'Top Chef' judge talks hunger issues on Capitol Hill

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But before turning on a blender to whip up a congressional dinner, Colicchio took to the Rayburn House Office Building this week to raise awareness about hunger in the United States. The TV personality and restaurant owner is urging lawmakers to vote against the 2013 farm bill if it contains any cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the food stamp program.


“Too often we’re conditioned in this country to think of hunger and view hunger as something that only happens in the third world,” Colicchio told The Hill.

It was a return trip to the nation’s capital for Colicchio and his wife, director Lori Silverbush. The pair was in Washington earlier this year for the premiere of their documentary, “A Place at the Table,” which follows the lives of a few of the millions of Americans who are chronically hungry.

“We need to be collectively ashamed that 50 million Americans in this country are hungry and that they can’t feed their families,” the culinary whiz said.

Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), who appeared in Colicchio’s documentary, was also on hand at Wednesday’s event.

“I just believe that food ought to be a right for people. I never thought that it was such a radical idea until I got elected to Congress. There’s a fight coming up in the next couple weeks and we need to push back,” McGovern said of the farm bill in remarks to the crowd.

Other lawmakers eyed include: Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas).

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