How are livestock animals raised? What are they fed? How are they processed? What is the impact on the environment and surrounding communities? What are the ethics of eating meat?
The Annual Slow Meat conference, held this year in Denver, Colorado on June 4-6, brought together producers, butchers, thought leaders and eaters of every ethos to address the conundrum of industrial animal husbandry and to celebrate the alternatives. Each year, the diverse attendees join together to take a hard look at the current state of meat and seek solutions to the problems of the industrial system. It’s part conversation, part celebration.
Joining this year’s conversation were Slow Food San Diego delegates Jaime Fritsch and Drew Deckman.
Fritsch came to San Diego from Portland, Oregon in 2014 after spending his time in the Pacific Northwest living in an old homestead farmhouse, traveling to shoot commercial photos and contemplating the state of food issues surrounding his locale. Inspired by the local food movement and drawn to tough questions about what it means to be a conscious omnivore, Fritsch formed alliances with meat producers and storytellers up and down the west coast – Sean Kelley of the San-Diego based art curation group Set & Drift; Camas Davis of the Portland Meat Collective; Michael McGuan of the former Linkery; food writer and TV personality, Troy Johnson; and chef Javier Plascencia of Finca Altozano in Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada. Together they created Death for Food, an experiential exhibition that examines questions about the process of humanely bringing meat to the table.
Death for Food raises tough questions about the “right” way to harvest animals for consumption. One answer to these questions is Fritsch’s new collaborative project, MEAT San Diego. This meat collective is a group of people that organize themselves to learn about and take ownership of their roles in procuring, raising, butchering, preserving and preparing meat. By coming together as a community that supports good food values, collective members can take classes to learn about animal husbandry, humane slaughter, whole animal butchery, charcuterie, cooking, and more. Members can access local, humanely raised meat animals at a fair price that supports both them and the farmer. MEAT San Diego poses an answer to a regional logistical problem in San Diego (a three-million person metro area with no USDA slaughterhouse within hundreds of miles): how do San Diegans get the best local meat on their dinner tables? Stay tuned as the collective grows in the coming months and years ahead.
After growing up in Peachtree City, GA and earning a degree at Rhodes College, Drew Deckman followed his passion with a ten-year culinary journey to France, Switzerland and Germany. Drew cooked with “gastro masters” such as Paul Bocuse, Jacques Maximin, Gilles DuPont and Tommy Byrne, and was awarded a coveted Michelin Star for his work in Restaurant Vitus in Germany as well as Rising-Star Chef of the Year in Berlin in 2003 during his tenure as Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Berlin (17pts Gault Millau). Back in the states, after mentoring under star-teacher and cookbook author Madeleine Kamman, Drew became a part of the final class of the School for American Chefs at Beringer Vineyards in Napa Valley, California. He has since then worked in Kona, Hawaii, Cancun, Rome, Shanghai, and in Los Angeles, where he was an entertainer’s private chef.
These rich experiences and Drew’s desire to create and serve Mexican-influenced haute cuisine “drew” him to the rich shores of San Jose del Cabo as the owner and chef of Deckman’s in San Jose, and now to the Guadalupe Valley where in 2012 Deckman’s en El Mogor was born. This al fresco organic restaurant is nestled amid the Mogor Badan Winery in the Guadalupe Valley in Northern Baja California. Drew remains dedicated to the local, sustainable ingredients in the food he sources and prepares at his restaurant, sourcing much of it from the Mogor Badan farm. He is Regional Governor for Slow Food International in Baja California and Brand Ambassador for SmartFishAC a sustainable fisheries NGO.
We are excited to hear what our delegates bring back from Slow Meat 2015! Be sure to join us at Slow Sips on June 17 from 6-8 at Carnitas Snack Shack, featuring Jaime Fritsch as our special guest and a future seafood event with Chef Drew.