The best ingredients require some searching, but you’ll be glad you did.
As a chef I firmly believe that the quality of your cooking is directly related to the quality of your ingredients. It just makes sense, and that’s why I cook and eat “clean.”
Clean eating starts by choosing fruits and vegetables that are fresh, organically grown and seasonal. My meat and eggs are also organic and sustainably raised without hormones or antibiotics. You can find these high quality ingredients at a Whole Foods market or the organic section of your local grocery store, but the very best clean ingredients will require you to search a bit farther afield.
I like farmers’ markets, where I can browse the stands for inspiration and talk with passionate growers and producers. I’ve found heirloom tomatoes with unbelievable flavor, a bounty of seasonal vegetables and, this time of year, more varieties of squash than you can imagine. At the market, I’ve gotten to know many of the farmers, who love their work and inspire me in mine. The meats and eggs are equally fresh and by developing a relationship with the producers, I know they’re humanely raised and fed a nutritious, organic diet.
That personal connection informs my approach when I start planning a meal, and when I cook, these fresh, wholesome ingredients shine and never need a heavy hand with seasoning. They are the stars of the dish.
If you aren’t in the habit of shopping at your local farmers’ market, I encourage you to make it your practice. Your cooking will sing with flavor, and your body will thank you for eating clean.
Wondering where to start? Check out these handy apps to help you find the closest fresh food market no matter where you are.