Mario Batali: How I'm Helping to Feed Orphans

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Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Mario Batali and The Lunchbox Fund Founder Topaz Page Green discuss food and philanthropy with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television's "In The Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)

And the fundamental building block of creating good, smart people, feeding them, allowing them the opportunity to have lunch or dinner or an e-mail.

So i put together a lunchbox fund for feeding south african orphans and underprivileged children.

Of course, because i feel it was an important thing and being part of the food community, i joined.

You created this.

Essentially, there are 12 million people in south africa without regular access to food.

And i am from south africa.

You came here to new york to model -- and other things?


But providing meals to school have a desk create an incentive for kids to attend school.

It is a modest intervention we have, with to change cycles of poverty.

When you were at the special with bobby flay, that was one of the issues that came up, was the issue of hunger.

Not just in south africa but all over the world and in the u.s.. is that sort of the is to -- issue for chefs together around?

It makes sense because we make our living from food.

But what is unusual about hunger , and i guess you can call it -- not a disease, but a problem that is we know the answer.

It is not like we need research.

Hunger is about providing food for children who are in fact hungry.

We have a lot of extra food that we throw away.

It is really a systemic reevaluation of what we do with the food we grow.

That is the easiest way to give the kids the opportunity to grow.

Is it easier to -- don't want to say easier, but in a way is it easier to rally around the issue of hunger versus here in the united states the issue of obesity?

Obesity and hunger go hand- in-hand.

A lot of the children who are quite hungry are obese egos they have high caloric and overprocessed food.

It is really for us about the awareness.

We are not going to individually feed everyone but let everybody know there is a way they can help and that is why the lunch back -- the lunch that fund provided this app.

You send a photo of your meal of cross associate networks and restaurants donate e-mail to a child.

The concept of sharing food.

In a good way.

There is an obsessive group -- group of folks who take a picture of everything and posted.

There is a counterbalance ofchefs you think it is offensive.

And we say, as long as you are not doing flash photography and it is contained, take all the pictures you want.

I am sure they go to your restaurant, marielle, and they take all their it for -- a lot of pictures.

A couple of things i wanted to check to you about specifically.

I know one of your upscale restaurants, you raise the minimum wage for your non-tip workers.

So you weighed in on the debate that swept across the country.

Why did you do this?

We are trying to create an environment at her work were excellent people want to stay.

Although minimum wage, although somewhat livable, is not a thriving opportunity.

We raise them all to $10 at the very minimum.

Kind of to raise awareness but also the good guys an opportunity to make stuff.

Do you feel the restaurant industry has taken advantage for low-wage workers?

I don't think they are taking advantage.

But with the restaurant industry has always offered as an -- an opportunity for someone with no skills to come in and learn a craft.

If you are busting tables or peeling potatoes, you are starting at the bare bottom and eventually you can become the captain, the owner, the shaft.

It is about supply and demand.

There are a lot of people looking for jobs.

That is why the minimum wage is still a little lower than it should be.

And the debate has centered around the world's largest, mcdonald's. i had a chance to speak with the ceo a few months ago.

You and i were talking about the obesity debate.

You know mcdonald's is kind of the beacon for that.

But they were also criticized heavily, mario, for not creating real food.

People believe their food is fake.

This is what he had to say about the criticism.

We think that health is going to be determined by the person he decides to buy that.

I would tell you, yes, more fruit and vegetables is definitely part of our plan in an ongoing fashion.

At the same time, i will tell you a big mac -- two all beef patties, lettuce, pickles, cheese, on a sesame seed bun -- it is all real food.

It is all very fresh food.

Are you willing to defend mcdonald's under food?

He skipped the special sauce.

[laughter] that is the way it goes.

I am not defending anybody -- and to his point, to his credit -- you can't tell the consumer that they have been sucked in it they go to a place like that.

They are going to buy what they recognize as delicious.

They may not recognize it at health -- as healthy but the consumer is in charge.

It is their choice.

Processed food has been proven not to be that good in the long run but the balance is a way the world has to live.

You can have your processed food and then you need to go out and find something that is not.

He got very heated when i started to ask him about the obesity debate because he said, overall, don't forget we actually provide food to billions of people, that we provide low-cost to two people who can't afford it.

Why is that part of the story not as well put out there for mcdonald's versus the other one.

Are you now going to blame the candy bar and cupcake frosting companies question that there is a whole mess of food out there and the consumer has to make their own decision and that is where the nutrition hurdle will be.

Topaz weigh in on that -- what about the mcdonald's in south africa?

I think there is less of a obesity debate.

For most children, it is the lack of access to food whatsoever.

Ok, all right.

Thank you for both of us.

Topaz page green in the lunchbox fund and a tight in at the table, mario batali.

And be sure to check out bloomberg television's take on the advertising revolution on our special premiering this wednesday, "the naked brand." we are so skeptical today.

Clever doesn't work anymore.

Traditional advertising is finished.

The best are the ones who just -- dictate the future and not the ones trying to predict the future.

Is there anywhere i can look that does not have an ad?

The definition has to evolve.

Being a great company is the new brand.

"the naked brand" on bloomberg tv.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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