José Andrés Food Course

Jose Andres
The World on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilization

Course Overview

This course, created by internationally renowned chef José Andrés, surveys the many interfaces of food and society. Mr. Andrés, serving as Special Advisor to The President of The George Washington University on Food Initiatives, focused his creative spirit to structure the topics and the guest lecturers who will broaden the minds and expand the experiences of students who choose to participate with vigor in this initial exploration of an exciting interdisciplinary topic.

In What the Best College Teachers Do, Ken Bain suggests that the opportunities for learning should be presented as “an invitation to a feast.” In this course, we invite you to think deeply about food in its many different roles, e.g., as a critical factor in public health, as an industry, as a science, as the medium of the craft of cooking, and as a political instrument. By the end of the course, you should be able to articulate, both verbally and in writing, how food and its multiple connections with everyday life, as well as with national and international affairs of state, have helped shape civilization. You should also be able to look forward and give advice on the importance of food to the future of a global community with a growing population on a planet with limited resources.

How will you realize this learning?  In addition to interactions with your fellow classmates, with various GW faculty,  guest speakers, and Chef Andrés (who will be participating in several lessons himself), half the course grade derives from a group project to present food or a food issue in a creative way. This report  should be video-recorded with approximately equal presentation time by each team member.

The remaining half of the grade will be determined by your performance on three assignments that you choose from a portfolio of a dozen that correspond to each week’s topic.  To ensure an even distribution of work throughout the assignments, the number of students who can select any given assignment is limited. Two of the three assignments are completed as individuals, and the third by a group of students numbering no more than four.