It's hard to track down both sides of the full story, but the buzz is the Hollywood Farmers Market under threat. On Twitter today, Los Angeles epicurean Lesley Balla posted a picture of a sign from this morning's market stating this is the last Sunday the market has its street-closure permit. According to blogging.la, disgruntled folks from the L.A. Film School have complained about the weekly street closure blocking parking access. Petition signing now closed, but there will be a meeting Monday at 2 p.m. at The Farmer's Kitchen.
The federal government may get greater control over what we eat if a new version of a food-safety bill is passed by the House of Representatives. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which was passed by the Senate in a 73 to 25 vote, would increase government oversight in the wake of several high-profile food recalls. According to legislative tracking tool GovTrack, if passed, the act would require food producers to develop a written analysis of foreseeable hazards and preventative controls, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services would enhance tracking and tracing methods.
The item that has big-government opponents in a kerfuffle is that it would give the FDA the authority to recall tainted items. Currently, recall authority lies in the hands of the food producer and is done on a voluntary basis.
The other big discussion is where small farms fall in the spectrum. After debate over whether such regulatory hurdles would cripple small farms, the current bill provides certain exemptions for farms that earn less than $500,000. However, both the Miami Herald and The New York Times point out that small farms have just as much culpability when food recalls lead to large-scale health scares. In 2006, a recall of E. coli-tainted bagged spinach was traced back to a Salinas, California-based company.
This Week in Food TV
Top Chef is back! Top Chef is back! If there's one thing I love more than cooking competitions, it's seeing overinflated egos collapse under the stress of battle. In this all-star edition, it's not easy to discern whose ego reigns supreme, but few viewers who watched season two seem upset by the early ousting of Elia Aboumrad. Well, Elia herself is a little bitter, and a lot humiliated, as evidenced by her recent Chicago Tribune interview where she eviscerates judge Tom Colicchio and stands by her steamed fish dish. No reports on whether this setback will affect the opening of her French restaurant, Avec Moi, set to open in West Hollywood 2011.
Resource of the Week
The New York Times podcast, Times Talks, is on a foodie kick featuring interviews with Paula Deen, Alton Brown, and all-star edition with Frank Bruni moderating a panel with Jean Georges Vongerichten, Daniel Boulud and Michael White.
While Oregon is making its name in the truffle industry, Californians can remain in-state to enjoy these earthy gems. The inaugural Napa Truffle Festival will run December 10-12, featuring cultivating seminars, cooking and pairing classes, a truffle orchard tour, and an epicurean marketplace. The highlight of the event is the the Michelin Star Truffle Dinner, featuring chefs such as Josiah Citrin of Mélisse in Santa Monica, David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos, and Nancy Oakes of San Francisco's Boulevard.