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Mark Bittman Launches Online Food Series and TV Show on KCET | KCET


Mark Bittman Launches Online Food Series and TV Show on KCET

New York Times' Mark Bittman

Says CALIFORNIA MATTERS When It Comes to Food

In Online Series Launching July 7 on 

Online Series to Culminate in TV Special this Fall


The University of California Global Food Initiative and Berkeley Food Institute Partner with KCET on Upcoming TV Series Focused on Food-Related Research


BURBANK & BERKELEY, Calif. - July 7, 2015 - KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent, non-profit, public broadcast and digital network, has joined forces with the University of California (UC) and the Berkeley Food Institute to present CALIFORNIA MATTERS WITH MARK BITTMAN, which launches online today at, and will debut as a television special this fall. The online site and the television program will follow the respected food writer, author and New York Times columnist in a 10-part web series that takes the renowned food pundit across the state to explore leading research in food and health policies as well as sustainable agriculture by several University of California campuses.

UC and its Global Food Initiative is producing the video series in collaboration with the Berkeley Food Institute where Mark Bittman was a distinguished visiting fellow this spring. Each of the five to eight-minute episodes of CALIFORNIA MATTERS WITH MARK BITTMAN will take a look at a wide range of topics including wild edibles, the history of Chinese­American food, labor justice issues with restaurant workers and a peek into what we can expect from dining experiences in the future.

"KCETLink Media Group is proud to present CALIFORNIA MATTERS WITH MARK BITTMAN in order to share with our viewers the huge impact that California has on the nation's food resources," said Senior Vice President of Content Development and Production of KCETLink Media Group Juan Devis."We are pleased to partner with such influential organizations as the University of California and the Berkeley Food Institute in order to amplify their important food research regarding sustainability and nutrition to the Southern California community."

New episodes will run every two weeks at the dedicated online content hub at will also present an array of programming to provide a comprehensive look at issues around food, underscoring California's centrality to the global food discourse. The online hub will host exclusive web content featuring interviews with respected food, farming and nutrition experts interviewed by Bittman as well as related news stories and television segments from popular KCET television news programs.

Bittman is a journalist, one of the country's best known food writers, and author of 14 books, including the bestselling "How to Cook Everything." He has been the recipient of International Association of Culinary Professionals, Julia Child, and James Beard awards for his writing. Bittman writes on food policy and cooking for the opinion section of the New York Times. His most recent book, ​"VB6,"​debuted at #1 on the ​New York Times ​bestseller list. He is also the author of ​"A Bone to Pick," ​a new book that takes a look at the most pressing issues in food and sustainability.

The schedule* for CALIFORNIA MATTERS WITH MARK BITTMAN is as follows:


 "Take a Walk on the Wild (Edibles) Side"

Follow Mark Bittman as he takes a walk on the wild side with two UC Berkeley researchers as they pick and taste edible weeds from the streets of Oakland. By collecting data on their interactive website,Philip Stark and Tom Carlson want to boost awareness about urban foraging and the nutritional value of wild edibles found throughout neighborhoods in the East Bay. Mark also chats with Bob Cannard, a trailblazing farmer who teaches students, aspiring farmers and gardeners how to cultivate weeds by building up good soil and shares his bounty with restaurants like Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

"Chowing Down on Chinese-American History"

Take a tour with Mark Bittman through the history of Chinese-American cuisine with his guide, UC Irvine's Yong Chen, author of "Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America." While strolling through Los Angeles' storied Chinatown, Yong describes the significance of these urban "food towns" to Chinese immigrants at the turn of the last century. Now, the culinary zeitgeist has moved to crowded suburban enclaves east of L.A. like the San Gabriel Valley and points further south in Irvine. Yong and Mark chat about this current wave of Chinese cuisine -- and its future -- over boba tea and stinky tofu at a colorful Taiwanese café.


 "Looking Behind the Kitchen Door"

Brunch with Mark Bittman as he sits down with Saru Jayaraman at the Manifesto Café in Los Angeles. They discuss her pioneering work as co-founder and co-director of ROC United (Restaurant Opportunities Centers United) and as Director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley. Saru is also the author of "Behind the Kitchen Door," which explores labor justice issues among restaurant workers.


 "What Oysters Reveal About Acidic Waters"

Head out with Mark Bittman as he braves the elements and cruises along the waters off of Marshall, CA. UC Davis researchers are helping local food producers like Hog Island Oyster Farm monitor the effects of ocean acidification on the marine ecosystem. Their partnership has become a model experiment that has gained regional and national interest and support.

"What's the Buzz About Native Pollinators?"

Hang out with Mark Bittman at the organic Full Belly Farm in Guinda, CA. UC Berkeley's Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist and faculty co-director of the Berkeley Food Institute, is an expert in pollination and diversified farming techniques. As they survey the scenic farm that spans acres of blooming flowers and seasonal vegetables, Claire explains why it's important to use native pollinators -- especially wild honeybees -- for crops.


 "Serving Up School Lunches of Tomorrow"

Step into the school cafeteria with Mark Bittman as he learns about the "Future Dining Experience," a new initiative that aims to engage kids to eat more healthful meals. Dr. Kristine Madsen of the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program is evaluating many aspects of a pilot project at the Roosevelt Middle School, part of the San Francisco Unified School District, including a USDA-funded "SmartMeal" app, special vending machines and mobile food carts.


 "Keeping a Watchful Eye on Farm Families' Health"

Venture out into the fields of Salinas with Mark Bittman as he interviews UC Berkeley's Brenda Eskenazi. She leads the CHAMACOS study, which follows children born between 2000-2002 and assesses the impact of chemicals and other factors in the environment and children's long-term health.


 "Digging into the Roots of Organic Farming on Campus"

Tag along with Mark Bittman as he explores the lush 30-acre farm at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Since 1967, the institution has offered a hands-on apprenticeship program to people from all walks of life who are eager to hone their gardening skills. Mark talks with Daniel Press, the Executive Director of the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and Tim Galarneau, the Community-Engaged Education Coordinator at CASFS, about the program's history, research and how their produce has made its way into the school's dining halls.


 "Meet the Changing Faces of California Agriculture"

Join Mark Bittman as he talks to UC Berkeley's Jennifer Sowerwine, who studies the cultural and ethnic dimensions of food security among Hmong farmers in the Central Valley. Sowerwine meets with three farmers in Sanger, CA to advise on food safety practices and learn how the drought has been affecting their crops. She and Mark also pay a visit to the Berkeley Farmers' Market to peruse the produce at one of their stalls.


 "Why California Really Does Matter"

Final Episode - a summation of Mark Bittman's experience in California, including his commentary on the drought. This episode will reveal Mark's future plans, if any, with the University of California.


*The above schedule is subject to change.


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Ariel Carpenter for KCETLink Media Group                     Temi Adamolekun for University of California                                            

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