José Andrés, one of the world’s most acclaimed and influential chefs, will teach his first course at GW next semester.
The 43-year-old Spanish culinary icon is considered larger-than-life in the restaurant world. He will help teach a course called “The World on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilization,” the University announced Monday. It will be open to 230 undergraduate and graduate students.
Andrés will teach “some” classes in the 1.5 credit course, according to a release. Classes will focus on examining the connections between food and society, including the history of food, issues of hunger and obesity, and food and national security.
GW faculty and guest lecturers will teach the rest of the classes, with a line-up of lecturers that includes Andrew Zimmeran, the host the Travel Channel series “Bizarre Foods,” along with federal food officials.
Classes will be held Mondays from 4 to 5:20 p.m. in Jack Morton Auditorium.
“Eating is the one thing, besides breathing, that we all do from the day we are born until the day we die. Food is that thread that runs through the fabric of society,” Andrés said in a release. “I could not be more proud than to bring this idea – an education course focused on the power of food and how it changes the world – to life here at GW.”
Andrés was also named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people this year. His legion of five top D.C.-area restaurants include minibar and Jaleo, which often serves First Lady Michelle Obama. He also won the James Beard Award last year, the top U.S. honor for a chef.
The Spain native has already built ties with GW, sitting on its urban food task force, which promotes sustainable food production, healthy eating and food policy. He’s also worked with the School Without Walls, the public high school on the Foggy Bottom Campus, to create a food and nutrition curriculum.
Andrés is not a novice in higher education. In 2010, he co-taught a course in culinary physics at Harvard University, and he still lectures in its public series on cooking.
“José Andrés is internationally renowned both as a culinary innovator and a visionary humanitarian,” University President Steven Knapp said in a release. “We are delighted that this new course will bring his passion for connecting food and education to our students.”
It will be the second consecutive spring semester that a high-profile figure will teach at GW. Last year, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke taught a lecture series to undergraduates in the GW School of Business.
Denis Cioffi, director of GW’s Teaching and Learning Collaborative, who will oversee the course, called it a chance for students “to discuss critical decisions that need to be made regarding food.”
“This class helps make connections between disciplines often viewed in isolation – like science, history, culture, politics and security – and will encourage problem-solving on multiple levels,” Cioffi said.