Any guesses as to what Alice is whispering in Rachael's ear?
Earlier today, a distinguished panel of "Scientists and Stars" met over lunch to discuss the epidemic of childhood obesity, and more broadly, the general state of food in America. Headlining the event were Alice Waters, Rachael Ray and Jamie Oliver, who qualified as the "star" portion of the event. Each one of the celebs spoke briefly before opening up the floor. Alice Waters provided her standard Edible Schoolyard spiel, though we must say she gave quite the inspiring, fist-pumping speech, coming off nothing like the loopy, pear-seeker seen in the Charlie Rose interview earlier this month. The Chez Panisse matron also reiterated her desire to have a garden in the White House, and stressed the role of the next president in the food revolucion.
Speaking next about childhood obesity was Rachael Ray, who just hosted the Burger Bash last night and is currently playing the questionable role of Dunkin' Donuts spokeswoman. Nonetheless, the reactions from the big luncheon crowd—there were plenty of shrieks and cries of "I love you Rachael!"—really enforce how much of a rock star RR is to so many people, despite her ... reputation among certain folk. In all seriousness, she acknowledged her role as one of Food Network's most child-friendly stars ("I'm kinda cartoon-like") and her new project, the YUM-O foundation. It doesn't have the same sophisticated ring as Alice's Edible Schoolyard and Oliver's School Dinners Project, does it?
Rounding out the starry trinity was Jamie Oliver, who is a spot-on Ricky Gervais voice-twin. The Brit took the podium in a flurry of enthusiasm and explained how great things in the UK are and how behind the curve America is when it comes to everyday food practices, especially with kids. He pretty much ran down the details of how he's succeeded across the pond, wished the US good luck and went on his merry way.
Also on hand were festival head Lee Brian Schrager, The Today Show's Joy Bauer, Arthur Agatston (author of The South Beach Diet), Harvard Med School's David Ludwig (who shared the gory particulars of liver failure, hepatitis and sclerosis; the perfect complement to a slightly-hungover meal) and the USDA's Nancy Johner, who was there proudly representing the government. We're fairly certain Alice had some words of advice for the USDA lady.
Complete coverage from South Beach Food & Wine Festival can be had here.