Barton Seaver is on a mission to restore our relationship with the ocean, the land and each other – through food.
As an executive chef, Seaver opened seven restaurants and earned acclaim for his food and for the environmentally conscious businesses he ran. Highlights of his culinary career include being named a Rising Culinary Star three times; twice earning Best New Restaurant nods; and being honored as Esquire magazine's Chef of the Year in 2009. His restaurant Hook was named by Bon Appetit as one of the top ten eco-friendly restaurants in America.
Barton left the restaurant industry to pursue his interest in sustainable food systems and accepted a Fellowship with the Explorer Program at the National Geographic Society, where he studies the confluence of human and ecological health. He is also the Director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at Harvard's School of Public Health, highlighting the important connection between environment and human health while ensuring the profitability of local food producers. The New England Aquarium named Barton their first Sustainability Fellow in Residence to help relate the aquarium's conservation messages to our dinner plates.
As the author of two books, Barton continues to explore these themes with the home cook. His first book, For Cod & Country, showcases seasonal seafood, vibrant spices and farm-fresh produce. His latest book, Where There's Smoke, extends his message to meat, seafood and vegetable recipes for the grill.
Barton is a regular participant at the Aspen Institute and has delivered a talk at the prestigious TED conference. He was recently named by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as culinary ambassador to the American Chef Corps.
Q: Tell us about cooking throughout your childhood. What drew you to the grill?
A: Family dinner was the fundamental point of my childhood; we came together over family dinner every night of the week. My parents were intrepid and talented cooks, and they set the course for my career and my life. In my restaurants I have focused on replicating some of those flavors I experienced as a child and using the ideas of family dinner and gatherings, which really defined the values in my life. My father was well known for his culinary talents, but his ability on the grill was the most admired of all his skills. He knew instinctually how to coax every bit of flavor out of ingredients on a smoky fire. Warm summer evenings, gathered together around the grill – it's a good way to spend your nights.