Chefs working in 2017 have begun to reject the "farm to table" label, sensing it has been co-opted by chains and big box stores.

At the Cap Times Idea Fest, we asked a panel of chefs to look back at what the term used to mean — sourcing produce and protein from carefully managed, nearby farms. Then we looked forward, to see where "farm to table" in Wisconsin is headed next.

We asked the panelists: For the food movement to succeed, must we dismantle the industrial food system or learn to work within it? The discussion ranged from the disappearance of small farms to the increasing variety of produce available to chefs, and even to the breeding of seeds for less watery tomatoes and disease-resistant squash. 

The podcast version of the panel has been edited for length. Appearing on the panel were:

  • Justin Carlisle, chef/owner of Ardent, Red Light Ramen and Laughing Taco, a three-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Midwest
  • Ellen Ritter, executive chef at UW Health
  • Paul Short, culinary program director at Madison College
  • Tory Miller, chef/owner of L'Etoile, Graze, Sujeo and Estrellon (the Deja Food Group)

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