In January of 2007, Marriott announced we would eliminate trans fats from frying oils, French fries, and fried foods prepared in our hotels, which was accomplished in April. Frying oil was the most problematic. We were not willing to sacrifice taste or quality. I like to think the media pressure pushed the large oil manufacturers over the brink, as finally we could land on a specification that delivered a great tasting product, trans fat free, and distributable to our hotels. Much has been written about trans fats and why they are unhealthy, but what are they really and how do they impact cooking and the work we, as culinarians, do?
First and foremost, a small amount of trans fats are naturally occurring in meats and dairy. Stop serving steaks or cheese? I don’t think so. The trans fats we are talking about are those formed in processed foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These oils are typically used in replacement of saturated fats like butter because of their increased shelf life and long thought health benefits of lowered saturated fats. Remember the advertising slogans for margarine and all of the studies attributing butter and eggs as the cause of public concern? “That was then, this is now," say the food police, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are actually harmful (an opinion backed up by the science). At least eggs are good for us again…Ok then, back to using butter? Maybe for some things, but saturated fats are still a topic, and a global movement is underway in the use of olive oil, canola, and other unsaturated fats for pastry, frying, baking, and general cooking. The fact of the matter is that avoiding and eliminating trans fats is relatively simple if you are using fresh, less processed foods in the first place, such as we advocate. Yes, there are things in the global pantry still manufactured with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, but these are being eliminated by people like us who refuse to buy them until they are changed. Can it be done? Absolutely.
What is on the public conscience in 2008? Wellness first comes to mind – wellness of self, wellness of environment. What better way to focus on wellness than through food? Great food, with fresh and pristine ingredients, cooked with a skilled hand and steeped in flavor. We will have a lot to say about wellness in 2008.
What’s on your plate today?
I think its about time they ban those fats, but i will also say this, the other fats are NOT dangerous for the hart that is a myth from a science dude from the 50s, carbs from white bread, white rice and nudels those are not good.