Thinking Big

Issue 5, Volume 5


At this year’s Good Food Awards, the specialty food world’s answer to the Oscars, Slow Food Movement founder Carlo Petrini took the stage to praise the nominees. “As food producers,” he told them, “you are the intermediaries between the earth and the sky.” Petrini’s not alone in this lofty, visionary thinking; in 2016, it seems like everyone in the food industry wants to be a disrupter, a thought leader, a game changer of some kind.

In Los Angeles, Roy Choi’s much awaited opening of LocoL advanced a more nutritious, more compassionate vision of the quick service restaurant, while the New York Times’ scathing review of Per Se challenged our notions of value and luxury in fine dining. From carbon-free restaurants to gourmet airplane food, change is in the air.

It’s not only restaurants. Silicon Valley is getting into next gen veggie burgers and eggless mayonnaise. There’s a flurry of apps at our fingertips designed to optimize our dietary choices and combat food waste. Yet is there a dark side to this relentless drive for progress? Some are starting to question whether our on-demand, app-happy status quo is substituting convenience for community. And in Bread, Wine, and Chocolate, perhaps the darkest, bleakest food book to come in the last few months, Simran Sethi argues that eons of scientific breeding have sucked the nutrients out of the foods we love most.

This month’s issue of the Dirty Dozen thus celebrates the pleasures, perils, and paradoxes of food innovation. Good, bad, and downright dystopian; welcome to the future of food.


LocoL takes Watts by storm.

eater [dot] com

Per Se loses its luster.

nytimes [dot] com

I dream of a carbon-free restaurant.

the chronicle [dot] com

A new app to minimize food waste.

itunes [dot] com

Startups, sustainability, and the science of the impossible burger.

the economist [dot] com

When drones drop lamb kofta from the sky.

the atlantic [dot] com

Denmark opens the world’s first food waste grocery store.

rt [dot] com

Are we breeding all the nutrients out of our food?

slate [dot] com

Ramen is dead. Blame the internet.

lucky peach [dot] com

Want to change the food system? Put your money where your mouth is.

grist [dot] com

Terrifying and gorgeous views of the industrial foodscape.

Ciurej + Lochman [dot] com

Why Mark Bittman left the New York Times for a vegan start-up.

time [dot] com