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Chipolte’s Cultivating Thought Round Two Adds Authors Alvarez, Tan, Coelho

January 28, 2015


Still no Mexican authors at Chipolte Mexican Grill…

The fast food chain Chipolte Mexican Grill prides itself on offering fresh, quality food and beverages in a thoughtful and thought-provoking wrapper.

Last year, Chipolte introduced “The Cultivating Thought Author Series.”  Author Jonathan Safran Foer came up with the idea and serves as its curator; Foer describes the process on the Chipolte website.

Foer invited a somewhat diverse group of folks to participate, folks like Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison, comic Sarah Silverman, and award winning journalists Sheri Fink and Malcolm Gladwell plus six white guys (at least they look white guys).

No one even vaguely Mexican. or Latino. At least not that I could tell.

Among those who criticized the lack of diversity was poet, novelist, and essayist Michele Serros who died recently of cancer.

But it would be unlike Michele to only criticize. Michele made a public case out of it. So public that she and Anna Bermudez, curator of collections at the Museum of Ventura County decided to rectify the situation: “We invite you to utilize a simple paper cup or paper bag as a canvas to express your own compelling cuento/story,” said Bermudez. People wrote their own “cuento cups” –told their own stories on a cup and displayed them in October at the Ventura County Museum of Art (call for submissions here).

CultivatingThought2Bags__0013_Tan14Now Chipolte has announced their next round of authors, and while it is a more diverse group, there are still no Mexicans in the mix.

Amy Tan (yes you should go read this link now, very funny, excellent)

Barbara Kingsolver (one of my favorite authors and not just because she was a biologist before she was a novelist)

CultivatingThought2Bags__Alvarez14And Julia Alvarez, a Latina from the Dominican Republic.

When asked why she participated, Alvarez said, “I also thought it was important as a Latina to add my voice to this series, so it’s not just our food being served at Chipotle, but also our arts—which we all vitally need to nourish the spirit and open wide the heart.”

Please go read the story by Julia Alvarez: you can read it in two minutes. Now.

The list also includes Carlos Ruiz Zafon  who was born in Spain in 1964 and lives in LA and Barcelona and Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho (go read his lovely short piece). And five white guys.

Maybe next time they’ll find a Mexican author. Because while I’m giving them grief for who they are choosing, the works are wonderful and it’s a really wonderful project that I hope will continue with great success.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Suzy permalink
    January 29, 2015 4:14 am

    Wow. Just: Wow. This is something I look forward to reading about further. I hadn’t heard about Chipotle’s series. And I will check out your links to the essays tonight when I get home from work. Thank you for sharing this.

    (I found you via the Your Turn Challenge group on FB.)

  2. January 29, 2015 4:49 pm

    You are welcome! Glad you came by! The series offers some really great reads but I hope that they will offer more diverse readings next time…

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