both camps. At the same time it affords the Oxford, Cornell, and London School … Continue reading »

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Michael Pollan wants your food stories

michaelpollan
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“The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.” “Stop before you’re full.” “Don’t buy cereals that change the color of the milk.” These are just some of the many tips that Berkeley author Michael Pollan included in his compact book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, which contained 64 rules for eating well.

Now Pollan is writing an expanded edition of the book because, he says, he has received a number of excellent new ideas. Along with additional words of wisdom, … Continue reading »

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Chez Panisse to throw a birthday party for 5,000

Save the Date for Web CPF
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Chez Panisse will be 40 years old this summer, and there are certain to be all sorts of food-related events to celebrate the anniversary. For example, there are whispers that Michael Pollan will be giving a series of lectures on food that is open to both students and the public.

Leah Garchik, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, reported today that the Chez Panisse sent out a holidayContinue reading »

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