In January I pulled off a “Julie & Julia” stunt.

Like in the Nora Ephron movie, where a woman finds herself by cooking all the recipes in Julia Childs’ first book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and blogging about it, I set out to at least discover if I could create one of the recipes from “Iron Chef Super Battle.”

Fresh produce should grab the spotlight

Chuck Robinson
Media Watch

That program featured White House chef Cristeta Comerford and chef Bobby Flay in a cook off against chefs Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse.

I thought White House broccoli soup turned out better than anyone should have expected of me.

The “secret ingredient” for the Iron Chef showdown, as the first lady explained at the outset of the program, was anything from the White House Garden.

My sails are a little deflated by the silliness about the source of the produce actually cooked in Kitchen Stadium.

The episode, first airing Jan. 3, mentioned repeatedly that the White House Garden was providing the bounty.

However, in mid-January a Food Network spokeswoman admitted the chefs were cooking produce from other sources.

Even so, I am still stoked that the episode put a spotlight on produce. I’m not the only one.

“I am always happy to hear about the mass media talking more about the exciting world of produce and hopefully encourage America to eat more healthier this year,” Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, said in an e-mail conversation.

I was disappointed, however, that it was Glad, the plasticware maker, that seemed to be the biggest advertiser on the episode and that the Bounty paper towel logo was affixed on the floating on-screen timer.

Welch’s was selling grape juice and Weight Watchers its lifestyle choice.

Where was produce?

I think having Miss Chiquita’s face next to the on-screen timer would have been much cooler, or Fresh Express’ bright logo.

How about the actor playing the Dole Salad Guide?

Perhaps Food Network sales staffers didn’t inform potential produce company advertisers that the show was produce focused.

Regardless, it seems not many fresh produce companies have produce ads on mainstream media.

I know weather and other factors affect what produce companies have to sell, but supply gaps seem to be disappearing as global sourcing increases.

Big players in produce generally seem to avoid taking leading mass media roles. If they didn’t duck the challenge, I feel they could change the world, lead it to eating much more healthfully, and make more than a few bucks doing so.


What's your take on the White House garden produce and produce advertising? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.