Barton Seaver
Meet Barton Seaver

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&A with Barton Seaver

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.

Read the full Q & A on our blog

Grilled Calamari with Red Onion and Basil Flank Steak with Radicchio and Plum Salad Escarole with Nectarines and Ricotta Salata Grilled Summer Vegetables with Green Goddess Dressing Wood-Grilled Snap Peas with Smoky Aioli How to Cook with Smoke
Top Kitchen Items

Vitamix Professional 200 Blender >
A big ticket item, but one that will end up saving you money in the long run. This powerful tool is both the workhorse of the kitchen – making quick work of rich pureed soups – while also being a much-appreciated extra set of hands. It handles the gentle task of whipping together a mayonnaise, whisking up a vinaigrette, or mounting butter into a rich buerre blanc sauce – making these manageable feats for the solo cook.

Stainless-Steel Tongs >
Hands are by far the most useful of all tools in the kitchen, but sometimes things get a little hot. Enter tongs: the second most useful tool in the kitchen. And yes, I know that some folks admonish 'against' the use of tongs because they can squeeze and damage ingredients. But that is all in how you use the tongs. If you are gentle, so too will be the tongs. If you are brutish...

Microplane Rasp Grater >
This ingenious tool has so many wonderful functions. I use it to grate Parmesan over pasta at the table and add a spike of charisma to dishes with fresh citrus zest. My favorite is to grate a clove of nutmeg over hot soup or stew; the heady fragrance of the spice invigorated by the heat of the dish adds a charming and unexpected touch to any meal.

Le Creuset Signature Braiser >
An expensive pan, yes, but I fully intend on passing mine down to my grandchildren. When well loved, this pot will return the favor for decades. It is brilliant for making grain or rice pilafs because of the thick, heat-absorbing base and the broad surface area, which allows for proper toasting of the ingredient and quick cooking. It is also great for cooking and presenting dishes all in the same pot, especially meals like bouillabaisse or beef stew.

Boos Edge-Grain Maple Cutting Boards >
A giant cutting board helps organize the entire cooking process. By having plenty of room, you can lay out your ingredients, do prep work and set a strategy. Because all of your ingredients are in view, the cooking process becomes much more relaxed and enjoyable.

10-Piece Glass Bowl Set >
I actually recommend having two sets of these. Much as the cutting board facilitates ease and function of the cooking process, so too bowls reduce clutter and help organize thoughts.