© Bill Milne
Chef Michel Nischan.
One of my favorite parts of my job is chatting with chefs like Michel Nischan, founder of Wholesome Wave and chef at Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut. Nischan will be discussing his commitment to sustainability in the kitchen at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen next week, and he recently shared shared his smart and simple approach to eco-friendly cooking at home:
“I like to cook everything out of one vessel. That way, you’re minimizing dish soap, water and fuel energy—things that have a hidden impact on our environment. A good cast-iron pan is very eco-friendly because it lasts forever and uses heat very efficiently. I start by frying very thinly shaved garlic chips, then sautéing onions and kale. I scoot the kale aside and move the pan half off the heat, and then sear chicken or rabbit on the hot side of the skillet. You can do the same thing with a roasting pan: Roast something and keep adding vegetables and starches at different times throughout the process. That’s how really great cooks cooked a century ago because they only had one cooking vessel. We need to move forward by looking back. It takes longer, but my belief is if you take a little bit longer to get from start to finish, and you’re standing over one pot, smelling the food and watching it develop, it makes you hungrier and you’re more in touch with the dish when it’s finished. That’s what brings true joy to cooking.”