Voices In Food: Amplifying Important Conversations For Change

Forces in the food world, in their own words.

Every person who’s a part of the food industry is a direct reflection of our society, from those who grow our food to the cooks in the kitchen who plate it.

Voices In Food is a series that highlights important voices of people working in food who are working toward change. The folks featured talk about the intersection between race, sex and culture with food, the treatment of workers in the labor force, sobriety and much more.

Check back as we feature more of these game changers who are shaping our future.

CJ Bernal opened the Dawn Butterfly Café in Taos Pueblo to honor his late sister and generate funds for art programs.
Lydia Richards, co-founder of Hispanics in Wine, has an easy task for you.
The renowned cook reveals her thoughts — and has an open mind about who should be able to cook food from her culture.
Richard Sandoval is changing the perception of Mexican food around the world.
Samantha Fore talks about her identity as both a Sri Lankan and a Southerner, and how we can we make the culinary industry more accessible to women of color.
Ria Montes on her passion for Filipino food and her simultaneous fear of being pigeonholed to that cuisine.
How Jessica Bengston views the "mantle of leadership" of LGBTQ chefs such as herself.
Tara Monsod, the executive chef of Animae, talks about being a gay Asian woman in a professional restaurant kitchen.
Chef Roshara Sanders shares what needs to happen in the hospitality industry to make it LGBTQ-hospitable.
How Mogan Anthony is opening up American palates to Southeast Asian flavors.
Ria Montes on her passion for Filipino food and her simultaneous fear of being pigeonholed to that cuisine.
The Monster Pho restaurant owner shares what many get wrong about refugees and how his background has fueled his passion to help others in need.
Owner Jenny Nguyen talks about the need for queer spaces, the positive effects of supporting trans athletes and how she believes women’s sports will “blow up.”
Amie Ward is making the hospitality industry healthier and safer for its workers and patrons. Here's how.
Dominique Leach built her own business from scratch with talent, hard work and ambition — and it didn't come without its challenges.
The New Orleans-based chef talks about standing out, fitting in and challenging perceptions.
The BLK+Vegan creator dispels myths about veganism that exist both within the Black community and outside it.
The owner of one of the first alcohol-free bars in the U.S. provides a safe haven from the pressures of drinking.
The Oregon-based chef is countering the stereotypical bad-boy persona of chefs by openly championing sobriety.
The author of "Good Drinks" has set out to normalize not drinking alcohol. Here's what she thinks is working and what could still improve.
Despite the holiday's tragic beginnings, chef Crystal Wahpepah says it's also a "celebration of how we honor our ancestors."
Inez Cook explains why you don't see a lot of Indigenous restaurants, but also why you should.
Angie Comeaux shares what her version of agriculture looks like and what most Americans get wrong about Thanksgiving.
Chef Angel Medina is decolonizing Mexican cuisine in America, serving a history lesson with each plate.
Less than 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses are men. Here's what Peter Botros wants everyone to take away from his experience.
The Colombian and Guatemalan founders of Quintal Coffee explain how the coffee industry was "stolen away from the origin." They have plans to get it back.
For Enrique Limardo, being a successful chef is both an opportunity to foster new talent and to feed those most in need.
Vermont state Sen. Brian Campion shares the upsetting testimonials that prompted his state to pass a bill that feeds kids and develops the local economy, too.
Many of these school employees quietly go above and beyond what’s in their job description. Stacey Truman shows what that looks like.
Dan Giusti is changing the way institutions like schools, prisons and senior centers think about food. Here's what he's learned so far.
Matt Safarowic shares his struggles to overcome anxiety and addiction on the path to becoming a restaurant owner.
Turkish-born chef Ahu Hettema shares how the kitchen helped her heal.
Zia Sheikh has been through it all, and now he provides free and affordable counseling resources to hospitality workers with his nonprofit, Restaurant After Hours.
Chef and cookbook author Leanne Brown shares what feeding herself looks like during one of the hardest times of her life.
Plus: Are kitchen uniforms as we know them inherently unfair?
Chef and food personality Jake Cohen shares the pressures and responsibilities that come along with representing your community.
The founder of Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society shares how teaching others to cook in jail served as her protective shield.
Decades after immigrating from Vietnam, Dan Minh Vu is finally making the handmade traditional rice noodles he came to the United States to share.
Akash Patel, owner of Akash Winery, shares what it's like to build a winery from scratch and the importance of representation in the industry.
Thuy Pham, a hairstylist turned chef, shares how she morphed a great idea into a successful business during the pandemic.
Born in a Thai refugee camp, Hmong American chef Yia Vang sticks to his roots and his parents’ treasured recipes — so please don’t ask him for vegan sausage.
The pitmaster praises the barbecue circuit, discussing her experience navigating a male-dominated culinary world.
"I think moving forward, the conversation around barbecue has to be about recognition, about the contribution of people who aren’t getting their due."
Amy Mills, heiress to 17th Street Barbecue, talks about the business of barbecue and why meat shouldn't fall off the bone.
Tiffany Capri Hainesworth made a major life change after a long career working in the government.
Daryl Shular wants to rethink how cooking is taught — and who’s leading the kitchen.
The founder of Harlem Brewing Company turned a home-brewing adventure into a business that brings people from different cultures together.
Phyllis Johnson, founder of the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity, is on a mission to tell the whole story about representation in the coffee industry.
Fanerra Dupree, co-owner of Black Nile, says, "Sometimes we're not Black American enough and sometimes not Muslim enough."
This young woman honors her community’s generational contributions to the aquaculture industry while breaking gender and race barriers.
Chef and farmer Matthew Raiford talks about preserving African American cooking and farming.
Nancy Lyons from Feeding Westchester shares how different food insecurity looks today.
Learn how this skilled seed-to-table cook supports her community and fights to keep her culture alive.
Oaxacan food activist Neftalí Durán thinks the food system as it stands is bound for a reckoning.
Chef Philip Esteban is helping to feed underserved communities during the pandemic, while also introducing them to Filipino food.
Areli Barrera Grodski started out with $75 and has grown her business exponentially, but the Latina shares her many challenges, from representation to racism.
Imagine what it's like to rely on lip reading, and then everyone covers their face with a mask. Jamie Michelson shares her story.
Lorena Vasquez was the only woman among 200 men at the rum brand. Here's how she earned her success.
Her neighborhood business will serve food made in-house daily by Asian elders, including her own mother.
The Southern Latina reflects on the importance of celebrating the differences between the 21 Latin countries and their foodways.
The Kenyan talks about how she empowers women in the culinary industry.
The former kid contestant is grown up now, and discusses the “reality” of televised cooking shows and where it's landed her today.
The cook, who appeared on Season 1 of the hit TV show, opened up about her current relationship with reality television and more.
Lauren Von Der Pool reacts to the haters: "Either you’re going to love all of me or you’re not. That’s fine by me."
The executive chef opened up about how setbacks led to the long-lasting success of her catering company.
The chef also shared why the current state of restaurant affairs isn’t as bad as we all think it is.
The Afro-Honduran baker gets candid about his heritage, being the target of racial slurs and his frustration with European baked goods.
The chef and owner of New York’s Fat Choy sees food as a way to unite cultures, not divide them.
The CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods gets real about what he believes to be the roots of the problem.
The cookbook author sheds light on harsh business realities in the AAPI community -- and shares what we can do to help.
Josey shares his experience of living with autism and encouraging people with disabilities to pursue their dreams.
Nasrin Rejali now has her own business, thanks to help from refugee-focused organizations. Here's how she did it.
Founder Fawn Weaver is honoring the untold history of Jack Daniel's and finding unprecedented success. Here, she tells the story of her brand.
Liz Murray and Kutina Ruhumbika on the issues facing women, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated them.
The pastry chef and chief development officer at Kaneh Co. talks about the ups and downs of working in the cannabis industry in San Diego.
The chef and Cooking for the Culture founder opens up about the struggles that have defined Black chefs this year and throughout history.
The co-founder of Bakers Against Racism on the racial pandemic and the importance of baking for Black lives.
Dorsey, the owner of a catering company and food trailer in Northern Westchester, New York, looks to the past and future of her businesses.
The activist discusses why we should eliminate the tipped minimum wage and guarantee the federal minimum wage to all restaurant workers.
The Underground Kitchen Community First feeds thousands each week. Here's how Micheal Sparks and Kate Houck got it started and made it thrive.
Sung Kim, the owner of Chick-N-Bap, shares how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his unique business model.
How this cook uses Native cooking and culture to challenge long-standing beliefs about food.
A member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux, he’s hoping for a national reset that dismantles hurtful narratives and fills our plates with locally sourced food.
COVID-19 changed the national food supply chain, and Rep. Chellie Pingree is hopeful that lawmakers are ready to help local farms, not just Big Agriculture.
The Cuban-born chef, historian and restaurant owner discussed Latin food, American customers and how COVID-19 will change restaurants.
"If The Rock made an announcement that he ate a salad once a day, do you know how many men would start eating salads?"
The Chowbus co-founder explains the struggles of independent restaurants, and why ordering chicken and broccoli at every Chinese joint is a mistake.
The first-ever female Iron Chef speaks out about sexism in the food industry, COVID-19's impact and more.
Israeli chef Einat Admony shares her experiences competing in the New York restaurant scene, both before and during COVID-19.
Carrie Kholi-Murchison talks language, agency and food justice in action.
The chef, who sells a line of Puerto Rican pantry foods, sounds off on Goya's recent support of President Trump.
Chefs Eric Sze and Lucas Sin on authentic Chinese food, their experiences with racism and their optimism for the future.
The Filipino American chef shares her experience and frustrations with the restaurant industry.
He's faced obstacles because of race, sexuality and addiction. Here's how this chef says we can embrace inclusion.
The food expert believes we’re in for a reckoning: “I think we’ll all realize that we are able to control quite a bit of the industry.”
Food historian Jessica B. Harris shares her thoughts on gratitude, performative activism and why the pandemic has been so fatal for the Black community.
The New York-based chef talks about systemic racism in kitchens and how the coronavirus pandemic has reset the restaurant industry.
The legendary food writer talks about the cost of hunger, the importance of growing our own food and much more.
Cornelia Poku opens up about the difficulties she’s faced as a Black woman trying to establish her blog, Black Girls Eat DC.
Food historian Adrian Miller on food's reconciliatory powers and his hopes that more white people start listening.
Theodora Lee, owner of Theopolis Vineyards, on how "the wine industry hasn’t fully embraced Black professionals" and what can be done better.
Renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson, who has pivoted to help his community, speaks about the current state of the food industry and the status of African Americans.
Chris Montana, owner of the first Black-owned microdistillery in the U.S., shares his hopes for the future.
Rose McGee’s Sweet Potato Comfort Pie project brings hope and healing to her community, showing that food is love.
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