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The George Washington University to Offer Course Featuring World Renowned Chef José Andrés

“The World on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilization” to Explore the Intersections of Food and Society
October 29, 2012

202-994-6466; [email protected]
Ann McCarthy
202-834-7113; [email protected]

WASHINGTON - The George Washington University will welcome world-renowned Spanish chef José Andrés this spring for his first-ever course at the university. “The World on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilization,” will examine various intersections of food and society and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Mr. Andrés is the creator of the course, which will begin in spring 2013.

 "José Andrés is internationally renowned both as a culinary innovator and a visionary humanitarian," said GW President Steven Knapp. "He has also worked closely with our Urban Food Task Force on a range of programs.  We are delighted that this new course will bring his passion for connecting food and education to our students." 

 “The World on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilization,” is a 1.5-credit hour course, and it will be held on Mondays between Jan. 14 and April 22, 2012 from 4 to 5:20 p.m. in GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium. There are 230 spots open to all undergraduate and graduate students. Topics for the course include how food has shaped the world, food and politics, the history of food, hunger and obesity and food and national security, among other areas.

“Food is the ideal context for communicating ideas,” said Mr. Andrés. “Eating is the one thing, besides breathing, that we all do from the day we are born until the day we die. Food is that thread that runs through the fabric of society: culture, energy, art, science, the economy, national security, the environment, health, politics and diplomacy. I could not be more proud than to bring this idea—an education course focused on the power of food and how it changes the world--to life here at GW. And the belief and commitment in this program by President and Ms. Knapp and the administration and faculty of GW shows the innovation and leadership in new ideas that this university has to offer.”

Mr. Andrés will teach some of the classes. The rest will be taught by GW faculty and guest lecturers, including Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel series “Bizarre Foods”; Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking; Alice Kamps, who curated the National Archives exhibit “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?”; and Philip Derfler, the deputy administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additional guest lecturers will be announced at a later date.

“This course presents an amazing opportunity for our students to discuss critical decisions that need to be made regarding food,” said Denis Cioffi, director of GW’s Teaching and Learning Collaborative who is overseeing the course. “This class helps make connections between disciplines often viewed in isolation—like science, history, culture, politics and security—and will encourage problem-solving on multiple levels.”

Mr. Andrés is a member of GW’s Urban Food Task Force, an initiative of the university focused on promoting sustainable food production, healthy eating and food policy. He also serves as a special advisor to GW President Steven Knapp on food issues and has been instrumental in the pilot program geared toward integrating food and nutrition into the curriculum for the School Without Walls, a D.C. public high school located on GW’s campus. Last year, Mr. Andrés participated in a panel discussion hosted by GW’s Urban Food Task Force that addressed a variety of issues regarding food. Later that year, Mr. Andrés and fellow world-renowned chef Ferran Adrià took to the stage for an event at GW’s Lisner Auditorium and discussed the evolution of creativity in cooking.

Media interested in speaking with GW officials should contact Jill Sankey at 202-994-6466 or at [email protected]. For interviews with Mr. Andrés, contact Ann McCarthy with Think Food Group at 202-834-7113 or at [email protected].