Few food services operators realize that nearly every nanny group generating headlines with their opposition to new biotech foods also opposes most other aspects of conventional agriculture; those time- and money-saving improvements to the modern food supply that we’ve always presumed were here to stay.

Chefs Collaborative’s organic agenda
The celebrity chefs of the organization Chefs Collaborative 2000 (CC) have vowed to “change the way people make their food choices.” This small group of elite, well known restaurateurs and cooks have attacked most food technology and instead embraced all forms of organic farming. Their communiqués (as they call them) stress “promoting organic farming methods is crucial for sustaining the planet.” CC organizes cooperatives to buy produce from local farmers “and then work[s] on bringing them into the organic fold.”

Bashing biotech is only the beginning
CC’s chefs are at the center of a much broader activist campaign pushed by organic food marketers who hope to dramatically increase their market share by instilling fear and uncertainty in consumers about all non-organic foods.

Incoming CC chair Peter Hoffman of the Savoy Restaurant in New York City reveals the depth these activists will go to attack all of modern agriculture. At a recent anti-biotech press conference, Hoffman opposed genetically enhanced “golden rice,” which TIME magazine said “could save a million kids a year.”

He then attacked the Nobel-prize honored “Green Revolution” of the 1960s that improved conventional agriculture around the world. “The ‘Green Revolution’ was a dismal failure. We don’t need it now. We didn’t need it then,” Hoffman said.

Teaching Chefs Organic Politics
The Chefs Collaborative’s influence doesn’t stop at the media’s microphone. CC is currently joining forces with the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the nation’s most well-known cooking school, to conduct two seminars that will showcase anti-biotech issues.

With session topics such as “Chefs as activists,” CIA students will hear one-sided lectures that rail against genetically improved foods, so-called “factory farming,” and a host of specific seafood harvests. The budding chefs will also get to hear politically provocative presentations from CC members Alice Waters, Rick Bayless, and Peter Hoffman.