Even the most informed foodies can often feel like they only have a limited grasp on what’s really going on with our food system. Rules and regulations change all the time, and if you haven’t been inside a factory or a factory farm—where most of our meals come from—it’s incredibly difficult to imagine the enormity and scope of what exactly we’re eating (yes, we’re looking at you, Pink Slime!). But fortunately, there are people who can help piece together the big picture. And, they just happen to be super interesting as well, making them the ideal dinner guests for our fantasy foodie potluck dinner. Don’t worry, we saved a seat for you, too.
Michael Pollan: Best-selling author (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Food Rules) and food advocate, Pollan is the poster-boy for quality food and farming practices. He’s brought awareness to such critical issues as CAFOs (concentrated animal feed operations), genetically modified organisms and the benefits of DIY food gathering, growing and preparing. Our guess for his meal contribution? Home-brewed organic beer.
Alice Waters: Where to begin with Alice? She transformed fine dining with her Berkeley, California restaurant, Chez Panisse, and continues to transform our relationship with food through her Edible Schoolyard Program that teaches children about the important nutritional, environmental—and tasty—benefits of homegrown food. Her potluck dish: Baby arugula salad with organic shaved fennel and a fresh berry vinaigrette.
Paul Stamets: Mushrooms are so much more than a pizza topping. Paul Stamets works to bring awareness to the myriad health and environmental benefits of fungus including mycoremediation (aka oil spill eating mushrooms), soil cleansing, pesticide alternative and immune boosting properties that can heal and prevent illnesses such as cancer. What’s his dish? Of course, wild foraged stuffed chanterelle mushrooms with truffle oil.
Ellen DeGeneres: The talk-show host can now add restaurateur to her resume with her highly anticipated Los Angeles vegan restaurant set to open soon. A vocal animal rights advocate, Ellen also recently launched a super informative and thorough blog full of vegan resources, tips and recipes that show just how delicious a vegan diet can be. Sweet, right? We’re pretty sure Ellen would bring a decadent dessert, like vegan coconut crème pie.
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