From head judge on Top Chef and owner of Craft in NYC, Tom Colicchio adds MSNBC to his résumé.
Are you ready for a lot more Tom Colicchio?
When I think chefs on television, I still hark back to my youth of Julia Child and the “Galloping Gourmet” Graham Kerr giving their culinary tips. It’s not surprising with the explosion of cable television in the 1980s that we would see the formation of the Food Network in the 1990s and ultimately cable television shows depicting chefs competing against each other.
We’re now seeing the next generation of chefs and television. Move over medical correspondent and legal correspondent, you’re about to get company on the culinary side.
Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, the head judge on Bravo’s long-running mega hit, Top Chef, has been named MSNBC’s first-ever food correspondent. This isn’t someone appearing on air across other MSNBC platforms just to give cooking tips. Colicchio, owner of at least two of the country’s best restaurants (Craft in New York City and Topping Rose in Bridgehampton, NY) and award-winning chef, will focus on the politics, power and personalities of the country’s food.
That’s a good move by MSNBC, a network struggling with ratings that has revamped its lineup recently to focus more on straight news coverage over opinion programming.
Colicchio had only served as an occasional guest on MSNBC but he will use his new role to focus on issues he’s an advocate for—healthy food, sustainable farming, food policy and combating hunger. That means about discussions of organic foods, labeling and food safety.
Look for him to talk about such issues as school lunches, an high profile issue championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. He will also be part of the debate on food stamps, which some in Congress say should be cut. MSNBC says he will even talk about over-fishing.
That’s what I call a real food expert.
It’s a welcome addition to television news that’s hopefully part a new trend to put more emphasis on food coverage. We’re already seeing that on CNN with chef Anthony Bourdain who since 2013 has hosted his show exploring culture and cuisine.
One of the more interesting shows I plan to watch is called Everyone Eats – a series of interviews over lunch with sports stars, elected officials, actors, newsmakers and other star chefs.
“As a chef, a father and an advocate for sane food policy, I’m looking forward to bringing stories to MSNBC that highlight how critical food is to the workings of a functional, humane society,” says Colicchio in a statement released by MSNBC. “In today’s world it’s impossible to separate our food culture from the politics and policies that shape our choices as consumers and taxpayers, whether we’re aware of them or not. The one thing we all have in common is that everyone eats, and I’m excited to partner with MSNBC on a show that fosters healthy dialogue and speaks to this basic common truth.”
The announcement has excited not only myself but many in the food industry who welcome the additional coverage and focus.
“I think that having a respected chef and restaurateur join the conversation will bring to light topics that have otherwise not been given as much importance,” says Greg Daniels, an executive chef and partner with the Haven Gastropub in Orange County California. “He cares about the things I care about, and that alone gives me reason to be excited about his new position.”
Colicchio, whose politics are left of center, will appear regularly on The Rachael Maddow Show and Morning Joe.
When so much of cable news is focused solely on Washington, DC, this is going to be a welcome trend for sure.