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City's Top Chefs Use Food to Protest Hydrofracking

By Meredith Hoffman | July 25, 2012 12:29pm

WILLIAMSBURG — After leaving her famous Citizen Cake pastry shop in San Francisco, chef Elizabeth Falkner is investing in Brooklyn with her soon-to-open Krescendo pizzeria — but the local food lover fears New York's produce might be at risk if hydrofracking is allowed.

"Anything I get at markets here is from this area. It's just unacceptable to be throwing toxins into the ground like that," Falkner said of the process of "fracking," drilling into the earth to break up rock for natural gas.

So Falkner, a recent "Top Chef" winner, and other renowned chefs in the city are concocting dishes Thursday night at Brooklyn Winery to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban the process.

In "Taste of the Marcellus" Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, Heather Carlucci of PRINT, Daniel Holzman of the Meatball Shop, and many others will cook with ingredients from the Marcellus region of New York State, which the group said is vulnerable to hydrofracking.

"The two ingredients that are most valuable on this planet are air and water so you can't pose a threat to either one," said Falkner, who will be making a summer squash and peach salad with almonds and ricotta for the benefit.

Holzman will be whipping up chicken meatballs with pesto and corn salad; Anthony will make okra stuffed with eggplant puree, sherry vinegar, parsley and mint; and Carlucci will make butterscotch parfait with roasted strawberries — to name a few of the culinary offerings.

Chef Chris Santos, owner of the Stanton Social and a judge on "Chopped" on Food TV (who will be making whipped ricotta jewel on toast with grilled peaches), said the event was timely.

"With 55 percent of the United States experiencing moderate or severe drought going into July, we must do everything possible to protect our ground water from contamination," he said.

A spokesperson for Cuomo did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment.

Tickets to the fundraiser to combat fracking can be bought online or at the door. An after party will be held at Brooklyn Bowl.