Book reviews are always a tricky thing…especially if the review is about YOUR book!!  An opinion is as individual as the person expressing it and so it was with some trepidation that I opened the latest copy of NZ House & Garden (Jan 2011) to read what Sally Butters had written about Fresh, our first cookbook.

Thankfully Sally was very kind to us, calling Fresh “a delicious tribute to a new home and, for those of us who’ve been here a while longer, a reminder of just how lucky we are.”  And this precisely sums up what we were hoping to achieve in writing the book, which is great!

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Having just started to get into this interweb thingy, I’m starting to realize that the art of bloging is a skill that is in its early development, certainly for me anyway. From what I can gather the idea is that anyone can write anything they like regardless of research or knowledge and then pass this off as fact.

It’s an interesting concept, in days gone by personal opinions were exactly that, personal, if you wanted to make these personal opinions public then you had to be able to back them up with real science or research or accept the backlash. Today of course all you have to do is spend a few minutes on line and your opinions are out there presented to the world. Which leads me to the observation who do we trust?

I guess the answer to that question is, for me anyway, the people that I respect. There that was easy wasn’t it, problem is that is still a personal opinion so I seem to be back at square one.

The only way that I can see is to try to explain why I’m writing this and what I hope to achieve from it.

I’m a chef in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Over the past few years my role has changed from simply cooking food for people to eat to being a bit more public about our food supply. Sounds very noble doesn’t it. Well in some ways its is however I’m also writing cookbooks and trying to sell them so maybe not so philanthropic after all.

What I do realize after 20 years in the food industry is that with every year we have given away our knowledge of our own food supply to people and organizations that have been a bit less honest than we deserved. We no longer teach our children how to cook and in some cases barely eat as a family anymore. Are we really heading for a society that will have its eating habits decided by accountants and supply chain experts?

That all sounds really depressing for someone who loves food and something that I’m not prepared to accept, which leads me full circle back to the internet, the home of information and disinformation. The fact is that around the globe there is a ground swell of opinion growing that wants to take back control of our food. This isn’t being lead by politicians or the corporate colossus, but by people everywhere who just want to know what is in the food that they eat.

So to all those people out there who are again caring for our food, I salute you and want to be part of this great journey. Let’s celebrate the great and the good who understand that there is a responsibility attached to food production – whether it’s the chef who sources local, the farmers market or even the corporate who values being doing the right thing over short term gain.

Wow sorry about that, I only intended to make a few comments about food and it turned into a bit of a rant, I promise the next blog will be all fluffy and foodie.

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