This post was written by Hatchet reporter Hilary Kelly.
A group of prominent D.C. chefs gathered on campus Tuesday to take part in a discussion held by GW’s Urban Food Task Force – a group of faculty, staff, students and volunteers who work to provide information on sustainable urban food policies and healthy eating.
Lead by moderator Jane Black, food blogger and former food writer at The Washington Post, the panel was comprised of José Andrés, chef and owner of Minibar by José Andrés and the popular tapas restaurant Jaleo in Chinatown; Todd Gray, chef and owner of Equinox Restaurant; Spike Mendelsohn (former “Top Chef: Chicago” contestant), chef and owner of Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza; and Nora Pouillon, chef and owner of Restaurant Nora.
The panel spoke on a wide range of topics including sustainability, promotion of healthy eating in schools and balancing ethical sourcing of food with the demands of business.
“I find the middle ground. I call it being pragmatic,” Andrés said. “In my restaurant, we do vegetables. We get 3 ounces [of meat], but they’re the best three ounces we can eat, and we make sure the animals are being taken care of.”
Mendelsohn agreed, stating that sometimes, being a business owner has to come first.
“It’s about balance,” Mendelsohn said. “I can’t buy all grass-fed beef. That’s impossible. But I can support [things like] Michelle Obama’s [“Let’s Move”] initiative.”
Sustainability and business overlap for Gray.
“Sustainability, to me, is about my business…We’re cooks, not politicians. At the end of the day, we write our menus…and we try to make a couple of dollars,” Gray said.