As a local chef with a writing habit, frequent TV appearances, and a Time 100 honor, Dan Barber is working toward food-statesman status. He is the only chef invited to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Yesterday, he joined a panel on “Groundbreaking Discoveries in Science & Technology”; today, Barber speaks about “Better Food for Better Health;” and Friday he discusses “Catalyzing a New Vision for Agriculture.”
For his main gig today, Barber focused on how chefs lead change in America. “When you’re interested in flavorful food … a lot of good things fall into line: good farming, good ecological stewardship, good nutrition, good communities … Chefs, as arbiters of taste, lead the way in determining what’s fit for their kitchens, which means they do quite a lot to affect the way the world works,” he said in an e-mail. Chefs rarely speak at the event, and participants outside the business arena may hail from governments, NGOs, and academia. While Alice Waters attended a panel at the 2008 forum, she was also asked to cook.