Tom Colicchio Takes on Capitol Hill

The 'Top Chef' judge explains why he keeps going back to Washington D.C. to lobby for food and hunger issues.

Tom Colicchio is not just a celebrity chef. The Top Chef judge is also hoping to change the way people eat for the better. And he's been actively exploring his ability to make an impact where it counts—Capitol Hill.

"I find myself in the slightly surreal position of being able to comment on issues of importance to me and a public willing to listen," he tells the political publication Roll Call. "There was a time that my job wasn't public at all. The chef stayed in the kitchen...Nobody really cared what we had to say; just cared what we did on our plates. Today, that's changed a bit."

It's actually changed a lot. Thanks to Tom's persistence, he's now a co-founder and board member of Food Policy Action, an organization that grades members of Congress based on their votes that effect food and farming. He's also along with other chefs introduced legislation regarding genetically modified organism-labeling.

Considering that Tom has been making trips to Capitol Hill since 2010, he definitely has a message he shares with any other foodies hoping to effect change. "Guys, this isn't a one-time deal. You have to keep coming back," he says.

That philosophy might explain why he's made many return visits. "I didn't want to be, and I hate using the word, [a] 'celebrity' that goes down there once, photo op and then I go back," he says. "I don't think you're taken seriously if you do that. I am under no illusion that one trip down there is going to change anything."

Tom fits in his role as a food advocate while also maintaining his career as a chef and Bravolebrity. But that doesn't mean he won't keep showing up and making sure his voice is heard. "No one is paying me to do this, no one pays my expense," he says. "I am doing this because I care; because I think that citizens should be more engaged."

[Source: Roll Call]

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