MEDIA BUZZ: I enjoy helping the media educate the public on healthier, more sustainable food choices. In this Pittsburgh Better Times article, I explored oil options beyond common vegetable oil, such as Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil. I told readers that it’s time to leave behind the oily dark ages and add these other, healthier oil options to their culinary collection.
We’ve got to get smarter about our cooking oil choices for the sake of our health as well as our planet. I shared information on 12 cooking oils that I use in my own cooking. Everybody should have these in their pantries. I divided the list into oils to use every day, special occasion oils and my do-not-buy list.
Olive oil, avocado oil and even butter (in moderation) made my everyday oil list. I also included non-GMO Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil. I discovered this healthy tropical oil while working and traveling throughout Southeast Asia. I’m happy that it is now being used by food manufacturers in this country as a popular replacement for harmful trans fat. It can already be found in many of your favorite packaged foods. Because palm oil tolerates high heat, it is an ideal all-purpose cooking oil for home cooks as well.
As a proponent of sustainable foods, I appreciate that the Malaysian palm oil industry adheres to the 3Ps sustainability model: people, planet and profit. Perennial food crops such as Malaysian palm oil are also better for the planet than other oil crops, such as those that landed on my do-not-buy list. Oil palm plantations are incredibly land-efficient. Per acre of land, oil palm produces 11 times more oil than soybean, and seven times more than canola.
Malaysia’s dedication to sustainability sets the bar high for other countries’ palm oil production. As of January 2017, more than one million hectares of Malaysia’s palm planted area have been certified sustainable. And thanks to new initiatives, that will grow. I deeply appreciate how seriously Malaysians take their stewardship of their land and conservation of our world’s resources.
Some of my goals as a chef include teaching people to eat healthier and more sustainable foods. Media opportunities such as this one enable me to spread those messages to large audiences. If you haven’t yet replaced your vegetable oil with healthier and more sustainable alternatives, such as Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil, it’s time to do so. You’ll thank me later.
Chef Gerard Viverito, is an culinary instructor as the Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, a NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the issue of sustainability in the seas. He is also operator of Saveur Fine Catering.