Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, food is political. What we eat, how we produce it and who prepares it all have ties to policy ranging from agriculture to poverty to immigration. To that end, Chef Tom Colicchio hasn’t sat idly by in a kitchen wondering how to make a difference. When it comes to hunger, Colicchio is determined to call attention to a problem that affects people domestically as well as abroad. On this coming Monday night’s episode of Explorer, Colicchio and host Dan Rather will discuss the important role the food industry has in Washington.
Colicchio has recently begun using the prominence he’s gained from his restaurants and from his long-running stint as a judge on Top Chef to enter into the political fray. The chef co-founded Food Policy Action which lobbied for a food stamp program at farmers markets, appearing in documentary about hunger in America titled A Place at the Table, partnered with former first lady Michelle Obama on the Food As Fuel program, and attended both major parties' 2016 nominating conventions.
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Rather also asks Colicchio about his approach to cooking, which the chef sees as a craft above all else. He then gives the 85-year old newsman a foolproof recipe that even a novice cook like Rather can whip up without too much expertise.
Other segments in this episode include another food-adjacent topic, pollution. A segment follows biologists in Antarctica as they collect feather samples from penguins. How does this affect your dinner plate? Penguins just to happen to process and excrete heavy metals into their feathers as they grow. As one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world, if industrial pollutants and toxins such as mercury are found in the remote penguin populations, it means that the rest of the food chain, seafood and otherwise, has been completely infiltrated with contaminants.
This episode of Explorer will air Monday, April 10th on the National Geographic Channel at 10pm ET/9pm CT.