Food

A dish at Lantern, a previous James Beard Award winner
Lantern

The James Beard Foundation has released its annual list of semifinalists for the Restaurant and Chef Awards. On the list are 13 North Carolina eateries and chefs, 9 of which are in or near the Triangle. The James Beard Awards are considered the highest awards in the food industry. The semifinalists in North Carolina are:

O'Neal's Sea Harvest
Leoneda Inge

The past decade has been especially hard on one of North Carolina’s most treasured industries.  Since 2000,  the coast has lost 36-percent of its fish houses. That’s where fishermen sell and deliver their catch for wholesale distribution.  A new fish house inventory funded by North Carolina Sea Grant shows the rate of closings has slowed.  Changing Economy Reporter Leoneda Inge visited a fish house on the Outer Banks that has worked to turn its business around.

Coming soon to a restaurant near you: a rare hamburger. New food safety rules will free up many establishments to serve undercooked meat as long as they provide a written warning of the risks on the menu or elsewhere. It's part of federal food guidelines adopted by North Carolina last week, and being implemented statewide September 1st.

Larry Michael is head of the food protection program with the state Division of Public Health. He says the rules are about more than just a rare burger.

Fearrington House
Leoneda Inge

There’s a new food magazine on store shelves focusing on food culture of the South. Food from North Carolina is featured this month. 

Thousands of residents in Guilford County have been without food stamps for several weeks.

Jeff Tiberii: Problems started last month when the county department of social services began using a new software program. Steve Hayes with social services says there were significant delays in processing, applications and re-certifications.

Lavinia "Big Boss" Hensley
Leoneda Inge

The current state of the economy has shaken up countless careers, especially if you were in the housing construction business. But in a neighborhood outside High Point, one woman who used to build homes now uses her own home as a bakery. She said it was time to do the one thing she knew best and Big Boss Baking Company was born. Leoneda Inge has this report for our series, “Breaking into the Food Biz.”

Lavinia Hensley:  Hey come on in, how are you. You found us. See you weren’t too far.
Leoneda Inge: I know. I found it.

The state Agriculture Department is hosting its first Food Business Conference today in Alamance County. 

Chef Njathi Kabui spends a lot of time thinking about his native Kenya while he tends to his Apex, NC garden. Kabui spent much of his childhood working in the coffee fields of the country’s Central Province.

The future of food, farming, and sustainability are topics at a symposium today and tomorrow at UNC and Duke. Jaqueline Olich is from the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at UNC; she's also one of the coordinators of the event. According to projections from the United Nations, Olich says food production will have to increase by up to 100-percent by the year 2050 to sustain an estimated 9 billion people.

Smithfield Foods says it will stop using so-called ''gestation crates'' by 2017.
humanesociety.org

Animal rights advocates are welcoming news that Smithfield Foods is on track to phase out the use of small metal crates for pregnant hogs. The company said in a statement it will end the practice by 2017. The non-profit Humane Society filed a federal complaint against Smithfield a month ago.

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