Forward - Peter Reinhart


Sustainable Cooking for all Seasons

There was a time, and only just a few years ago, when a young person wanting to pursue a career in culinary arts need only learn about cooking.Being a chef was rarely thought of as also being a steward of the planet’s resources or as a philosophical thought leader. Agricultural biodiversity, and it’s more generic category, sustainability, were concepts reserved for scientists, college professors, and academic writers. Meanwhile, cooks just had to worry about creating tasty dishes and running successful restaurants.Then, in the late 1990’s, things changed in such a dramatic turn that you could even call it a paradigm shift.

I have known Chef Stuart Stein for over twenty years, when we worked together as culinary school instructors during a time when the early seeds of the sustainability movement were just beginning to sprout. Between us, we knew a few visionary chefs, who seemed like outliers then. They were chefs who reached beyond the kitchen and challenged their colleagues to become part of the solution, not just serve as cogs in a broken system.Alice Waters, Rick Bayless, Dan Barber, Tom Colicchio, Jose Andres, and, soon, many others became the new model for aspiring chefs. What seemed, twenty years ago, as simply a few “prophets in the wilderness,” have now become its most dominant voices. Today, embracing the issues that fall under the umbrella of sustainability has even become a requirement for entry if you want to be taken seriously as a chef. Stuart taught and wrote about it then, and is still writing about it, no longer a lone, early voice but now a seasoned veteran educating the next generation of chef leaders.

The notion of sustainability, however, even though it is has entered the culinary lexicon and is a term recognized by nearly everyone, is still not fully understood in its full depth. While there is no longer a lack of interest in sustainability, every new generation of chefs still needs to be inspired and taught how to think about this large, enigmatic, controversial theme by people they trust and admire.The early seeds have sprouted into a movement, but there is still need for guidance, mentors to light the way, illuminating what it fully means to be a chef at this time in history.That’s why a book such as The New Sustainable Kitchen Cookbook is so valuable; it will show you the way.

I fully expect that, twenty years from now, as this current generation becomes the new thought leaders for the ones that follow, many of today’s young chefs in training will point to this book and say, “This is where I learned how it should be done.”

— Peter Reinhart, Johnson & Wales University