2. Use of organic ingredients
The quality of ingredients strongly influences the outcome of the dishes. That’s one of the reasons why I stick to organic ingredients.
However, it is true that in the middle of the winter when much of the produce is shipped from California or elsewhere, not many organic fruits and vegetables are available in their freshest state at a reasonable price. Therefore, although it is very rare that I do not use organic fruits/vegetables, when I am in a pinch to go with conventional, I refer to “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean 15,” both of which are lists compiled every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “The Dirty Dozen” indicates top 12 foods most likely to have high pesticide residues. All produce on “The Clean 15” is said to bore little to no traces of pesticides, and is “safe to consume in non-organic form.” According to EWG, you can reduce your exposure to pesticides by as much as 80% if you avoiding the most contaminated foods in the grocery store.
Here is a very cute cheat sheet that you can take along with you when you go grocery shopping.
In addition to produce and other ingredients, I also carefully select the seasonings, most of which are organic. I make sure miso and shoyu are made in a traditional manner (i.e. without added chemicals to mock the flavor), salt is unrefined, olive oil is extra virgin… I can get into more detail but I think I’ve made my point across.
I do not give my customers anything that I would not want my friends and family to have. Period. It’s that simple.