This is sorta an open letter … to anyone that will read it but mainly the CBS News staff … which is my response to today’s “The Dish” segment on CBS News Saturday.
Let me preface this with I like this program (hence why I was watching it) and the two hosts, Anthony Mason and Alex Wagner.
“Influenced by his European roots, Wiedmaier is the driving force behind eight Belgian-influenced restaurants in the Washington D.C. area”
With great interest, as a 4th generation family onion farmer about 1 hour north of NYC, I watched this morning’s “The Dish” segment with Chef Robert Wiedmaier. As a farmer I cannot fully grasp this adulation the press frequently has for food preparers. To farmers that produce the food for these places and get a fraction of this retail dollar this adulation and celebration of these people comes across slightly tone deaf to us.
But when Chef Robert Wiedmaier said how the one item on his menu (I’m paraphrasing) “put his children thru private school” I can assure you that the various farmers who grow the food for that item (and the rest on his menu, including and especially the “5 onion soup”) are not sending their children to private school and what they make on those items is such a small percentage they are probably lucky they don’t have to put their kids on the free or reduced lunch price at the public schools they attend (which I have had to do over the years).
I also have a hard time having any sympathy for him when his one establishment had a pipe freeze and burst which flooded it out for a month … try having your entire crop flood out, or get lost to drought or hail like we have had happen. I’m sure he had a healthy insurance policy that quickly went into effect with little or no issue and restored his place and made him whole … versus a federal crop insurance program that is a joke or Administrations, like the past Obama Administration that refused to do ANYTHING within their powers to help us, including forgiving past loans or even lowering the interest rates for USDA Emergency Loans. I met in DC with high level USDA officials and begged for this to be done but it wasn’t … until the following year. You see, our weather disaster should not have happened in a safe “blue” state in an off election year (2011) but should have taken place during a Presidential election year in battleground states which the President had to win and key Senators needed to win to keep their seats.
Check out the links below for many more details on this. Also, if you are ever doing a story on farming please do not hesitate to contact me!
And maybe one day your program can create a similar feature that celebrates the various farms and ranches that grow the food that these various Chefs use to put on their plates. Maybe we can sign, at the end of the segment, some sort of farm implement. I volunteer to be the first farmer featured in one of these segments.