Tom Colicchio talks about ‘A Place at the Table’

"Top Chef"'s Tom Colicchio, executive producer of "A Place at the Table," in theaters Friday Credit: Magnolia Pictures
“Top Chef”‘s Tom Colicchio, executive producer of “A Place at the Table,” in theaters Friday
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Tom Colicchio isn’t the only celebrity to lend his voice to an activist cause, but he is one of the most dedicated. The “Top Chef” star and restauranteur has long worked with charities and food programs, even testifying before Congress on improving childhood nutrition programs. Now he is executive producer of “A Place at the Table,” a documentary — co-directed by his wife, Lori Silverbush, and produced by Participant Media, of “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Lincoln” — on food insecurity, which plagues 50 million in the U.S.

You’ve said charities, while useful, aren’t enough.
Charities and organizations do great work. But the problem is, if we’re raising all this money, why does this problem keep growing? At a certain point you have to wonder if you need to lean on a bigger organization to make an impact — like the government. From doing research, we found a TV doc that CBS News did [“Hunger in America,” from 1968] that galvanized the population and very quickly got our government to create programs. The idea of a film changing things once before gave us the confidence that maybe a film could do it again.

“Table” deals with “food deserts,” urban and rural areas where healthy food is hard to find.
If you put a supermarket in a rural area, it actually acts as an anchor for other businesses to come into that area. There are programs in New York where they are giving money to bodega owners to put in refrigeration for fruits and vegetables. People will buy healthy food if it’s there.
Not only is hunger an issue, but so is obesity.
You’re going to find health insurance companies realizing they have a vested interest in getting kids to eat healthy foods, because they don’t want to pay for health care costs. Insurance companies lobby for seatbelt laws — I think they’ll lobby for healthy lunches. Because if you start eating healthy foods early on, you can avoid illnesses around obesity and hunger: diabetes, heart disease and various other ailments.

What do you say to people who decry outside assistance, saying government should be limited?
I feel there’s a stake with people who believe in limited government. If you look at health care costs, the numbers are $13 billion a year because of hunger and hunger-related issues. If you want limited government, doesn’t it make sense to keep people from being hungry? Food stamps have the lowest rate of fraud of any government program. It’s about 1 percent. These people aren’t gaming the system.

What can people do after seeing the film? After awareness, what’s the next step?
That’s the great thing about working with Participant [Media]: For them it was never just about making the film. It was about making a whole campaign around the film to help the problem. You can go to www.takepart.com/
table, which will bring you to a social action site with tons of information on how you can engage



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…