Aarón Sánchez, award-winning chef, TV personality, and philanthropist, discusses the importance of safe supply chains and how tech is transforming food.
As a chef, how important is it to know your supply chain?
It’s everything. Having fresh, healthy ingredients that we are using and serving to our guests is paramount. Ensuring that food is safe and clean is the first step in making sure that you are starting with the best foundation possible. I’ve been working with IBM’s Food Trust and learning more about how utilizing blockchain technology really ensures a more sustainable and safe supply chain. It’s been really amazing to see the positive effects of technology and sharing information.
How does seasonality play a role in your cooking?
It’s a big part of how we create menus and specials at the restaurant; using seasonal vegetables is so crucial to creating meaningful food. We used to always just go to the Union Square farmers market back in the day, see what they had, and plan our menus that way. That’s the way menus are meant to be created: use what’s fresh, local, and in-season, then you can get creative with that.
How do you see technology changing and challenging the future of food?
Again, that’s where I think IBM really has its finger on the pulse of what’s needed in the industry. What they are doing with their Food Trust is inspiring. Being able to track your food and know where it specifically comes from is so crucial. And it’s not just that; it’s also being able to get that information in a fast and secure way that really is a game-changer. With our food supply chain being as global as it is, it’s critical that we have reliable information readily available.
Why do you think consumers today want to be just as knowledgeable as industry professionals when it comes to food safety?
With the internet, we have access to so much information, so this desire for more information about your food doesn’t come as a surprise at all. It’s very understandable and justified; you should know where your food comes from and what you are putting in your body. It only creates a more informed customer, which is always very welcome. It also helps us chefs up our game and make sure we know all the details about all of our ingredients, the seasonality, and all of that when people ask for more information.