Chef Michel Nischan: Healthy Food for All Incomes

Dec 10, 2013

Michel Nischan at TEDx Manhattan 2011.
Credit TEDx Manhattan/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: As Republican leaders seek further cuts to food stamp benefits, Connecticut chef Michel Nischan is rowing hard in the opposite direction. His Wholesome Wave organization has been a leader in the movement to double the value of food stamps when purchasing fruits and vegetables at farmers markets.

Based in Bridgeport, Ct., it is Wholesome Wave's mission to make healthy food more available to low-income populations, fostering a link between these under-served communities and local farmers.

Nischan is co-founder with the late Paul Newman of the Dressing Room restaurant in Westport, Ct. It was Newman who urged Nischan to create his non-profit when he heard the chef's passion for delivering healthy food to low income citizens.

Michel Nischan's story is one of several highlighted in a new CPTV documentary, Give It All Away: Newman's Own Recipe for Success. The show premieres on CPTV, Tuesday, December 17, at 8pm. Rebroadcasts can be seen December 20 at 8:30pm, December 22 at 10am, December 25 at 6:30pm, and December 29 at 11pm.

Nischan's Wholesome Wave is one of many projects in Connecticut and elsewhere funded from the profits of Newman's Own products, through the Newman's Own Foundation.

We talk with chef Nischan about Newman's vision and legacy, and about food policy in America. Food has become an ideological battleground between Republicans and Democrats, and while First Lady Michele Obama has brought significant attention to healthy eating, Republicans have succeeded in lowering food stamp benefits as homeless shelter and soup kitchen populations explode. The battleground is over what programs should be on the table when making budget cuts to lower the nation's deficit. Meanwhile, as the policy debate continues, many in America, especially children, are hungry.

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  • Michel Nischan is owner and founder of Dressing Room: A Homegrown Restaurant and president and CEO of Wholesome Wave Foundation.


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