Bubbyswhollycow’s Weblog

What Happens When One Questions Pollan
May 21, 2008, 12:19 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

In a correspondence with Michael Pollan, I said I thought Bubby’s is the first restaurant in the US to get whole grass fed steer and use the whole thing, tongue to tail. I include my email to him:

Dear Michael,
Perhaps you can help me answer a question: it seems like Bubby’s is the ONLY restaurant in the US buying a whole grass fed steer and using the whole thing. Do you think this is possible? If it is the case, I would like try to help others who are thinking about doing it, because it’s kind of tricky to think about at first… Advice?

And the response:

I don’t think that’s true– can name a few in the bay area doing
the same thing. (Olivetto, Chez Panisse). But there are plenty of places that woud like to do it and need advice. You should perhaps work through Chefs Collaborative. A little manual might be useful. All

best, Michael

In fact, Gerry found out today that Chez Panisse Cafe is buying 2 whole steer a month, during grass season. And what a relief and honor to follow the path set by Alice Waters. The one big difference with Bubby’s is that we are buying and using the whole steer in the restaurant. CPC doesn’t use any of the ground beef, they sell it to friends. Bubby’s has the low-brow luxury of selling 500-600 burgers a week. That really helps with usage. It has dawned on me more than once that the burger is the most consistent way for Bubby’s to move a whole steer. The steaks are tasty though. And it seems a shame to grind up Strips and Rib Eyes for burger. It seems like other people, like Bryan Grundon’s kids’ school in Vermont, sell the primes to pay for the ground beef and the processing.

I would like to make it clear that I do not wish to grandstand by saying Bubby’s is the first restaurant in the US to buy and use a whole grass fed steer. It is clear that there are great chefs, and goddesses out there cooking amazing food with grass fed steer. That is perhaps the difference: Bubby’s chef (me) is not Alice Waters, or Tom Colicchio, or any number of really talented cooks out there. Bubby’s is much more proletariat; we cook common food. We seek out recipes that are old, like George Arliss’s Green Goddess Dressing, or some very ancient method of frying chicken. I am not afraid or ashamed to make a box cake sometimes. I am not a James Beard Award winning guy. And there are way more chefs out there that fall into that range than the superstar, next-great-fucking-chef dudes that you see. And us middling guys are the chefs that move the burger. Aside from the fast food chains, who would never be able to sustain a grass fed steer program, we middling chefs can be the catalyst for some production momentum. This is certainly the way our farmer sees it. And if Burger King called him up tomorrow… it would be a very short conversation I believe.


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

check out this article http://www.foodrevolution.org/grassfedbeef.htm

Comment by christinajcarr

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: