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Eating as a Political Act (Manger est un acte citoyen)

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Original Language: French | 224 pp. | March 2017

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, Nordic and English (US & Canada) rights.

ENVIRONMENT | WELL-BEING

The multi-starred chef urges us to place gastronomy at the heart of a debate, both political and philosophical, which concerns us all. Making an informed choice about what we put on our plates will help us to achieve an appropriate balance and a sense of well-being, both individually and collectively. Because feeding ourselves well contributes to feeding the world.

Alain Ducasse’s starting point is the individual: henceforward, our quality of life will never again be ‘handed to us on a plate’. It can only be achieved through individuals becoming aware of their own responsibilities. Whoever we are, by choosing to eat one particular food instead of another, we can, at an individual level, become more independent, improve our health and take power back for ourselves. But Eating As A Political Act is also about becoming aware of our collective responsibilities: we can all become active participants in promoting human health.

In this very personal book, the world famous chef revisits for the first time, the plane accident which he was in when he was 27, and of which he was the only survivor. He describes how this experience radically altered the course of his existence, what it taught him about life and how it inspired a crusade. This is a man who drew strength from his injuries in order to wage a dedicated battle on a daily basis through cooking and through teaching others what cooking is.

However this book is not just a personal journey, it is a political manifesto: we have to completely relearn how to feed the world. The system of consumption, which was originally supposed to liberate individuals, has literally enslaved them. Agriculture is not designed to be productive, but rather to feed people. And yet today, agriculture destroys more than it produces. The net result: 27,000 hectares of land become sterile in the world every year. But rather than simply criticising, Ducasse puts forward concrete solutions.