“Top Chef” star Tom Colicchio has a new gig. He has joined MSNBC as its first food correspondent. The move by MSNBC “marks the first time a national TV news outlet has committed to covering what is known as the food movement on a regular beat.”

The move is also significant as the network contemplates a major shake-up in its news line-up in the face of slumping ratings. Will providing specific programming for those interested in food as a social and political issue entice viewers?

He will be seen with the channel’s lineup of existing political news shows. In addition, he will also host his own weekly half-hour show, “Stirring the Pot,” which will launch this spring on the news outlet’s online channel, Shift.

Colicchio is among a growing group of “chef activists” who are leveraging their celebrity to bring attention to critical issues in the food system. Colicchio has brought public attention to hunger, food labeling and GMOs, and the importance of free school lunch programs.

Stephen Battaglio (@stevebattaglio) from the Los Angeles Times reports:


“This is a big deal,” said author Michael Pollan, whose work has been an influential force in food policy activism. “The fact is that people are deeply engaged by food stories, whether about food safety, nutrition, hunger, animal welfare, public health or the environment. Tom has a sufficiently broad grasp of the issues to connect the dots between food and all these issues.”