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Tom Colicchio Dissects Rise of Artisanal Food

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

What was once the occasional gift from a relative or neighbor, now lines the shelves of many local supermarkets. Artisanal foods continue to crop up around the city. And it's not just your Aunt Pearl's jam with the paper doiles anymore.  You can get anything from chocolates and cheese to kimchi and pickles.

Top Chef Judge Tom Colicchio said there’s a "new outlet" for these homemade goods. He pegs the trend to a backlash against factory farming.

Colicchio explained the start of the arisanal movement after appearing on the The Leonard Lopate Show. It began with chefs a few years ago "looking for better ingredients, artisanal products," said Coliccho. That move created the trickle-down effect for foodies. "You can always find that stuff in restaurants, but now they want to find it in supermarkets."

To Colicchio, the anorexic economy isn't slowing down this rush. It helps. "People are saying, 'You know, if I'm going to work this hard, then I want to do something that, at the end of the day I feel good about.'"

The Next Big Thing? Colicchio's gambling on honey.

"They just changed the law of keeping bees on your rooftop in New York."  They were off-limits before due to the classification of the insects as "wild animals." "I bet you’ll see a bunch of artisanal honey-makers now."

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