Synopses & Reviews
An award-winning chef moves beyond "farm-to-table" to offer a revolutionary new way of eating.
The Third Plate is chef Dan Barbers extraordinary vision for a new future of American eating. After more than a decade spent investigating farming communities around the world in pursuit of singular flavor, Barber finally concluded that for the sake of our food, our health, and the future of the land America's cuisine required a radical transformation.
The revelations Barber shares in The Third Plate took root in his restaurants kitchen. But his process of discovery took him far afield to alternative systems of food production and cooking that maximize sustainability, nutrition, and flavor. Barber explores the traditional farming practices of the Spanish dehesa, a uniquely vibrant landscape that has been fine-tuned to produce the famed jamón ibérico. Along the Atlantic coast, he investigates the future of seafood through a revolutionary aquaculture operation and an ancient tuna fishing tradition. In upstate New York, Barber learns from a flourishing mixed-crop farm whose innovative organic practices have revived the land and resurrected an industry. And in Washington State he works with cutting edge seedsmen developing new varieties of grain in collaboration with local bakers, millers, and malters. Drawing on the wisdom and experience of chefs and farmers from around the world, Barber proposes a new definition for ethical and delicious eating destined to refashion Americans deepest beliefs about food.
Traditionally, Americans have dined on the first plate,” a classic meal centered on meat with few vegetables. Thanks to the burgeoning farm-to-table movement, many people have begun eating from the second plate,” the new ideal of organic, grass-fed meats and local vegetables. But neither model, Barber shows, supports the long-term productivity of the land. Instead, he calls for a third plate,” a new pattern of eating rooted in cooking with and celebrating the whole farm an integrated system of vegetable, grain, and livestock production.
The Third Plate is truly a publishing event: a monumental work of personal insight and global analysis that definitively remakes the understanding of nutrition, agriculture, and taste for the twenty-first century. Barber charts a bright path forward for eaters and chefs alike, daring everyone to imagine a future for our national cuisine that is as sustainable as it is delicious.
"The chef of the trailblazing farm-to-table restaurant Blue Hill at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, in Pocantico Hills, New York, Barber is also a journalist crusading to help change the culture of American cooking. Blue Hill was the name of his family farm in Massachusetts, informing his early impressions while growing up, and in this multilayered work he aims to address the intrinsics of where food comes from that is, from 'soil,' 'land,' 'sea,' 'seed,' as he divides his chapters. Barber harkens back to the stringent 'land ethic' advocated by the American environmentalist Aldo Moro. There was no golden age of American agriculture, Barber asserts, because taming the land both North and South grew into an 'exploitative relationship,' involving higher and higher yields and less vigilance to healthy soil management climaxing horrendously during the so-called dirty '30s. The value of establishing a viable interconnectedness between technology and ecology ensures that organic farmers are the heroes of this work, people like specialty-grains purveyor Glenn Roberts, who encouraged the author to plant a marvelous ancient Native American corn, Eight Row Flint, that had been farmed to near exhaustion in the early 19th century; New York state planters Klaus and Mary-Howell Martens, who had to cease using pesticides because Klaus was literally being paralyzed, and rediscovered the civilizing and sociable wonders of growing wheat; and a Spanish geese raiser, Eduardo Sousa, who produces foie gras without force feeding. Barber's work is a deeply thoughtful and offering a 'menu for 2050' even visionary work for a sustainable food chain. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“In this compelling read Dan Barber asks questions that nobody else has raised about what it means to be a chef, the nature of taste, and what 'sustainable' really means. He challenges everything you think you know about food; it will change the way you eat. If I could give every cook just one book, this would be the one.” Ruth Reichl, author of Garlic and Sapphires and Tender at the Bone
"Dan Barber is not only a great chef, he's also a fine writer. His vision of a new food system — based on diversity, complexity, and a reverence for nature — isn't utopian. It's essential." Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control
“I thought it would be impossible for Dan Barber to be as interesting on the page as he is on the plate. I was wrong.” Malcolm Gladwell, author of David and Goliath and The Tipping Point
“The Third Plate is one of those rare books that's at once deft and searching — deeply serious and equally entertaining. Dan Barber will change the way you look at food.” Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction and Field Notes from a Catastrophe
“Dan Barber writes with the restrained lushness with which he cooks. In elegant prose, he argues persuasively that eating is our most profound engagement with the non-human world. How we eat makes us who we are and makes the environment what it is. It all needs to change, and Barber has written a provocative manifesto that balances brave originality and meticulous research. His food is farm-to-table; his eloquent, impassioned book is farm-to-heart." Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon
“Dan Barber is as fine a thinker and writer as he is a chef — which is saying a great deal. This book uses its ingredients — the insights of some of the finest farmers on the planet — to fashion something entirely new: a recipe for the future.” Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home
About the Author
Dan Barber is the executive chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Gourmet, The Nation, Saveur, and Food and Wine Magazine. Barber 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 Time magazines 100 most influential people in the world.