South O’ the Highway

Tom Colicchio: ‘For the Record, I Love Pizza’

In response to a Bloomberg Business article on junk food and the pizza lobby, celebrity chef and Mattituck resident Tom Colicchio took the Facebook Wednesday to clarify his stance on pizza.

The article stated, “And in the popular imagination, no less than First Lady Michelle Obama and Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio, though they claim to love the stuff, have emerged as enemies of pizza in their push for healthier school lunches.”

The article goes on to quote from Colicchio’s 2010 testimony to Congress, when he said, “I hear people say, ‘We would like to improve the school lunch program, but the kids, all they want to do is eat pizzas and burgers.’ We are adults here. It is up to us to do better.”

Colicchio wrote on Facebook Wednesday, “For the record, I love pizza.”

He points out that he includes pizza on he menu at his restaurant, Colicchio & Sons, and that the Colicchio name is associated with the first take-out pizza in Italy. And he lets his kids eat it at parties or when there’s just no time to cook.

“I am an advocate for healthier lunches in school,” he writes. “Thirty million children, half of them living in households at or below the poverty line, rely on breakfast and lunch programs for the bulk of their daily calories and nutrition. Government (and therefore taxpayers) spend about 16 billion dollars in reimbursements and commodity payments each year to run these programs. Big food wants a larger piece of that pie (pardon the pun). I don’t think they should be the ones deciding what our kids eat for lunch.

“I advocate for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to play a larger role in our kids’ diets. As adults, we have a responsibility to ensure that school lunch is nutritious and healthy. Pizza is fine, but I think we should leave the decision of how much and how often up to parents.”

Colicchio recently joined MSNBC as the network’s first food correspondent and will report on food policy.

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