Simran Sethi Comes to the James Beard Foundation Food Conference with News: The Messenger May Just Be the Message

By on October 15, 2012

Simran Sethi is the Giada DeLaurentis of the Environmental Movement.

Simran Sethi is the Giada De Laurentis of the environmental movement.  Drop dead gorgeous, the daughter of scientists – her father is a PhD MD cancer researcher, and her mother is a botanist. Simran is an Indian Hindu, born in Germany, who immigrated with her parents to the U.S. and is a citizen of this world, and no doubt the next.

Simran has always been “green”.  Her mother admonished her as a child not to pull the leaves off the trees, because it hurt the tree.  When she visited India with her parents as a kid, she was introduced to a world where the electricity routinely went out, where people boiled the water, and where they always knew pollution existed and that one shouldn’t waste food.

When it comes to explaining urgent issues regarding the environment,  Simran Sethi has been called an eco-hero of the planet by the UK’s Independent and lauded as the environmental messenger by Vanity Fair.

Simran Sethi walks the walk and talks the talk.  She is a gadfly on a mission to save the world at the very last minute.  She thinks about these things night and day, and comes to the world of food professionals to help everyone get on board with environmental messages we might just be giving lip service to now.

Simran Sethi delivers a Ted Lecture. check it out.

The James Beard Foundation Food Conference 2012 whose overriding theme for 2012 is “A Crisis in Confidence: Creating a Better, More Sustainable Food World We Can Trust” welcomes a seasoned advocate and environmental journalist in Ms. Sethi.

As a person who holds one James Beard award with two more nominations,  I feel I can speak freely, here, among friends.

As you might suspect, the program is leaden with gobbledygook.  For example,  Simran’s presentation is billed as “Trust in Identity”.  Whatever in the world that might mean, no one could be expected to guess.

Can it be true that cooks can’t think and write?  I don’t believe this is true, but the bloviated James Beard Foundation Conference Program trips over its own platitudes trying to sound more important than it obviously believes it actually is.

Tackling issues of sustainable food we can trust is the most serious task the foundation has ever mounted and we can just hope they achieve some of their lofty goals for this conference. But lets hear it for some plain language folks.  Don’t give us a 14 course tasting menu when a well made stew would satisfy.

So never fear, Simran will help those who attend her presentation, because Simran gets it.  As do many members of the James Beard Foundation.  Just not the poor jargon-freighted writers  who composed the program.

Because, as we all know, everybody eats, every day, if they’re lucky, and nothing is more fundamental or important than the provision of food for the table.  Nothing.

As a writer told me years ago, when you’re describing a society, don’t talk to me about the Generals or the Wars.  Tell me the price of eggs.

Simran Sethi will help you to understand the real price of eggs in our world.

Ms. Sethi won the bronze Axiom Award for the Best Business Ethics Book in 2008. Because here again, she gets it.  Business is the world and if we’re going to survive, we’d better make our economy green.

I personally expect to be sitting on the front row October 17, at the 2012 James Beard Foundation Food Conference presentation by Ms. Sethi.

Look online here:   and sign up.  It’s open to the public and you should go, too.



About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”