Category Archives: World Food Crisis

Leading Chefs at ‘State’ of the Union Summit

Mr. Coohill and Mr. Asher go to Washington.

Don’t expect Tom Coohill to be at his namesake Denver restaurant or Daniel Asher to be at Boulder’s River & Woods over the next few days. They join such star chefs as Tom Colicchio, José Andrés and Andrew Zimmern at the second meeting of the 2017 Plate of the Union Farm Bill Summit today and tomorrow in Washington, D.C.

 Chefs and food industry leaders from around the country are there to review and discuss food policies surrounding the 2018 Farm Bill. This is a follow-up to the first session in April, when the group, led by the agricultural advocacy organization Plate of the Union, reported its findings and recommendations to the House and Senate.

 Every five years, Congress is tasked with passing the farm bill, which affects things such as how food is grown, what it costs the consumer, the safety of drinking water and whether all Americans have access to healthy, affordable food.

 “One of the main goals of this program that we’re working hard on is addressing hunger,” Chef Tom says. “We’re looking to revamp the labeling system in this country which, if it were done accurately with a standardized approach on the sell-by date, we could be feeding way, way more people with the food that just gets thrown away at the grocery store every day. If we were to get this through, it would basically cure hunger in the United States, because 40 percent of food just goes to waste right now.”

 Plate of the Union is a food advocacy organization with a stated mission of encouraging U.S. agriculture to focus on organic and sustainable practices with positive impacts on land and water, resulting in everyone being able to access “healthy, affordable food – regardless of their zip code – that is fair to workers, keeps farmers on the land and protects our environment.”

Good luck, Chefs. 

Rock-A-Belly Hunger Awareness Fundraiser

Program helps feed families on weekends.

I just watched a rerun of the devastatingly funny John Oliver’s segment on food waste in America on “Last Week Tonight.”

The notification of Food for Thought’s upcoming fundraiser just became all the more timely and poignant. The anti-hunger program provides students of participating Denver schools with “PowerSacks” filled with enough food to help feed a family of four for the weekend. Over 90% of the students enrolled qualify for free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs, but often come to school hungry on Monday mornings due to a lack of adequate nutritious food over the weekend.

Rock-A-Belly Festival (November 7, 5 to 9 p.m.) is a local hunger awareness event and fundraiser for Food For Thought Denver featuring food tastings, craft beer, and live music. Featuring food tastings from 10 of Denver’s finest restaurants and 10 craft breweries, such as Snooze, Steubens, Jax, and Work & Class, as well as  Tivoli Brewing Co., Backcountry Brewery, and others, with live music from Los Straitjackets and the Hillbilly Hellcats. 9News anchor Kyle Clark is the event’s MC. Tickets are $50. Click here to purchase.

It takes place at the Tivoli Turnhalle, 900 Auraria Parkway, Denver.

World’s Fair Focuses on Food

Milan’s Expo 2015 theme is feeding the world.

Expo2015-logoExpo Milano 2015 is the Universal Exhibition that Milan, Italy, hosts from May 1 to October 31. Over this six-month period, Milan will become a global showcase where more than 140 participating countries will show the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the planet and its equilibrium.

In addition to the exhibitor nations, the Expo also involves international organizations. It expects to welcome more than 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million square meters of exhibition area.

As the organizers put it, ” A platform for the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of food, stimulating each country’s creativity and promoting innovation for a sustainable future, Expo 2015 will give everyone the opportunity to find out about, and taste, the world’s best dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomic traditions of each of the exhibitor countries.”

A tall order, but a necessary world conversation. Wish I could be there.

Botantic Gardens Hosts Important Food Films

Documentaries focus on America’s foods, food crisis and hunger in this supposed land of plenty.

FilmReelDenver Botanic Gardens and  Denver-born Chipotle Mexican Grill present the fourth-annual Sustainable Food Film Series, which aims to raise awareness of healthy and sustainable approaches to the way we grow, produce and consume food. Four documentary films covering organics, sustainable farming, local foods and the seafood crisis are on the 2104 screening schedule, with a post-film panel discussion and food courtesy of Chipotle. The series takes place at the Gardens’ Mitchell Hall. Each screening and dinner from Chipotle is just $5. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. with the screening  6:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 11. “A Place at the Table” (84 min) examines the American hunger issue through the lens of three people: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader depends on friends and neighbors to feed her, and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford. These are just three of the estimated 50 million people in the U.S. (and one in four children) who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush.

Tuesday, September 23. “GMO OMG” (90 min) asks questions about how GMOs affect our children, the planet’s health and our freedom of choice. Director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert tests the most serious question himself: is it even possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t get back? Seifert goes on a journey from his family’s table to Haiti, Paris, Norway and the lobby of a mega agricultural company, from which he is unceremoniously ejected.

Wednesday, October 15. Food Patriots” (72 min) was inspired by a teenager’s battle with a foodborne superbug. Jeff and Jennifer Spitz are both the filmmakers and the parents of the boy. They document their family’s struggle to raise backyard chickens, grow food and transform themselves into food patriots. The documentary features people from all walks of life who are trying to change the way Americans eat and buy food and educate the next generation of consumers.

Friday, November 7. “Fed Up” (92 min) from Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar-winning producer of “An Inconvenient Truth”) and director Stephanie Soechtig, this film claims everything we have been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is wrong. The U.S. government’s first dietary guidelines overlooked the role of dietary sugar in increasing risks of obesity, diabetes and other health issues, especially in children. The film examines how sugar consumption has greatly increased, obesity has skyrocketed and generations of children have grown up far fatter than their parents.

Past, Present & Future Foods at Colorado History Museum

Global foods across the ages explored in visiting exhibition.

001The History Colorado Center generally devotes itself to what has occurred within the Centennial State’s rectangular borders, but “Food: Our Global Kitchen” from May 31 through September 1 is an exhibition that is global in nature and transcends millennia. This is the museum’s first major traveling exhibition, created by New York’s prestigious American Museum of Natural History.

I know a reasonable amount about food and food history, yet this exhibition, which is geared for children and adults, relates much of what I already know and fills in some blanks I didn’t realize were there. Food origins, cultures, sustainability, the opposing challenges of hunger/starvation on the one hand and obesity on the other, food and dining in the past, the impact of agribusiness on food production today and the future of food production to feed a growing population on the planet. These include heritage foods that, if brought back, can help alleviate world hunger. Interactive features include a clever flat screen where visitors look down on videoed cooking demonstrations and sniff stations that emit aromas of particular foods. Some highlights:

Diorama of a well-organized Aztec market in what s now Mexico City. Many of our common foods are native to the Americas.
Diorama of a well-organized Aztec market in what s now Mexico City. Many of our common foods are native to the Americas.
The rich and the royals always are well and dined in luxury.
The rich and the royals always ate well and dined in luxury.
Flat-screen table provides cooking demonstrations. Want to see how to poach an egg?
Flat-screen table provides cooking demonstrations. Want to see how to poach an egg?
Part of Whole Foods' kitchen display included a chopstick dexterity test.
Part of Whole Foods’ Taste Kitchen display included a chopstick dexterity test, because many of the world’s people use implements other than fork, spoon and knife. Most people can easily pick up packing peanuts. Beans provide more of a challenge.

Entry to the exhibition is normally $5 in addition to museum admission ($12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for ages 6 to 12); get $2 off with a receipt from any Colorado Whole Foods Market.  1200 Broadway, Denver, 303-HISTORY (303-447-8679).

The museum’s calendar is filled with special events including family days, off-premise tours and speakers during this exhibition. These include a June 3 presentation by Denver’s self-described soul food scholar Adrian Miller, a 2014 James Beard Award winner, speaking about his book Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. From mac and cheese to chicken and waffles, Miller explains how foods got on the soul food plate and their meaning in African American culture. You’ll leave ready to cook up one of his recipes or visit one of his favorite soul food joints in the metro area. ($10, non-members and $8.50, members).

World Food Day Tomorrow

Dining and walking to end hunger

WorldFoodDay-logoTomorrow, October 16, is World Food Day, a global movement to end hunger with events in individual communities. The Colorado events are:

Oxfam World Food Day Dinner to  foster a conversation about where our food comes from, who cultivates it, and how we can take personal actions that will help protect farmers and farmland around the world. Takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. at  6732 S Marion Circle East, Centennial. FoMoInfo: Dinah Frey,

CROP Hunger Walks are community events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations or groups to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world. Colorado has 16 walks this fall, but some are already past. FoMoInfo: Church World Service, 888-297-2767.

Cronut Knock-Off Has Come to EDGE

Four Seasons restaurant to offer its own version, the CroDough

Under EDGE executive chef Simon Purvis (above), chef de partie Christina Hong and the culinary team developed the new CroDough
Under EDGE executive chef Simon Purvis (above), chef de partie Christina Hong and the culinary team developed the new CroDough

I’ve been waiting for a Denver or Boulder restaurant or bakery to offer a knock-off of the Cronut, the trademarked hybrid of a croissant and a donut that has taken New York by storm. Click here for my first post about this sweet sensation created by New York pâtissier Dominique Ansel. The Four Seasons Hotel’s chef de partie, Christina Hong, and a talented pastry team came up with the EDGE CroDough. Pumpkin is the introductory flavor.

As elsewhere, this is a pricey treat at $10 but it is large enough for two people to share. If even that seems to steep,  EDGE Restaurant is putting the  CroDough on sale for a good cause. On Wednesday, October 16 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., you can get an EDGE CroDough for just $3 or $5 including a small LavAzza coffee. October 16 is World Food Day, which is focused on ending world hunger. All funds from CroDough sales at EDGE will be donated to Community Food Share, a food bank serving Boulder and Broomfield counties, which were greatly impacted by the recent Colorado flood.  Funds will be given to assist in replenishing the food bank, which services more than 50 local agency partners.

The Four Seasons is at 1111 14th Street, Denver.