Good food needs to be accessible. And access shouldn’t be based on income. We don’t need $7 per pound heirloom tomatoes. What we need is a food system that gives everyone access to clean, beautifully grown ingredients.

Chef Daniel Asher says the time has come for chefs to embrace eco-conscious cooking. “As our food system has become more industrialized, we’ve lost the integrity of ingredients, the beautiful intricacies of unique artisans who produce our food, and the romance of small family farms.” 

Daniel AsherChef / Co-Owner: River and WoodsBoulder, ColoradoPolitical Soapbox: Food justice for all.What’s Lost: The romance of small family farms.Eco-Conscious Cooking: My cooking philosophy is deeply rooted in knowing where everything comes from.Constant Evolution: I’ve never had a single day duplicate itself. Community-Sourced Cuisine: Recipes shared by diners may be featured on the menu.

Food Priorities: 

I care less about the cost per pound and more about the human cost of the equation. I want to know where the food came from, who grew it, what their lives are like—then I look at how it fits into the menu. Guests are more receptive now to what it costs to serve good food. A dollar-value burger is very different than a pasture-raised bison burger, and people are willing to pay for real food.

It Takes a Village:

The small farmers, the growers, and the food artisans keep pushing me forward. I don’t need to make pickles in my kitchen. I’d rather support a local producer whose passion is to make amazing artisanal pickles. I’d rather put his pickles on the menu. Food is a collective experience … it’s putting together a collaboration of many amazing people. 

Hospitality is Humbling:

I love the humility that goes into cooking food for strangers. It’s a life of service—working long hours, in hot kitchens and tight spaces, with conflicting personalities—and finding your Zen in the middle of what a kitchen actually is. It’s the perfect expression of the human condition … and that’s just in the back of the house. It becomes the collective consciousness of everyone who makes up the restaurant experience, and that has to be humble. 

Communal Dining:

Feeding people is not just the physical act of giving someone food; it’s about filling people on a spiritual and energetic level. It’s an opportunity to [replenish] someone who is craving some form of connection. The greatest beauty of working in restaurants is that connection, that feeling of community. 

Chef Profiles, Feature