Manage episode 266503033 series 2312028
Coronavirus has got us thinking about a lot, including many parts of daily life that may not have crossed our minds before. A big one of those topics is food, and with unemployment at an all-time high, we’re seeing many people who need to utilize food stamps to help make ends meet. Unfortunately, the SNAP program (food stamps) caters to the purchase of cheaper, calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods over healthy, real, wholesome foods. We see that people who are food insecure and rely on programs like this are actually much more likely to be overweight or obese. The “N” in SNAP is for “nutrition,” and while there are SNAP benefits at beneficial food institutions like farmers’ markets, the program still has a long way to go to serve public health.
Our food system is in desperate need of change, and as we look at current conditions in our world from COVID-19, we also see that the restaurant industry is in desperate need of help. The two actually go hand in hand. Today on The Doctor’s Farmacy, I talk to Tom Colicchio, the chef and owner of Crafted Hospitality, which currently includes New York’s Craft, Riverpark, and Temple Court; Los Angeles’ Craft Los Angeles; and Las Vegas’ Heritage Steak and Craftsteak. In an effort to broaden his long-standing activism around food issues, Tom served as an executive producer to the 2013 documentary A Place at the Table about the underlying causes of hunger in the United States. This eye-opening experience led Tom on a journey to Washington DC where he has been a mainstay in our nation’s capital in the years since. From holding members of Congress accountable on their voting records around food to working with former FLOTUS Michelle Obama on the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, Tom has established himself as the leading “Citizen Chef” advocating for a food system that values access, affordability, and nutrition over corporate interests.
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Here are more of the details from our interview:
- Why those who are most food insecure have the highest risk of diabetes and obesity (8:08)
- How Tom when from being a chef to doing lobbying work in Congress (9:32)
- Making nutritious foods more accessible and affordable through SNAP and through the food supply system (18:15)
- Why SNAP doesn’t go far enough (24:06)
- Systemic racism in the food system (26:06)
- The populations who are on SNAP (27:02)
- Improving working conditions for food system workers by demonopolizing food production (30:57)
- The Independent Restaurant Coalition’s work to support the restaurant industry during the coronavirus pandemic (39:08)
- How Tom is approaching his restaurant operations at this time (46:03)
- Innovation in the food supply system (51:39)
Check out Tom’s podcast Citizen Chef with Tom Colicchio at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/citizen-chef-with-tom-colicchio/id1513237410
Follow Tom on Facebook @TomColicchio, on Instagram @tomcolicchio, and on Twitter @tomcolicchio
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