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Deconstructing Dinner: Reconstructing Our Food System
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"Taking a Bite out of Food Issues" - 02.01.08
By Elliot Robins - Kootenay Western Star

For years, one subject has been of the utmost concern to Nelson resident Jon Steinman.

It is a subject that affects each of us across the globe on a daily basis.

In our hyper-active society, we forget to devote enough time to the preparation of it. To the detriment of our health, we seek it out in 'conveniently' prepared and wrapped packages. Without it, we die. The subject is food.

Steinman is the host of Deconstructing Dinner, a program on Kootenay Co-op Radio that explores food-security issues and acts as a display of the sum accumulation of Steinman's knowledge of and passion for the subject of food.

"It's a challenge to the current systems," Steinman said of Deconstructing Dinner. "By questioning, it is challenging how we connect to everything. I see it as deconstructing ourselves."

Steinman grew up in Toronto and at the age of 18, attended the University of Guelph. There he immersed himself in programs related to the hotel and restaurant industries. It was in university he began to see the flaws in our food system.

"As I was there, I was able to pull myself from my urban upbringing," Steinman said.

"At school, I realized the disconnect between the managing of a restaurant kitchen and the sourcing of food. Our training was all about cost and related issues, not about how the food was produced."

That realization, along with a philosophy course, set Steinman down a path that showed him how to be critical of what he was being taught.

"That course started to get me to question my education," Steinman said.

After university, Steinman moved to the Niagara region of Southern Ontario and worked in a restaurant at a winery.

"By degrees, I began to realize the amount of time necessary to prepare food," he said.

Steinman learned more about sourcing local food ingredients and it led him to renew his connection with natural world.

He started questioning why locally sourced food seemed so hard to find, and why it seemed the exclusive domain of fine dining.

After spending time in France, Steinman eventually made his way out west. He spent time in Nelson and became involved with Kootenay Co-op radio.

"I saw a real gap in the media," Steinman said. "I wanted to expand how media was addressing food. I thought Nelson would be a good base to do this kind of work."

Steinman combined his knowledge of food issues and his strong radio voice and presence to created Deconstructing Dinner. The show has proved to be a success and is picked up by other stations and is broadcast in North America, England, Australia and New Zealand.

The show airs every Thursday at 6 p.m. Visit the site at


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