Anti-fracking letters from more than 150 prominent New York chefs -- including Mario Batali -- were delivered to the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The chefs and other food professionals, in collaboration with Chefs for The Marcellus, have come out in opposition to Cuomo's consideration to open lands in upstate New York to fracking. Chefs, culinary professionals, and wine-makers alike, feel the dangers to the land and water from fracking greatly outweigh the benefits.
"As a chef who uses natural gas every day to cook food for my patrons, I'm fired up about making sure that drilling for that gas isn't causing permanent damage to the water supply," wrote Chef Peter Hoffman.
As I outlined in my article here on Huffington Post in July 2012, many New York chefs have taken this threat to heart, become vocal on the topic, and now, have delivered letters urging Cuomo not to open fragile farm and vineyard lands to fracking, citing threats that extend beyond the kitchen.
NYC chef Bill Telepan urged, "This goes beyond affecting chefs, it could have a huge impact on those who live in upstate New York. The drinking water, and the land, and the food upstate will be affected -- and then all of us will be affected."
PRINT Executive Pastry Chef Heather Carlucci wrote:
We are at a crucial time in New York State history where we must take responsibility as business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals to support those that feel they've no choice but to lease. We are late in changing how we've treated farmers but not late to take a stand and let our governor know that the way the drilling companies treat our land, air and water is not good enough for us. We are ready to stand behind agricultural businesses and invest in our future.
Chef Mary Cleaver, known for being a champion of sustainability, added:
Governor Cuomo must ban fracking in New York. It is imperative that we protect our non-renewable natural resources and shift our focus to renewable energy sources. Many chefs are dependent on natural gas, but it can't be at the expense of our food and watershed.
Other prominent chefs taking a stand against fracking include Elizabeth Falkner, Gramercy Tavern's Michael Anthony, Chopped judges Maneet Chauhan and Amanda Freitag, Michael Laiskonis, Anita Lo, and Aldea's George Mendez.
The chefs and other food professionals working with Chefs for the Marcellus urge the people of New York to contact Governor Cuomo's office, to call or write a letter, coming out against fracking.
About the power of writing letters to Governor Cuomo, Will Blunt, managing editor of StarChefs.com, wrote:
Fracking is an existential threat to chefs whose businesses (and employees) rely upon the health of the New York State food system -- and these letters are an unmistakable statement to Governor Cuomo about where the chef community stands on fracking.
Regina Varolli is the author of "99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Going To Culinary School," endorsed by Bobby Flay, Johnny Iuzzini and many others as a "must-read" before even considering going to culinary school.