The Blog

Coming Soon: An Arugula Mandate

8:20 AM, Jan 26, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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The elitist chef constituency is very excited about Obama and what he might tell all of us to eat, which strikes me as odd considering there's a fair amount of evidence that he doesn't eat much of anything:

Phrases like "real food" and "farm-to-table" may sound like elitist jargon tossed around at upscale restaurants. But the country's top chefs, several of whom traveled to Washington for Obama's inauguration this week, hope that Obama's flair for good food will encourage people to expand their horizons when it comes to what they eat...

Dan Barber, chef at New York's popular Blue Hill restaurant and a frequent critic of the country's food policy, says a few small gestures from the president and first lady Michelle Obama could accomplish what many of the chefs have been working toward for years.

"I recognize that I'm an elitist guy," says Barber, who cooked a $500-a-plate meal for incoming Obama aides and other guests at a small charity fundraiser the night before the inauguration. "Increasingly raise awareness, but don't do it through chefs like me. ... My advice would be more of a symbolic nature, and to not underestimate what can be done through the White House."

Look out for organic broccoli farm and arugula awareness earmarks in the stimulus.