Alain Ducasse, a doyen of French gastronomy, one of only two chefs to have held a total of 21 Michelin Stars, is redefining haute cuisine. Enter: haute-vegetarianism. The highly awarded chef, once famed for his flamboyant foie gras, is changing his menu at Paris' luxurious Plaza Athénée to be primarily vegetarian.
His rationale is environmental: "The planet's resources are rare, we must consume more ethically and equitably” Ducasse said. Sure, a more plant-based diet makes ecological sense, but old habits die hard. So it is fantastic to see old gastronomy masters shake up the fine dining industry. Victory for the vegetables! And a victory for improved carbon FOODprints.
As professional chefs' negative mindset towards the vegetarian lifestyle weakens, there could be a trickle down effect of less-meat eating across society at large. I hate myself for supporting the cruel meat industry, but it is not easy being green. Hopefully with chefs embracing vegetarian fare in their menus, especially TV chefs, delicious vegetarian cuisine could have a wider inspiration. Tasty veggie meals seem more appealing than being scolded and feeling guilty for your carbon foodprint.
In the UK another Michelin-starred chef is gardening his own organic vegetables to fight the cancer he is suffering. While the scientific case of health-giving properties of edible plants is still being established, there are a growing number of medical advocates for the curative powers of a vegetarian diet.
So, I am reminded that there are ecological, health and also moral reasons to cut back on meat. The philosopher Peter Singer has long advocated that the future discriminatory -ism will be species-ism, like racism or sexism before it. Speciesism is the idea that being human is reason enough for human animals to have greater moral rights than non-human animals.
You know the winds of food change are upon us when a man known for his extensive ways with foie gras is changing his menu to be primarily vegetarian. There are many benefits of choosing a vegetarian diet, including potentially better health and less environmental impact.