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Peter Jacobsen & Michael Chiarello's Seminar at 2009 Aspen Food & Wine Classic

Michael Chiarello Urges You to Advocate Sustainable Food

I couldn't go to this year's Food & Wine Classic and not attend a seminar hosted by two of Napa Valley's most influential food figures. I'm talking about the session led by culinary authority and Top Chef Masters contestant Michael Chiarello and Peter Jacobsen, the owner of Jacobsen Orchards, a farm that supplies produce exclusively to Thomas Keller's famed restaurant The French Laundry. The two discussed the importance of making economically and environmentally just practices, as well as offered suggestions for advocating sustainability. See their ideas (and more photos) after the jump.


  • Sustainable agriculture brings the farm, the farmer, and the community together to engage in a dialogue about food.
  • Simply asking whether products are local and sustainable in restaurants and stores helps to get society thinking about a culture of sustainability.
  • Become a farmer just by tending a small 18-inch by 18-inch patch of land. Alternately, buy a pot of soil and basil seeds: That's all it takes to begin experiencing the philosophical concerns of a farmer.
  • Perform what Jacobsen calls "random acts of gardening" — plant vegetables or flower seeds in unlikely urban areas.
  • Realize that eating is an agricultural act, and choose to "vote" accordingly with your fork by choosing local and sustainable options at every meal.

Do you consider sustainability just as important as Chiarello and Jacobsen? Are you willing to take Michael and Peter's suggestions to heart in order to create a healthier food system?

Peter Jacobsen of Jacobsen Orchards

Michael Chiarello uses rennet to make mozzarella

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Michael Chiarello pulls fresh mozzarella.

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Michael Chiarello making a fresh mozzarella ball.

Michael Chiarello toasts with a fresh tomato water martini, topped with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

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