Ethical Eating

Scott Lewis of Slow Foods Glades-to-Coast Chapter on The Benefits of Cooking from Scratch

According to the National Restaurant Consultants, "The driving theme of 2013 will continue to be 'local' or 'made from scratch.'" Why? Aside from the fact that is obviously tastes better, the trend has tapped into some tenets of the ever-increasing Slow Foods Movement. 

Last week, we looked at the Grove's hand-crafted menu (Even the marshmallows are made in-house). To find out more, we spoke to Scott Lewis of Slow Food from Glades to Coast.

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Started in Italy in 1986 by Carlo Petrini as an alternative to the growing influence of fast foods, the Slow Food movement began as a means to preserve the traditions of regional foods and cuisines. Since its inception, the movement has expanded to over 1,500 regional chapters with more than 100,000 members throughout the world.

"Slow food is a craftsman-like approach to how you create food and grow food," says Lewis, "Different farmers are on our board: we like the work they do and the scale of farming. We also work with restaurants."

Slow Food's goal is to create a good, clean, and fair food system. According to Slow Food Internationals' website:
Slow Food's approach to agriculture, food production and gastronomy is based on a concept of food quality defined by three interconnected principles:
GOOD a fresh and flavorsome seasonal diet that satisfies the senses and is part of our local culture;
CLEAN food production and consumption that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health;
FAIR accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for small-scale producers.

Obviously, the movement's impact is increasing exponentially. Rather than going for convenient pre-made foods, many chefs and individuals have turned back to making everything from scratch. While returning to artisanal methods of preparing foods is just one part of the movement, it is one of the more important tenets in terms of keeping with the Slow Foods philosophy. According to Chris Miracolo of highly esteemed farm-to-table restaurant Max's Harvest, "The benefits of making things from scratch is that you actually know what goes into your food. You see less chemicals: you're not worried about shelf life for shipping. From a chefs standpoint, you actually know what you're serving your customers."

While each chapter focuses on different tenets of the Slow Foods philosophy, Slow Foods Glades to Coast has been working to raise environmental and science education. Currently, the group is working on some classes with the Miramar Community Garden. According to Lewis, "We're working on series of classes with a woman named Jessica Cleary, a master canner. She's going to do a series on preserving foods. Canning is a big trend right now, as so many people are moving back to these sorts of crafts of preserving foods."

For more information about Slow Food from Glades to Coast, check the website here.