An Interview with Jim Weaver, chef and author of Locavore Adventures
I met Jim Weaver in the summer of 2010 at the New Jersey Food and Wine Festival. Over time, I have watched him use inspiration from ingredients to create signature recipes, and learnt more about his leadership with the Slow Food movement in Central NJ. Recently, Jim authored “Locavore Adventures”, where Jim shares his journey as a Slow Food advocate. As the founder of Slow Food Central New Jersey, Jim connected local farmers, chefs, and purveyors in order to form a community that could source locally in New Jersey. Jim agreed to offer me an interview in conjunction with his book release. Chef Jim Weaver will be signing copies of his book on February 19th,2012 at the Slow Food winter farmers market to be held at Tre Piani Restaurant, 120 Rockingham Row, Princeton, New Jersey between 11am-3pm. [caption id="attachment_809" align="alignleft" width="194" caption="Jim Weaver:  Facebook profile picture"]Jim Weaver picture from his facebook[/caption] Jim Weaver is a New Jersey native and the executive chef and owner of Tre Piani Restaurant, Tre Bar and Tre Catering in based in Princeton New Jersey. He attended New Hampshire College for Hotel Restaurant Management and has trained in Italy and the Caribbean. He has won several awards and accolades and received stellar reviews from media in New Jersey and New York. Jim also has served on the board of directors for The New Jersey Restaurant Association, is the Restaurant Liaison for the Governors Counsel on NJ Tourism, and is the President of Slow Food Central New Jersey. Here is HerbNZest's interview with Jim. [caption id="attachment_812" align="alignright" width="211" caption="Locavore Adventures Book Cover"]Locavore Adventures Book Cover[/caption] HerbNZest: Buying local is a trend right now for several reasons: nutrients, control over food supply, fresh ingredients, getting to know and supporting your community farmer. But you have been going local much before it was cool to be local: What prompted you to go local when you did? Jim: I think that Americans try too hard to be trendy rather than real. I never go for trends but intend to start them! In order to be a better chef and serve better meals it is one of my greatest responsibilities to buy the best food that I can to begin with. It makes the cooking easier as well. All of the great cuisines of the world use ingredients that they have locally and in season and they have been for many centuries. That is an awfully long trend! HerbNZest: Why did you decide to write this book and why now? Jim: I always wanted to write a book as I enjoy writing as another creative outlet. In this case, it was because Rutgers University Press asked me to. That was an opportunity I could not pass up and I am grateful to them. HerbNZest: Who is the target audience for this book? What would you want them to take away from this book? Jim: Of course the greater NJ, NYC, Philly and Hudson Valley areas are the primary target, although the stories are such that they translate pretty much everywhere.  I want people to understand more about the reality of what goes on in the food world and that what they see in food/restaurant commercials and ads is usually a lie. An educated consumer is my customer. HerbNZest: How can one maximize his/her locavore experience? Jim: Take the time to understand and learn about what you eat. I think too many people are more aware of the fuel for their cars rather that their bodies. Eat foods in season whenever possible and appreciate the freshness and flavors. HerbNZest: Do you think that this phase of renewed consumer interest in eating local, fresh, and farm-raised is here to stay? Jim:  It has to be. The system that is in place now, especially in the United States is unsustainable. HerbNZest: What is your advice for generation Y (the more globally oriented, fast paced, well-traveled, and tech-savvy generation) on how to incorporate slow food into their lives? Jim:  The technology should make it easier for them to find quality food and meals. Never go to restaurants with pictures of food on the menus. Take one day of the week and turn off the phone and enjoy conversation at the table with friends and family. HerbNZest: Any other point that you would like to share? Jim:  Little changes make big differences. It is not all or nothing when it comes to living the Slow Food style. Even spending another 5% of your food dollars on local food makes a huge difference. Also share your new food ideas with others so they too will reap the benefits. Jim’s favorite quotations from the book “We’re all connected spirits” “To appreciate the Slow Food philosophy, you’ve got to start thinking outside the (plastic) box. You know the one -- the box that cradled that soggy and forgettable fast food lunch?” “Most people have become so conditioned to processed foods that it’s hard to get past that comfort level. If  you’re strapped into a conventional way of thinking, it’s easy to throw a hunk of emulsified cheese or packaged hamburger into the grocery cart, or feel pretty self-satisfied with an after-dinner verdict of ”Well, that tasted pretty good.” Locavore Adventures is available for purchase at www.amazon.com for a list price of $22.95. The author of this article is Deboleena Dutta, an avid foodie, blogger, and founder of HerbNZest artisan foods at http://herbnzest.com. Learn about featured experts, tips, and recipes on Twitter: @HerbNZest and Facebook: HerbNZest.

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