SXSW Panel Recap: Influencing Food Culture & Policy Through Film & TV

Celebrity chefs discuss sustainability and Bourdain’s anthropology

“Compelling storytelling can be one of the great ways to change the world," said Matthew Odam, the restaurant critic and features writer for the Austin American-Statesman, while moderating a panel on Monday.

(l-r): Matthew Odam, Tyson Cole, Matt Moran, Lydia Tenaglia (Photo by John Anderson)

Odam spoke with local chef and restaurateur Tyson Cole (Uchi), Australian chef and restaurateur Matt Moran, and Lydia Tenaglia, co-founder of Zero Point Zero Productions (which has created lauded culinary series like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Mind of a Chef, and Wasted! The Story of Food Waste), about how food culture affects film and television.

Cole, who appeared in Sushi: The Global Catch, spoke about the important role media plays in informing the public about issues of sustainability. He said, "I don’t know how many people in America even know what sustainability is, and they need to know if we’re going to have fish in a hundred years." Moran, who has been on several different TV series and served as a judge on MasterChef Australia and The Great Australian Bake Off, said with a smile that, thanks to media, “everybody's an expert when it comes to food these days.” He was quick to follow with the sentiment that “knowledge is great and the more we can give it to the public, the better it is for us.”

Tenaglia, who has been working with Bourdain on various shows for the past 18 years, says she originally recruited the young chef for the series A Cook's Tour before he’d even had much travel experience. The resulting show fit right in with their company mission to create content that helps connect humanity. “Food is the entry point, but really it’s about what’s happening around it,” said Tenaglia. “These are stories about people and places. Now [Bourdain’s] become a cultural anthropologist more than anything.”

Influencing Food Culture & Policy Through Film & TV

Monday, March 12, JW Marriott Austin

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