Tom Colicchio Leads Chefs in Food Advocacy on Capitol Hill

A group of chefs including Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and nearly forty chefs from around the country pose for a photo on the Capitol steps as they came together on Capitol Hill for a day of action and advocacy on October 27, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo Courtesy of Kris Connor/Getty Images for Chef Action Network)
A group of chefs including Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and nearly forty chefs from around the country pose for a photo on the Capitol steps during their day of meeting with lawmakers to discuss food policy. (Photo Courtesy of Kris Connor/Getty Images for Chef Action Network)

By Guest Contributor Lani Furbank

“Top Chef” judge, James Beard Award-winning chef, and outspoken food advocate Tom Colicchio has been keeping busy in DC this week.

Tom Colicchio at the 2nd Annual Chef's Roast. (Photo Courtesy of Ben Droz)

On Monday, he was honored at the 2nd Annual Chef’s Roast to benefit the chef advocacy group, Chef Action Network, and Food Policy Action, an organization Colicchio founded to monitor how elected officials vote on food policy issues. Colicchio is known for his activism on issues such as GMO labeling, ending hunger, and the eliminating the use of antibiotics in food. His “Top Chef” colleagues, Padma Lakshmi and Richard Blais took the stage at Union Market to poke fun at the head judge, but Colicchio had a chance to fire back as well.

At the 2nd Annual Chef's Roast (Photo Courtesy of Sunshine Sachs)

On Tuesday, he shared some of his advocacy expertise by leading a day of advocacy with a group of nearly 40 chefs from 34 states, including Padma Lakshmi, Chefs Richard Blais, Kerry Heffernan, Spike Mendelsohn, Sam Talbot, Victor Albisu, Emily Luchetti, Bill Telepan, and Lee Anne Wong. The group spent the day on Capitol Hill, meeting with over 120 congressional offices to explain the importance of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, which will continue to ensure healthy lunches for students across the US. Many chefs met one-on-one with lawmakers, including Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.).

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Lani Furbank is a freelance writer and photographer who covers the intersection of food, farming and the environment. She is based in the DC area and loves cooking, hiking and crafting. Read about her adventures at www.LanisCupOfTea.com.

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