TED talks on food worth sharing

As a global phenomenon, TED has inspired millions of people through talks on topics as diverse as cultural identity, mindfulness, astro-physics and visual history of industrial America. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) was born in southern California, reaching an audience intrigued by its strapline of ‘Ideas Worth Sharing’. Today TEDx groups around the world are springing up, franchised by the Californians and run by locals bringing these ideas to small towns and cities around the world at affordable prices.

Many of the talks have ranged across the world of food and drink, and here I offer six great talks – some of which are available on the TED website (www.ted.com) and others on You Tube! The topics range from the importance of eating around the table, to genetically engineering food and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. [All photos © TED, except Karen Hickson-Smith © Mike O’Hara]

Karen Hickson-Smith’s relishes meals around the family table

Karen Hickson-Smith changes lives around the family table
Karen Hickson-Smith changes lives around the family table

Speaking at the first TEDx event in Tunbridge Wells in 2015, England Karen Hickson-Smith shares her work and enthusiasm about bringing people together around the table for mealtimes. Inviting young, disadvantaged people into her home, and running the charity Life and Soul, Karen has a compelling story to tell!

Click here to view Karen’s talk

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Jamie Oliver explains his Food Revolution
Jamie Oliver explains his Food Revolution

British chef Jamie Oliver has been sharing his passion for food for years through many fabulously successful cook books TV show, here he takes up a role as an activist and shares his experience of his anti-obesity project in Huntington, West Virginia — and offers a shocking account of the volumes of sugar we eat.

Click here to watch Jamie’s talk.


Marcel Dicke puts insects on the plate

Grasshopper pudding, not everyone's taste, yet!
Grasshopper pudding, not everyone’s taste, yet!

As and ecological entomologist, Marcel Dicke is working to get people to look at insects differently, believing that they can help mitigate the world’s looming food crisis. In this TED talk, Marcel appeals to squeamish chefs and foodies saying delicacies such as  locusts and caterpillars can compete with meat in flavor, nutrition and environmental-friendliness.

Click here to Marcel’s talk.

Dan Barber falls in love with a fish

New York chef Dan Barber
New York chef Dan Barber

Dan Barber is the chef at New York’s Blue Hill restaurant, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester, where he practices a kind of close-to-the-land cooking married to agriculture and stewardship of the earth. Eating a deliciously prepared dish while travelling in Spain kicked off a love affair with fish, which he retells here.

Click here to watch Dan’s talk.

Feeding the world with engineered food

Plant geneticist Pamela Round
Plant geneticist Pamela Round

Plant geneticist Pamela Round seeks commons ground between genetically improved seed and ecologically based farming methods to boost sustainable agriculture.

She studies the genes that make plants more resistant to disease and stress and gives what TED calls an “an eye-opening talk … in her decade-long quest to isolate a gene that allows rice to survive prolonged flooding. She shows how the genetic improvement of seeds saved the Hawaiian papaya crop in the 1990s — and makes the case that modern genetics is sometimes the most effective method to advance sustainable agriculture and enhance food security for our planet’s growing population”.

Click here to watch Pamela’s talk

What’s happening to the bees?

Bee champion, Marla Spivak
Bee champion, Marla Spivak

Bee scholar Marla Spivak (what a great job title!) researches the life and death of the world’s bees in an effort to preserve this threatened, but ecologically essential, insect. Around a decade ago bee colonies around the world began collapsing and dying. Marla’s life world is to seek answers to the pressing global problem.

Click here to watch Marla’s talk

Bruce McMichael

Food writing, discovering food stories, meeting producers, chefs and food enthusiasts are all part of desire to inspire, inform my readers and fellow food lovers. I am a freelance writer, journalist and published author focusing on the international world of food and drink, culture and travel. In 2019 I graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy with a Masters in Food Culture, Communication and Marketing. I am now a visiting Professor at the university teaching Food & Drink Writing. Based in London I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur. In 2017 I won an episode of the ITV (the UK-based national television channel) cooking competition show, 'Gordon Ramsay's Culinary Genius'. I took my children on holiday to Sicily with the prize money. As an experienced farmers' market manager and operator of a small marmalade/ preserves company, I am very familiar with the issues surrounding local food, farming, enterprise and the environment.

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