“There is no sincerer love than the love for food” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Whether it’s food for thought or food for stomach, there is no doubt that food is something we all hunger for. Most times in our quest to feed our hunger, we sneak into an overloaded boat at night trying to cross boarders illegally searching for greener pastures; take two extra jobs and work round the clock; or even form queues under the sun waiting for our turn to get a taste of this thing that keeps us all alive on planet earth, Food.
Talking about forming queues, Chef Dominique Ansel will be familiar with this one because, he literally made people to stand—and sometimes sleep—on the streets in New York waiting to get a taste of an awesome pastry he invented; The Cronut™—a hybrid of the croissant and doughnut.
In course of our stroll, we talked about food and sustainable food systems in the world; possible solutions to the global hunger problem; and the Eureka moment when he got the idea for the Cronut™. I hope this wets your appetite.
Here is my stroll with Chef Ansel, enjoy;
Here is my stroll with Chef Ansel, enjoy;
Ebenezar: it's a pleasure having you on the stroll Chef Ansel, Happy Food day.
Dominique: It’s a pleasure talking with you too
Ebenezar: The theme for this year's World Food Day is; 'Sustainable Food Systems for Food security and Nutrition' what are some Sustainable Food Systems you know that we can adopt in the world today to help increase our food security?
Dominique: Sustainability is not just a big theme in food, but in everything. Simply put - it's about finding the best long-term solutions for us and this planet. Sustainable agriculture is huge from growing your basic vegetables and wheat to making wine. And worldwide attention has been drawn to sustainable fishing and not over-fishing.
Ebenezar: The World Food Program (WFP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are both initiatives by the UN to help stop global hunger, yet millions of people around the world still lie on an empty tummy every night. What do you think is the cause? And how can we solve this problem?
Dominique: I believe hunger is a problem that we can end this my lifetime. It's just a matter of finding the right ways to build permanent sources of food systems worldwide and set up real agricultural communities. Obviously there are many more intricate parts to this, but I believe it's about a consistent and dedicated effort.
Ebenezar: Another reason for chronic hunger in the world today is the high cost of food and food stuffs. How can we lower the price of food for the common man to be able to afford it?
Dominique: I wish I knew. As a business owner, I believe I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that food prices have been increasing dramatically. Sometimes it's at no one's fault. If it's a bad year with horrible drought or natural disasters, food costs will rise.
|Chef Dominique at work|
(AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Ebenezar: Yeah it’s just sad; sometimes it’s just beyond us. Okay, let’s talk about you, when did your passion for baking and cooking start? Is it something you've always wanted to be?
Dominique: Believe it or not - it is! I have always wanted to be a chef from as early as I can remember.
Ebenezar: Wow, that’s cool… I really admire chefs a lot because; they have something I don't have which is the patience to cook. (Lol) Do you think anyone can be a great chef?
Dominique: (Laughs) I think the food critic in Ratatouille said it best: "Not everyone can be a great chef. But a great chef can be anyone."
Ebenezar: (hehe) Great answer. Now let us talk about the Cronut™. This pastry got people sleeping on the street in long queues just to get a bite of this genius. I'd like to know, what inspired you to invent this tongue twister? What was the Eureka moment?
Dominique: We create lots of new ideas every day here at the bakery and the Cronut™ was just another one. I worked on it for 2 months with over 10 recipes, so it was more of a slow tweaking rather than instant "ah ha" moment.
|A queue of customers waiting to buy the Cronut|
Ebenezar: Wow… That’s incredible hard work, so should we expect any more combinations from you? So customers can start booking their spots on the queue again.
Dominique: We've launched so many items after the Cronut™. From the Frozen S'more to the Magic Souffle, and now we're launching a whole new fall menu. Creativity is a lifestyle, so you must continue to live it every day.
Ebenezar: I love watching 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown' because of the crazy dishes and concoctions he eats on different episodes. Lol... What is the craziest concoction you've eaten? Don't worry you're secret is safe with us.
Dominique: Well, I served my term in the military in French Guyana. I have eaten everything in that rain forest, including the anaconda snake we ran over.
Ebenezar: Oh my, Anaconda (hehe) I guess no one heard that, your secret is safe. Thank you so much for strolling with me Chef Dominique, I still need to try a Cronut™ you know? Can you mail one to me here in Nigeria? Or can I get a recipe or something...
Dominique: (Laughs) No mail orders, I'm afraid. But whenever you're in New York, we'll be here.
For all about Chef Dominique Ansel(@DominiqueAnsel) and to check out the Cronut™ and other pastries in the Dominique Ansel Bakeries, click here.
I’d like to talk about food wastage a bit. The Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program have been set up to see to it that, people eat, and eat well. But why is there so much hunger in the world? You might ask… well, I think one major reason is because we don’t have sustainable food systems. Look at ecosystems and see how sustainable the food cycle is. We need to work more on our food cycles to keep every loop closed and the energy flowing.
Another reason there is hunger in the world is because, we’ve forgotten where we all came from. Every early man was a farmer, growing all he needs for his household and that was far before the time of markets, shops, and money. By the time we start growing things for ourselves, we’d see how the cost of food will drop drastically.
God had made the seeds, let’s keep the cycle going. Governments also need to invest in Agriculture. I salute all farmers tilling the hard and pruning the weeds to keep us all alive. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
Till my next stroll; eat healthy, eat wise, Jesus loves you.
Ebenezar Wikina (@EbenezarWikina)
WORLD FOOD DAY
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