Special Sauce: Michel Nischan on Butch Cassidy and the Fight for Good Food

20170608-Michel-Nischan-Tom-Hopkins.jpeg[Photograph: Tom Hopkins. Spring vegetable photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

Last week's episode of Special Sauce ended with Michel Nischan and I discussing his groundbreaking restaurant, Heartbeat, and his efforts to serve food that was healthy yet nevertheless delicious.

This week we pick up where we left off and talk about how his work at the restaurant led him to strike up a friendship and ultimately a partnership with Paul Newman. Michel and Newman hit it off immediately, in part because Michel hadn't seen any of his movies. "One day he finally said, 'Have you seen any of my movies?' I said, 'I've seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.'" Newman looked at him a moment and then replied, "I knew I liked you for a reason."

Newman eventually urged Michel to found the nonprofit, Wholesome Wave, the goal of which is to increase access to healthy, locally and regionally grown food in underserved communities. Michel discusses the nonprofit's remarkable growth, and describes—with much-deserved pride—its accomplishments, like influencing the 2014 Farm Bill for the better.

There's a whole lot more to our discussion, including Michel's thoughts on ways to get involved in fighting for important food policy issues, and of course the usual grab-bag of Special Sauce questions. I do hope you listen; Michel is doing admirable work.

Special Sauce is available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Soundcloud, Player FM, and Stitcher. You can also find the archive of all our episodes here on Serious Eats and on this RSS feed.

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