D.C. Simmers Over Washington Post Op-Ed About City's Food Scene | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

D.C. Simmers Over Washington Post Op-Ed About City's Food Scene

Play associated audio
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/8717450811/

A culinary controversy has been simmering in Washington, D.C., ever since an article appeared in last week's Washington Post titled, "What's missing from D.C.'s food scene? A lot. " It was penned by Mark Furstenberg: a baker, chef and the former owner of Marvelous Market and Remarkable Breads.

"I think I feel slightly more hopeful than the article that appeared reflected, but I'm very critical of the food scene," he says.

The way Furstenberg sees it, D.C., lacks what he calls a "discernible food culture": "People who care deeply about food and who come to Washington or grow up here, learning about a food tradition that is geographically native to us, as well as culturally native to us."

Furstenberg's comments got many in the local food scene pretty steamed up, including Jessica Sidman, food editor for Washington City Paper. She says Furstenberg isn't giving local diners enough credit.

"The people who live in Washington come from all over the world," Sidman says. "They come from those supposedly superior cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. They know good food, and they're going to judge the new restaurants just as harshly as the old ones."

She also says Furstenberg dismissed a major part of D.C.'s culinary culture: the burgeoning craft beer and mixology scene. Which, says Derek Brown (who owns The Passenger, Columbia Room, and his newest spot, Mockingbird Hill, isn't all that "burgeoning."

"The Ricky was invented here in the 1880s," Brown says. "I mean, what other kind of tradition do you want? I invite Mark Furstenberg to come let me make him a Ricky so he can shut up about all of this no local tradition stuff."

Mark Furstenberg says he's aware of the food-based furor he sparked; in fact, that was the idea. He wants to get people talking about Washington's food scene.

"I'd like people, particularly young people, to notice much more acutely what they eat," he says. "I'd also like people to object to prices and object to pretention. I'd like to have restaurants that don't take reservations called to account for that."

We're curious: Do you think D.C.'s food scene has come a long way? Or does it still have a way to go? email us or send us a Tweet, and let us know!


[Music: "Hey Good Lookin" by The Nashville Valley Boys from Country Piano & Guitar Favorites]

NPR

How'd A Cartoonist Sell His First Drawing? It Only Took 610 Tries

Tom Toro was a directionless 20-something film school dropout. Then, after an inspired moment at a used book sale, he started submitting drawings to The New Yorker ... and collecting rejection slips.
NPR

Will Environmentalists Fall For Faux Fish Made From Plants?

A handful of chefs and food companies are experimenting with fish-like alternatives to seafood. But the market is still a few steps behind plant-based products for meat and dairy.
NPR

Will We See Veto Battles On Capitol Hill?

With President Obama promising to vetoes, what are the possibilities of a few veto overrides during the next two years? NPR's Arun Rath puts that questions to the National Journal's Fawn Johnson.
NPR

3 Voices, 1 Threat: Personal Stories Of Cyberhacking

In President Obama's State of the Union address, he gave fresh emphasis to a problem that has been in the headlines: cybersecurity. Here are three people who have experienced security breaches.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.