My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today is a wonderfully engaging account from the woman who founded America’s first certified organic restaurant. It is a story of an unheralded culinary pioneer, Nora Pouillon, who made it her mission to bring delicious, wholesome foods to the American table.
Nora is credited as being one of the most vivacious founders of the organic food movement, and opened her eponymous restaurant in 1979. 20 years later, in 1999, Restaurant Nora became the first certified organic restaurant, furthering her dedication to the cause, one that she’s very much still apart of today at 71 years old. In addition to chronicling her relationship with the culinary field, the story is also a feminist one showing a woman with young children overcoming a failed marriage and working in a male-dominated business.
Born and raised in Austria surrounded by fresh, delicious food, Nora was horrified when she moved to Washington DC in the 1960s and discovered a culinary culture dominated by hormone-bloated meat and unseasonal vegetables. She then chartered a path that forever changed our relationship with what we eat. Her Restaurant Nora in Washington DC has been a hot spot for reporters, celebrities, and politicians – from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton to the Obamas, even throwing Michelle Obama’s surprise birthday party. Along the way, Nora redefined what food could be, forging close relationships with local producers and launching initiatives to take the organic movement mainstream. Outside her restaurant, she became the founder of Washington DC’s first farmers market in 1997. There are now 13.