3-Minute Interview: Staffan Terje

The owner and chef of the restaurant Perbacco is taking part in this weekend’s Slow Food Nation celebration in San Francisco.

What is slow food? It’s the opposite of fast food — not only fast food as in eating, but fast-produced. It’s handcrafted food. It’s from food that’s grown with care and from animals that are raised with care.

What’s wrong with fast food? It tears at the social fabric. Fast food makes it convenient so we can run out and do all these fun artificial things that companies have invented for us to do, rather than sit around the table and eat some good food, and drink some good wine and live life the way it should be.

When did you become interested in slow food? I’ve been cooking for a little bit over 30 years and I grew up on a farm. I’ve been involved with the food chain for a long time, so when the slow-food movement started, it got me very interested in the big picture of where food production was going.

Where did the slow-food movement start? In Italy, in the ’80s. It came to California shortly after it was incepted and it’s been a grass-roots organization that has taken time. It’s fairly strong in the Bay Area.

How can people join the movement? Support local farmers and producers — go to the farmers market, cook at home and invite friends. People used to go to markets — it wasn’t only to procure what they needed, but it was also to meet people in the neighborhood, and that still exists.

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“Minimizing my impact on the planet is something I’ve been working on since I was, like, 13 years old.”