greetings! and welcome to my new blog, michael tuohy's "frontburner," all about food.
i have spent more than 30 years in the restaurant business and have always wanted to be known for serving great food. the restaurant business is a vast and diverse industry that comes in all shapes, sizes, styles, concepts and price categories. there really is no "one size fits all!"
the longer that i am in the restaurant business, i have come to realize what really drives me and has always driven me is my love of food. in the last decade, i have become increasingly aware of and concerned about where my food comes from, how it is produced and how it is cared for.
i have always had a mindset of cooking with the seasons. being a native san franciscan and cutting my culinary teeth there in the late 1970's and early 1980's, it was hard not to be aware of this sensibility. i was very fortunate to witness and to some degree, participate in what has become known as the "california culinary revolution."
i left my heart in san francisco (yes san francisco!) in 1986 and moved to a place called atlanta to open a restaurant called chefs' cafe. some of you remember this place. there was not much good food in restaurants in atlanta to be found back then. there was no eye on or attention paid to "fresh seasonal" cooking. at chefs' cafe, we changed our menus every eight weeks to attempt to cook with the seasons. we were perhaps the first restaurant at the time in atlanta to adopt this "california ethos." we introduced things like local farm lettuces - thank goodness for clay and lucy calhoun of ashland farm for growing them a mere 45 minutes from the restaurant. we used things like sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, extra virgin olive oil, polenta and couscous. all things that were not easily attained at the time but are now commonplace and found in every grocery store near you. i believe we we were even the first place to serve cafe latte and a cappuccino without whipped cream! that was a good 10 years before the first starbucks came to town.
since then, i have opened other restaurants, consulted and worked for others, before opening my own restaurant, woodfire grill, in 2002. ultimately, i felt that i had to open my own restaurant in order to be able to cook the kind of food i believed in. food that is responsibly produced, local whenever possible, artisanal, and authentic. today, more than five years later, woodfire has become known both locally and nationally as a leader and strong proponent of the sustainable food movement.
in my 20-plus years in atlanta, i have been fortunate to help foster and maintain a strong and meaningful relationship with a network of farmers and producers of spectacular local foods. from day one, woodfire has supported this effort and continues to do so. today, atlanta has a number of local farmer's markets, csa's and a growing awareness of consumers willing to support this effort. it is more important today than ever before for you to be aware of your food source. to support the small community farms, markets and restaurants that work hard day in and day out to provide the very best that they can produce for your enjoyment and nourishment. the slow food movement that started in italy in 1986 by carlo petrini has become a guiding light for me as it stands for preserving traditions of artisan producers, community and respect for foods produced in a good, clean and fair way.
having said all of this, you may gather that i have always had passion for food. this only continues to grow as i see greater and greater interest from you, the media and all of those that i am surrounded by on a daily basis. my hope is that you will find this site a "go to" resource for information about food and all the issues related to it. it will include opinion, links to other forms of media, websites, magazines, newspapers, producers, photos of products, places, and occasional recipes. i look forward to this journey together!