Rick Stephen
WACS Continental Director for Asia Rick Stephen – International Chef’s Day

Dear Colleagues,

 Saturday October 20 will see WACS celebrate International Chefs Day, and this year’s theme will focus on ‘How to Feed the Planet in the Future’. As our WACS president declared, “We are stewards of the world ecosystem ” and naturally we as chefs and consumers have responsibilities. Empowerment is a big word but when we break it down it virtually means to take responsibility — and that is what we need to do with our food.

Sustainable Food is another term used frequently and we should take a little look at this topic from the inside. Sustainable Food is a way of growing, shipping, storing, processing, preparing and eating food that does not deplete the natural systems which have created the products. Sustainability is a long-term goal, not a specific goal. It is a work in progress. Sustainable Food is not just organic food or seafood, it is about combinations of foods, methods of growing or raising, farming, knowing when to harvest, slaughter or catch these products, and it comes from working with nature. Essentially it is collaborating with the natural world and understanding how to replenish it.

As a chef, I believe we must develop a working relationship with the people who grow and produce the food we work with in order to understand the constraints of their tasks and plan accordingly. This way we can make optimum use of water and nutrients and to minimize waste. We as chefs (and also consumers) need to question the food chain and demand answers on how we will preserve and protect the food supply for future generations. This responsibility encompasses environmental, economic and social consequences, and the world is beginning to take note.

In our own kitchens, we should be monitoring production, storage and waste of products and thinking about how we can utilise every piece of what we buy. We can learn much from Asian kitchens which utilise every part of an animal or product in a variety of dishes to minimise waste.

A Chef’s responsibility is not only to cook, but also to manage the available resources and produce that our children in the future can look forward to enjoying.

International Chefs Day is about celebrating being a chef but more importantly about making a difference where we can. I will take this opportunity and I urge my colleagues, not only here inAsiabut around the world, to celebrate and reflect on the past and look into the future.

 Kind regards,

 Rick Stephen CMC

WACS Continental Director -Asia