One of our favorite Behind The Plate questions that we ask interviewees is “How do you define good food?” What we’ve learned is that while good food means something different to each of us, the underlying theme is you can’t have good food without people. Some answers focus more on flavor and what good food brings to the eater, others on process, and others even on the source—who was involved along the way. Here are ten of our favorite answers.
- Amanda Fuller (@RootedNY) – I’ll borrow Carlo Petrini’s definition—good food needs both taste (to be delicious to us personally) and knowledge (to tell a cultural and historical story).
- Audrey Snowe (@unconventionalbaker) – Easy, wholesome, fresh, vibrant, nourishing, and flavorful are all words that come to mind. And anything from my garden 🙂
- Ben Flanner (@brooklyngrange) – Good food utilizes and emphasizes the natural flavors of the ingredients, without preservatives.
- Sanjay Rawal – I don’t care if something is organic or sustainable if the people that picked, grew, manufactured or served the food aren’t treated and paid well. Too many people care too much about what goes into their bodies at the direct expense of caring about those responsible for creating that food. Should we eat organic? Sure. But organic doesn’t mean workers were treated well—there is zero correlation. Same goes for local, natural, everything that gets foodies excited. The food movement has left the worker behind. We need to fix that.
- Noni Vaughn-Pollard (@darkchocolatepeanutbutter) – I believe good food is any food that gives me pleasure. Whether it’s a fresh hot doughnut or a kale salad, I like food to be simple and delicious.
- Julie Qiu (@inahalfshell) – Good food creates value for every stakeholder: the eater, the producer, the chef, purveyor, and environment.
- Palak Patel (@palaknyc) – Good food is simple, but packed with flavor. To me good food also creates connections, and it’s how I show love. I grew up in a large Indian family where daily meals were the center of our day. Having grown up with Indian spices and bold ingredients, I enjoy incorporating these ideas into everyday cooking to create delectable, healthy dishes that deliver big flavors.
- Omar Rada (@omar) – Olive oil + garlic + salt + pepper + almost anything.
- Simran Sethi – Food that has been grown and prepared by people who have been treated well and paid a fair wage, coming from land that has been sustainably managed. And cooked by people who are also treated equitably and love what they do. Delicious food isn’t delicious if people or natural resources are harmed in the process.
- Beth Reed (@simplywithout) – Food that is thought about, cared for and loved. It is literally from the moment the seed begins to grow that the food journey starts. Everyone involved in the journey has an impact on the food and can help to make the end result good food. One of my favorite things to do is, not just cook and eat good food, but think about it. Thinking about and planning meals makes the flavors and ingredients come to life—as they take on their own place on the chopping board, pan or plate, they all become important parts of the bigger picture. To me, good food is food that nourishes you, invokes conversation and of course tastes good.