Knowledge Base > Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

This event was on Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Eric Wynkoop in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to Ask Anything – from cooking techniques to co… Read More.



What are your thoughts on the heritage breeds in Pork, Poultry and Beef and educating the public on these breeds and promoting them?

— Philip Konicky


My quick answer would be that, uh, yes, yes, yes, yes. I'm a fan of all these things. Um, it, it, uh, you know, the, this idea of, of heirloom food or, or in, in the case of livestock, we often use the term heritage, heritage breeds, um, uh, in, in, in terms of what that is. Um, let me share a couple of thoughts, uh, for the audience. And, you know, one is that, um, you know, heritage breeds of, of livestock, and, and, and probably heirloom produce as well, um, is gonna, uh, go back to foods. And these are generally foods that we're talking about. So even though they're, these are animals, they can be pets, but, uh, we'll talk about them in the context of, of food and cooking, uh, from a culinary perspective. Uh, these are, um, uh, items that were available, uh, up until, uh, or I should say readily available up until about, uh, the end of World War ii, right? About that timeframe. So the middle of, um, the last century. And so, in other words, it would've been the generations prior to that, you know, going into the, the 18 hundreds, 17 hundreds, and, you know, even earlier, uh, when people were, uh, doing the breeding, um, and, um, uh, identifying traits or characteristics, um, that they, that they wanted to promote, right? In certain breeds. And, uh, so the idea was that folks would breed animals, um, that, uh, were most suited to the local environment. And, uh, so, you know, what, what characterize, you know, these animals are gonna be, um, perhaps longevity, uh, if that was important to folks, uh, you know, it, it is gonna be, uh, again, adaptability to local, uh, climate, uh, local, uh, geography and topography. Um, you know, and, um, and, and, uh, so we've had, you know, such a, a great variety, uh, of breeds in each of these categories that you've mentioned, whether it's swine or poultry or, uh, or beef, uh, and other categories too. Um, but once we got to, you know, about the end of World War ii, um, so, you know, 1950, let's call it, uh, we see the industrialization, uh, of food broadly. So whether it's agriculture or, uh, animal husbandry, you know, the, the livestock industry, uh, really take off. And, um, so when you start to standardize, uh, production of anything you need to simplify that product, um, so that it'll fit through your, um, your, your factory system as easily as possible. And, uh, then over time, these last several decades, uh, we, the consumer, um, have been, uh, provided, uh, a smaller and smaller selection of food, uh, to choose from. And, uh, so what Philip is suggesting is, um, or, or at least asking me, uh, what my thoughts on would be the, this idea of, um, seeing more right of this diversity, this genetic diversity, uh, in our environment. And I think it's a wonderful thing. Um, you know, these animals, um, they not only do they look different, look interesting, look beautiful, um, but there's a, a genetic diversity, um, that is maintained, you know, with greater variety. Uh, and these animals, uh, taste different, uh, the, the muscle com, uh, composition and, and other characteristics are different. And, and, and of course, uh, originally they were bred, uh, to be most suitable for a specific environment, a specific region or, or locale. And, um, so, uh, you know, the, they were very different, uh, from one another, you know, in, in their, in their flavor and, and, um, anatomical characteristics. And so, uh, you know, what do I think about, um, um, educating the public? You know, I, again, I'm, I'm all for that. Um, be prepared for probably a slow, uh, progression, uh, as so many people, at least in the United States, and I'll speak specifically for the folks in the United States. Um, you know, the collective we, uh, tend to buy on price, and we are addicted to cheap food. And when you talk about, uh, heirloom produce or heritage breeds of livestock, we're talking about higher prices, um, certainly in this environment. Um, and, uh, so it becomes a more difficult sell, uh, to most consumers. But I think there's a lot of benefit in, uh, in, in making that effort. And, um, uh, yeah, may, maybe, maybe a Rouxbe course is, uh, the first or another step, I should say, in that direction, because there are folks out there, um, that are working hard to, uh, conserve these, these breeds.
Eric Wynkoop

Eric Wynkoop

Director of Culinary Instruction