Rick Bayless was country before country was cool, when it comes to bringing the reality of what’s grown in America right into the consciousness of diners in upscale restaurants. And so he’s an obvious choice for keynote speaker at the James Beard Foundation’s 3rd annual food conference in New York. The theme of the conference is trust, as in, how can we trust what our food system gives us to be safe and healthy. Here’s Bayless’s perspective:
When we first started doing this twenty years ago, we started buying from local farmers. Most of them didn’t even trust that they could get in and out of the city without being robbed. They were afraid that we were never going to pay them — they wouldn’t walk out the door until they had a check in their hands, and they’d call me again, and say “I planted this stuff for you! Are you sure you’re going to buy it?” — but it took a while for us to develop a good and honest relationship with our suppliers, our farmers. But on the other side of it, we also had to convince our clientele, our guests that would come into our restaurants, that what we were putting on the menu was really what we were, in fact, giving them.
That comes from an interview with Tina Nguyen at The Braiser, about what he’ll actually be saying later today. It’s the second-to-next best thing to being there, so read it. The next best thing is watching it on live streaming, which you can do here. [The Braiser]