At the heart of today's optimistic, farm-to-table food culture is a dark secret: the local food movement has failed to change how we eat. Our concern over factory farms and chemically grown crops might have sparked a social movement, but Chef Dan Barber reveals that even the most enlightened eating of today is ultimately detrimental to the environment and to individual health. Traditionally, we have dined on the "first plate", a classic meal centered on a large cut of meat with few vegetables. Thankfully, that's become largely passé. The farm-to-table movement has championed the "second plate"—where the meat is from free-range animals and the vegetables are locally-sourced. The solution, explains Barber, lies in the "third plate": an integrated system of vegetable, grain, and livestock production that is fully supported—in fact, dictated—by what we choose to cook for dinner. The Third Plate is where good farming and good food intersect. Hardcover, 496 pp.
Dan Barber is the chef of Blue Hill, a restaurant in Manhattan's West Village, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located within the nonprofit farm and education center, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. His opinions on food and agricultural policy have appeared in The New York Times, along with many other publications. Barber has received multiple James Beard Foundation Awards, including Best Chef: New York City (2006) and the country's Outstanding Chef (2009). In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. "After my first meal at Blue Hill, I paid Dan the ultimate farmer compliment. I told him that he made vegetables taste almost fresher after he had prepared them than when the farmer harvested them. Now I am equally impressed with his writing. Food has stories and Dan tells the stories as well as he cooks. If you want to know about food, read this book." -Eliot Coleman