Anthony Fassio is both the chair of Slow Food NYC and the CEO of the health- and sustainability-focused culinary arts school Natural Gourmet Institute. So you’d never guess that some of the food-industry facts he cites he learned firsthand, early in his career, when he worked for for Pepsi and Frito-Lay. That was before doing a 180 and leaving to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
His time in the fast-food lane helped shape his current slow food philosophy, he says. “Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown is number one in my book,” Fassio explains. Then, it’s important to consider what best serves your body. “Everyone’s dietary requirements are different, and it’s important to be respectful of your personal needs,” he adds. (Just FYI: He’s not talking about the personal need for wine and cheese.)
Learn what this food savant is making at home, why he’s carbonating his own soda, and how he maximizes every farmer’s market veggie down to the stalks with this peek in his fridge… —Jamie McKillop
As an healthy eating educator, what’s an easy dish you teach people to make that you also make at home? At Natural Gourmet Institute we tell people to head to their nearest farmers market and pick up three different colored vegetables. In a large pan, sauté the vegetables with miso. Mix with precooked grains and top with pickled vegetables. It’s simple, health-supportive and delicious.
More people do seem to be carbonating at home! I spy Siggi’s yogurt. Is that your brand of choice? Siggi’s knows where—and how—every cow lives. They are all grass-fed, hormone-free, and local. The fact that they can confidently source their milk with full transparency wins me over.
So you have to be cooking something. Those mushrooms on the middle shelf look amazing. What do you use them for? I use mushrooms as a meat-substitute for stir-fry, stews, or toppers for sandwiches. Oyster, chanterelles, and maitake are the best. Enoki are good too.
Grilled mushrooms totally have that same smokey flavor as red meat. What about all of the gorgeous green veggies? How do you prepare them? I just eat them. I eat them raw on a sandwich, sautéed, steamed, baked, or stewed. I eat them all the time, any way I can. Give me a dish, and I will throw a green veggie in.
You left out pickled! I spy pickled vegetables on the top right. What do you eat them with? Pretty much anything. Balancing flavor on the plate and in a dish is important to delicious food. I find pickled vegetables a fresh way to add acidity to a meal.
Your food looks so beautiful, but a lot of people find that organic veggies are too expensive. Do you have a work-around for this? I shop at the farmers market so I can buy the whole vegetable. Then I use every bit of it. My current favorite is kale. I use the leaves in my morning scrambled eggs and the stalks as pesto for that night’s dinner. Fennel, carrots, or beets bought at the farmers market almost always come with stalk and frond, or leaf, attached. It think it’s much better to be utilized on my plate than discarded. —Jamie McKillop