THE BEST THING...
Our contributors pick their favourite food innovations since sliced bread
WHEN PLANNING this issue, we had innovation on our mind. So we asked our contributors and other food-focused folk, “What do you reckon has been the best food innovation since sliced bread?” Here are some of their answers.
Locol, a revolutionary American fast food restaurant that aims to compete with the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King. The brainchild of chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, it’s all about bringing healthy, affordable food options to low-income communities, and also provides culinary training and career opportunities. As Choi says on his website: “We believe that wholesomeness, deliciousness and affordability don’t have to be mutually exclusive concepts in fast food. We believe that fast food restaurants can truly empower the communities they currently underserve. We believe that the giant corporations that feed most of America have degraded our communities by maximising profits over decades. We believe that chefs should feed America, and not suits.” / welocol.com Aaron McLean, photographer The ever-growing number of quality New Zealand coffee roasters and the increasing availability of a great range of beans. Plus my dinky Japanese Hario Mini Mill that allows me to grind to order, and provides an arm work-out to boot. Who needs capsules? Alice Neville, senior editor
In the late 90s, Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in San Francisco started The Edible Schoolyard project, and it had a major influence on both Stephanie Alexander setting up her Kitchen Garden Foundation (the programme is currently in more than 800 schools in Australia); and Catherine Bell in New Zealand setting up the Garden to Table Trust (currently in 38 schools). These women passionately believe that educating our young in how to grow and cook food is vital for growing healthy communities. Ginny Grant, senior food writer
I take my hat off to social enterprises like Kaibosh, Eat My Lunch and Common Unity (see page 142 for more on these), which integrate great food with social responsibility, sustainability and good oldfashioned common sense. Also – I Love Pies pies! Lucy Corry, writer
Food labelling. Being able to make an informed choice is our right. We have made improvements in this area, but I so look forward to the day when our labels will give us not only nutritional information, but also information about the true origins of our food. Kelli Brett, Cuisine editor
Free-range has become very important in our house. We buy free-range eggs, chicken, pork and bacon. If we can’t find free-range, we don’t buy it. It has been wonderful to see the free-range egg section get bigger and bigger over the years, shelf by shelf taking over the battery egg section. It’s like a tide of civilisation slowly coming in. It was a big extra cost, but it had to be paid to show our children what we believe in. It’s about respecting our food and the animals we eat. The bonus is the chicken and the pork tastes better. Ewan Sargent, writer
The evolution of salads from the 1970s to now – so much more choice than lettuce and coleslaw! Kathie Bartley, wine and food marketer
The idea that has changed the way I think about food has been the “I Quit Sugar” movement. Don’t get me wrong, I have a sweet tooth, but since learning about how much unnecessary sugar is included in our diets, I take a closer look at the nutritional information on the side of packets and try to stick to under 5g per 100g. There’s definitely time for cake and chocolate, but I’ve cut out a lot of the unnecessary sugar, like fizzy drinks, and feel so much better for it! Sarah Meikle, Wellington on a Plate festival director
The current wave of ethnic food appreciation brought on by new immigrants to NZ. Plus the slow food movement, and a return to the appreciation of traditional skills such as preserving and jam making. Like most things in life, there are very few new innovations, but rather new-found appreciation (or a new audience) and current takes on time-honoured skills: back to the future. Jane Boyle, wine judge
The proliferation of great Asian food in Auckland. Fiona Lascelles, art director
Unsliced bread – and finally good butter, made in New Zealand, to put on it! Fiona Smith, senior food writer