Frequently I am asked if I use organic foods and locally-sourced items at Sizzleworks, and if I encourage my students to do the same.
As a chef and culinary educator, I encourage my students to use the best possible ingredients available to them within their budget, as great foods ALWAYS begin with great quality ingredients. I also encourage my students to buy locally grown whenever possible. As food labels can be confusing, I feel that it is important to understand what natural, organic, locally produced means. Lastly, familiarity and knowledge of the product or ingredient is more important than the label. An”organic” label does not indicate a superior product.
Understanding what grocery-store buzzwords meanâ€”and what they don’t meanâ€”is essential for conscious shopping. In upcoming posts I will unravel the maze of these buzzwords, and try to make some sense of them, beginning with:
ORGANIC: Used for produce that is GMO-free, grown without pesticides or synthetic herbicides, and not irradiated; for dairy, beef, and poultry it means animals were fed organic feed and not given hormones or antibiotics. “Certified organic” indicates that production methods were verified by an independent inspector. Three USDA-approved labels for packaged foods exist: “100% Organic” for products made with all organic ingredients, “Organic” for products with at least 95 percent organic ingredients, and “Made With Organic Ingredients” for products with at least 70 percent organic ingredients.