Farmer, activist, writer, and, of course, chef, Dan Barber is a man with many roles. From TED Conference speaker to serving on President Obama’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, Barber’s influence extends throughout and beyond the kitchen.
Dan Barber grew up in New York City’s Upper East Side. He learned about farming and agricultural sustainability at a young age while helping to tend his grandparent’s farm in Great Barrington, Mass. In 1992, Barber graduated from Tufts University, where he studied Political Science and English.
After school, Barber worked at Chez Panisse under Alice Waters. From there he returned to New York City to attend the French Culinary Institute. Following Barber’s graduation from culinary school in 1994, he worked briefly for Michel Rostang in Paris before accepting a job at Bouley in New York.
In 1996, Barber stepped out on his own with the opening of his catering business, Dan Barber Catering (which would later become Blue Hill Catering). Four years later, he teamed up with his brother David to open Blue Hill Restaurant in Greenwich Village. It was with the opening of Blue Hill that Barber began to develop his signature approach to cooking, marrying innovative new American cuisine with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients.
Barber’s success with Blue Hill impressed philanthropist David Rockefeller so much that in 2001 he hired him to take over the responsibility of revitalizing his 3,500 acre estate in Westchester. Rockefeller invested $30 million to open the Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant and Stone Barnes Center.
In 2002, Food & Wine Magazine named Barber one of the Best New Chefs in the country. He is also the recipient of two James Beard Awards, one for Best New York City Chef in 2006, and another for Chef of the Year in 2009. Barber serves as an advisor to Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and Global Environment. In keeping with his literary background, he has written for publications like Time Magazine, The New York Times, and Gourmet Magazine.
Culinary Style: Farm-to-Table
Restaurants: Blue Hill Restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Signature Dish: This Morning's Farm Egg
Did You Know? Most of the milk used at Barber's restaurants comes from his grandmother's farm.