Monday, April 30, 2012

Andrew Zimmern Addresses The Elephant in the Room



While a privileged few enjoy plenty, Chef Andrew Zimmern, a James Beard award winner and host of "Bizarre Foods," addresses the elephant in the room - food insecurity for too many.

I purposely omitted any advance mention of the Austin Food & Wine Festival. The $250 price tag per person ($500 for a couple) struck me as outrageous. That's a month's worth of groceries! And $850 for a VIP pass? Please. That's a month's wages for the working poor.

Over 3000 people disagreed with me. More power to them.

But I am gratified that one chef also noted the disparity between attendees and reality for a vast majority of our country and the world.
We live in the single greatest country in the history of civilization. Thirty percent of our kids are obese, and 1 in every 6 people in our country is food insecure. Our food system in America has never ever been so good for so few and so bad for so many. There is something very privileged, something very ironic and something almost criminal in a weird kind of way for us all to be talking at an event like this about the type of food that we are talking about without acknowledging all the people in the world, especially in our country, who cannot access good healthy food, who are too time poor to prepare it, and the cost and the lifestyle associated with eating well and healthfully is beyond them.

Thank you, Chef.

Perhaps next year, organizers will consider a "give back," donating a percentage of proceeds to the Austin Food Bank. This would not motivate me to spend $500 for a weekend of drinking and dining with celebrity chefs; it would help me feel more kindly toward the event.

H/T: Addie Broyles, Austin 360
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