Chef Spike Mendelsohn will chair the newly created food policy council in Washington, D.C., leading the effort to increase collaboration between groups working on food issues in the city. Legislation creating the advisory committee was passed last fall, and the city will also appoint a food policy director and 13 total voting members.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser made the chairman appointment on Thursday, February 26, 2015. “Spike’s leadership will be a tremendous asset to the D.C. Food Policy Council,” said Mayor Bowser. “The District’s food landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade. Policy makers, non-profit service providers, and other sectors of the food system should be equal partners in our efforts to create a nourished D.C. I look forward to Spike’s leadership and expertise as we work collectively to transform our food system.”
Mendelsohn owns several restaurants in Washington, D.C., including his most recent “Béarnaise” on Capitol Hill, and is a supporter of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. Perhaps best known for placing fifth on the fourth season of Top Chef, the restaurateur has appeared as a guest on other television shows, started a lunchtime kosher food truck project, and published “The Good Stuff Cookbook” in 2010.
Emphasizing individual behavior rather than food environments, Mendelsohn believes that "food choice and preparation starts at home. Families decide what's on the menu at home based on what's offered at the supermarkets. If more families were educated on the impact of food choice, I think that we could reduce obesity and other food-related illnesses." The council will form four working groups: local food business and labor development; food equity, access, and health and nutrition education; sustainable procurement of locally grown food; and urban agriculture and food system education.