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    Talking About Our Generation

    September 20, 2010 •  4 comments.

     •  Blog, News

    Submitted by Sonia Hunt of Noie Productions September 20, 2010

    You say you want a revolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world.

    Sound familiar? There are many people out there that want to revolutionize or even revolt in some way, shape or form. I continue to see and read countless articles on childhood obesity, health issues, food recalls and food allergies but don’t see much on the execution part. The words are choice, but to me the part of this song that resonates more is:

    You say you’ve got a real solution
    Well, you know
    We’d all love to see the plan.

    I don’t believe aren’t enough creative thinkers or executers for this food revolution to do things differently and actually make change. Celebrity Chefs like Jamie Oliver have embarked what he calls a food revolution and even has a TV show and celebrity power around it. But what difference is being made? The heart of the platform is to educate and empower as many people as possible to love and enjoy good food. Sounds fine and dandy but what if these same people cannot afford the ingredients needed to cook that healthy food because they live in low-income neighborhoods where no organic farmer’s market nor large-chain supermarket are willing to put in a store, but ten fast food joints are. To me, this platform to make these healthy foods affordable seems to come before the teaching how to cook part.

    Platforms. I still have a few pair in my closet. And like the shoe, they can be pretty but you may need to sashay around the block in them a few times before really getting noticed. With 31 food allergies in all types of flavors, I got fed up with the way things are running in the restaurant industry, after a local one sent me rushing to the ER for my life in 2008 and decided to take a new direction and do something.

    My company has created a new Food+Life/Style web series (http://soniahunt.com) featuring innovative and emerging chefs, winemakers and mixologists, shooting ethnic and global cuisines; spicy food that definitely contains many ingredients that even I’m allergic to. Its targeted towards a young generation of what I called a budding ‘Food Nerd’, like myself. These nerds want to eat their Banh Mi and if you tell them you’re cooking it in peanut oil, you won’t need a food critic to give you 1 start and shut down your business. Their social media tweets will do that for you. Because of my food allergies, should I not enjoy the foods everyone else does? Why do people not know the difference between a peanut and a nut? How can I utilize my story to train an industry, drive change and still enjoy all the foods I want? This was my goal.

    When I meet with chefs to discuss shooting a story, immediately they are very intrigued by my list of food allergies and I become their ‘little project’. From peanuts to corn to avocado, one-by-one they don’t understand how I eat for a living. And these incredibly talented people not only have become dear friends to me, but also actually keep my allergy list in their restaurant’s kitchen so that rest assured I could eat without busting out the EpiPen. And their mind’s creativity revels as they create and re-create dishes so that I can also eat the same thing on the menu as everyone else and not feel awkward. It’s a very personalized experience in which we all learn and grow, together and mainly have fun in the process. And I get to shoot it all on camera.

    So I’ve chosen a path and even if one-chef-at-a-time, my platform looks not only to inform but in a personalized way, ‘influence’ these culinary artisans into actually ‘doing’ things differently. Things like adding ingredients lists to menus, creating allergen-free versions of the same dishes on their menus for patrons (w/notification of course), educating staff about ingredients, food allergies and the differences between a peanut and a nut and a level of service. It may sound rudimentary at first, but you’d be surprised that most restaurants do not do this today and what a difference it could make.

    I do this in the hopes to change the way the restaurant industry views and treats food allergies, so all the kids out there with issues can be rest assured and have a wonderful meal, just like everyone else. And you know, its gonna be, all right. How are you helping make change in this #foodrevolution? Love to hear from ya!

    Sonia Hunt is the Founder+CEO of Noie Productions, LLC, an independent media production company spawning organic, innovative & chic culinary media. Watch the trailer to her new Food+Life/Style series at http://soniahunt.com

      4 Responses to “Talking About Our Generation”

      1. Dear Reader,Editor,
        As I am feeling rather winded up by the comments made towards Jamie Oliver hard work and efforts to bring something constructive to peoples and children minds ,whatever background they might be/from/have I am trying to figure out the basis and the meaning of your focus.
        I find astonishing that such poor judgment and comment is made /posted and agreed with, so only argument might be pulled out from it ,when our children, your children are lacking of education ,the very basis and root of many troubles these days in our society.
        Not much is build around without it.
        The restaurant industry is way more complex , it is often working in seasonal way, with fresh product, with schools, hospitality students and all sort of converted gents ( I have seen brokers from Wall Street coming into kitchens wishing to find stress free environment but still willing to work for the best, with the best….are you getting the idea?)
        To me? Competition, this is what it seems to be, a battle of elbows, without any scrupules ….. I am sorry to say that I find the argument on this post based on nothing else but guess, ego self feeding nonsense ,however I am normally enjoying Sonia’s blogs …this time ,she’s let us/me your children down and sincerely wish for the mistake to be realised before more chefs and others who have worked and fought long enough to keep on the tradition in/and making sure that you eat well, before all realise that it has been all effortless;
        This is an industry where no fake is allowed, you may not lie to a customer, if it does happen, your may be fighting it and helpingyourself/us by never returning…that is your best weapon.
        Critics are for food critics, and it would take much guts way above knowledge and experience to attack a person directly simply for the sake of it by using analogy comparing Jamie’s work with a shoe collection.
        Not bravo…

      2. Tonight Channel 4 ….10pm Jamie’s American Food Revolution where he tries to persuade Huntington,the least healthy US city to eat better.But children don’t seem interested and its not clear whether the school will let him continue…
        You decide

      3. Daniel,

        Thank you for your comments. Apparently you have not read my article or you would have a different opinion. I am discussing different food platforms that are out there today, including what I am doing to make change in the food industry. It in no way states what Jamie Oliver is doing is wrong or bad. I am asking the question of ‘is it making a difference’? Everyone is entitled to their opinion on this question, including yourself. There are many things that everyone can do to make change and it starts at a basic level. There is no competition when we are all working towards the same goal. Thus again, I don’t believe you have read my article and understand my statements.

        Without affordable and healthy food for people, how can they cook more healthy? They may be swayed to eat fast food because they feel they do not have a choice. There is much work to do in the restaurant industry as well and the chefs that I have been working with are making that change, which is great! My platform is around making a change in the way food allergies are viewed and taken care of in the food & restaurant industry. And my company is doing that, even if but one person at a time.

      4. Hi Sonia,
        I appreciate you getting back to me on my unhappy comment re your article. I do support your company and whatever you might be involved with as it is food (and allergies) related and that I am your number one fan for your efforts brought into the industry….One may simply not go on slagging off this great piece of work that Jamie is producing at the moment. As I am watching the program on channel 4 while our misshaps is taking place and I am submerged with all sorts of feelings that might be surrounding the issue. submerged! We all do need to pay our bills at the end of the day but as no none is cooking at all , the question of how can they cook more healthy is answering itself….simply by starting to cook (really that is all that the message is saying, nothing else)
        A boy of 13 years old was represented awaiting for the results of his diabetes test (which turned out to be negative thanks god) but the doctor at the clinic in Huntington informed his parents who have a history of the illness that if the boy was diagnosed positive at his age , would not have a chance of seing his 40’s….
        Support, please do so with your platform,it is a great tool you have in your hands, so please do use it wisely and you will be able to help even more than one person at the time but hundreds…
        Happy allergen free cooking!

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