Chef Michel Nischan Talks Food Politics with Food Republic

This week Food Republic has a guest editor and it is none other than renowned chef and food activist Michel Nischan of Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut. As co-founder, CEO and President of Wholesome Wave Foundation, which helps improve the accessibility and affordability of healthful, locally grown fruits and vegetables in food deserts, Michel was the perfect fit for guest editor of Food Republic's Food Political section.

While many chefs are recently jumping on the local and green bandwagon, Nischan has been known for leading this movement ages ago. As Food Republic Editorial Director explains through an interview with Michel, his first exposure to healthy fresh food was through his mother's kitchen while the family "using their small backyard as a miniature farm to grow vegetables. Though poor, they often wound up feeding the neighbors' kids, who were drawn by the fresh food served chez Nischan, when most moms were turning to TV dinners and Shake 'N' Bake." Then later on after working in many kitchens and experiencing first-hand how much food was made from cans rather than fresh produce, these factors moved Nischan into action to fight for affordable accessibility to healthy and local products.

This week, all food politics and news on Food Republic have been curated by the man himself, and to kick off this highly educational week, Food Republic held a special lunch in Michel's honor at the famous Brooklyn pizzaeria, Roberta's. With other food political gurus like Bill Telepan (food activist and chef/owner of Telepan), Jared Koch (founder of Clean Plates eating guides), Bill Taibe (chef/owner of Le Farm restaurant), just to name a few, I alongside Richard Martin welcomed Michel to his week at Food Republic as guest editor with coal-fired pizza from Roberta's and tons of political conversation.

Roberta's was filled that day with chats of personal food experiences and political topics ranging from accessibility to affordable organics to sustainable fishing, and lots more. It was great to host talks of local healthy foods at such a community-driven restaurant like Roberta's. I've always admired Michel for his continued dedication for local healthy foods in public schools and food deserts since the 90's before some chefs even caught on to the movement. He's definitely a leader in localism and sustainability and I encourage everyone to read his features in Food Republic this week. It's voices like his that can help change the food industry to a more natural and healthy route.

Check out our photos of yesterday's Roberta's lunch and click here to read Food Republic's Michel Nischan Week.

Photos: Cyndi Amaya

For more food politics, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)