In May of 2000, Dan Barber opened Blue Hill restaurant in New York with two family members, David and Laureen Barber. Since then, he has become known for encouraging consciousness around our everyday food choices, with writings on food and agricultural policy appearing in the New York Times, Saveur and Food & Wine magazine, among other publications. His efforts have led him to the World Economic Forum's 2010 annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, as well as to TED2010, where he looked toward a new ecological approach to cuisine.
Appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Dan continues the work that he began as a member of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture's board of directors: to blur the line between the dining experience and the educational, bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table.
As chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Dan has received the James Beard awards for Best Chef: New York City (2006) and for Outstanding Chef (2009). In 2009 he was named one of the world's most influential people in Time's annual "Time 100".
Q: Describe your food philosophy.
A: Great flavor begins in the field.
Q: You use ingredients grown onsite at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. How is cooking different with produce grown in your backyard?
A: Aside from the obvious—it's inevitably more delicious—it gives me a whole new set of criteria as a chef. Will a new variety of carrot taste good? That's important, of course, but first you have to consider other questions. Will it thrive in our locality? Will it be profitable in the greenhouse? The needs of the farm dictate the restaurant's menu.