UPDATE: Food Republic co-founder Marcus Samuelsson featured more details about the summit and photos on his website.
Yesterday, the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2011 New York Green Summit, focused on sustainable eating. The summit, aptly titled “From Farm to Fork,” was divided into “five courses” of different speakers. H.R.H Prince Daniel of Sweden kicked things off with some opening remarks and was later followed by fellow Swedes including Food Republic’s own Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Chef Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken in Sweden.
In his speech, Food Republic co-founder Marcus Samuelsson noted that everyone could contribute to the sustainable movement by “cooking with a spiritual compass.” He also observed that you should always learn from your competitors – even fast food restaurants. While Marcus admitted that keeping up with what food is sustainable and what isn’t is tricky for chefs as well as eaters (since it seems to change daily), but that staying curious and buying locally are steps in the right direction.
Later in the afternoon, Magnus Nilsson spoke about his “strange” 12-seat restaurant in the middle of nowhere Sweden, which he modestly called “kind of popular” — just try getting a reservation and you’ll see what an understatement that is. At Fäviken, quality is key and the 7-person staff spends an astonishing 50% of their working hours sourcing ingredients from the surrounding land for the restaurant. Amidst his comments about sustainable and local eating, Magnus let slip that this famed 12-seat restaurant in fact has 16 seats (we knew it couldn’t be as small as they say!).
Alongside their Swedish counterparts, several New Yorkers gave talks including Tim Zagat, NYU professor Dr. Marion Nestle, and food and travel writer Adam Sachs. Panel topics ranged from “Know your farmer, know your food” to “For the love of Cooking and Eating.”
And in case attendees were in danger of forgetting that the conference was Swedish, they were duly reminded by the gravlax served at lunch and the fact that all speakers received large wooden Dala horses (traditional carved and painted Swedish horses, of course).