Celebrity chefs implore next generation to change the world

In a direct, ambitious appeal to the next generation, some of the world's gastronomic luminaries have penned an open letter calling on the "chefs of tomorrow" to blaze a trail that goes beyond simple cookery and change the way the world eats.

The jointly penned letter was written by celebrity chefs Ferran Adria, Rene Redzepi, Dan Barber and Michel Bras who make up an international advisory board that calls itself the G9, part of Adria's Basque Culinary Center.

The letter, signed at the Mistura Gastronomic Festival in Peru September 10, serves as a sworn oath for trainees that asks chefs around the world to harness the power they wield over the general public and become changemakers.

"Cooking is a powerful, transformative tool that, through the joint effort of co-producers -- whether we be chefs, producers or eaters -- can change the way the world nourishes itself," the letter reads.

Indeed, at no other time in history has gastronomy become such an all pervasive interest, cutting a swath across the upper echelons of high society and budget-minded middle class home cooks. With 24-hour cooking channels broadcasting all day and celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver embarking on revolutionary coups d'etat to transform the eating habits of whole countries, chefs have become swashbuckling figures for the average consumer.

In the open letter, young chefs are urged to use that power for culinary good by adopting tenets like cooking sustainably, respecting ingredients, preserving and passing on their culinary heritage, and supporting local artisans and their regional economy.

"We practice a profession that has the power to affect the socio-economic development of others," wrote the G9. "We can have a significant economic impact by encouraging the exportation of our own culinary culture...At the same time, by collaborating with local producers and employing fair economic practices, we can generate sustainable local wealth and financially strengthen our communities."

It's the same idea that ran through Redzepi's MAD FoodCamp in Copenhagen last month, a festival that paid tribute to the humble plant kingdom. In a column published in The Guardian before the event, Redzepi reminds his culinary confreres that they have a "new opportunity -- and perhaps even an obligation --" to the public.

To read the full letter, visit http://lima2011.bculinary.com/en.

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