Tuna Served in Dallas Counts as a Slow Food?

An upcoming Dallas fundraiser for Slow Food USA has struck some local food advocates as slightly out-of-step with Slow Food principles.

The Slow Food movement, launched by industrial food-opponent Carlo Patrini in 1986, prizes the planet's biodiversity and unique edible cultures. According to Slow Food USA's mission statement, the nonprofit organization aims to "reconnect Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food." In practice, that generally translates to enthusiastic support for local, organic, sustainable and traditional food.

All of which is somewhat hard to square with the national organization's decision to back a series of fund-raising dinners hosted by Brown-Forman's Finlandia, for which the brand is flying in a Finnish chef to dress tuna steaks with vodka-miso dressing. For $50 a person, guests at The Fairmont dinner next Friday will also feast on Sara La Fountain's "Oriental chicken skewers" and vodka jelly with raspberries.

Proceeds from the dinner in Dallas and three other cities will be donated to Slow Food USA.

Slow Food Dallas leader Claudine Martin says her group's members were surprised by the dinner plans.

"We were like, 'We'll help, but it's not really our deal'," Martin says.

The local Slow Food chapter is now readying for its own fundraiser on October 17, featuring chef David Uygur cooking at Robert Bellamy's home on Prairie Avenue. Martin stresses Uygur will be "using all-local ingredients from all local farmers, most of whom are our members."

A Slow Food USA spokesperson was not available for comment.