Originally from southeastern Michigan, Brie Arthur studied Landscape Design and Horticulture at Purdue University. With more than a decade of experience as a grower and propagator at leading nurseries such as Plant Delights and Camellia Forest, she now combines her passion for plants and sustainable land management by communicating the value of gardening across the US; Arthur has been dubbed a revolutionary for her leadership in the suburban Foodscape movement and for her work with public schools across the US. She appears as correspondent on the PBS Television show “Growing A Greener World” and her debut book, The Foodscape Revolution has become a best seller on Amazon. This year Arthur was honored as the first recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s Emerging Horticultural Professional Award.
Niya Bates is Director of African American History and Getting Word Oral History Project in the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. She has been with Monticello since 2016. Started in 1993, Getting Word is a growing archive of over 200 oral histories of people descended from slaves at Monticello. Niya works to engage local and national audiences in dialogue about Monticello, slavery and its enduring legacies, and race. She earned a B.A. in African and African American Studies and an M.A. in Architectural History and Historic Preservation – both from the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on enslaved families at Monticello, African American life in the Reconstruction Era in Virginia, and rural cultural preservation. She has published articles in Arris: Journal of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
Ken Bezilla has farmed for 20 years in Oregon, Missouri and Virginia. He is the seed inventory manager for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (SESE). When he escapes the office, he helps grow seed crops and variety trials for SESE, plus (of course) huge fall and winter gardens. southernexposure.com
Leslie Bouterie joined the Monticello beekeeping team in 2015. After moving to Charlottesville from Washington, DC where she worked in museum education and development, Bouterie soon became involved with Monticello’s apiaries. Her keen interest in honeybees prompted research, continuing education, and enthusiastic participation in apiary projects and improvements. Despite the need to carry an Epipen, she is passionate about honeybees and is dedicated to fostering the Monticello Bee Project and complementary Community Outreach endeavors.
Pat Brodowski, specialty gardener at Monticello, plants and maintains the plantation’s two-acre kitchen garden comprising heirloom vegetables and herbs. She researches and grows varieties most likely grown by Thomas Jefferson and produces seeds for The Shop at Monticello. She received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Cornell University and was an educator and historian at a 19th-century farm museum for eight years. She recently researched the history of Jefferson’s herbs and salad greens for her master’s degree.
Peggy Cornett, curator of plants, has worked at Monticello for over 30 years. She earned degrees in English and botany from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s from the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program. Cornett lectures on garden history, writes for gardening magazines and professional journals, edits Magnolia for the Southern Garden History Society, and appears on PBS’s “Virginia Home Grown” and “P. Allen Smith Garden Home.” Cornett received the SGHS Flora Ann Bynum Medal for exemplary service in the garden history field and the Garden Club of America’s Zone VII Horticultural Commendation for horticultural expertise, generosity in sharing knowledge and dedication to preserving Jefferson’s botanical legacy.
For nearly twenty years, John Coykendall has been the man behind the rows of heirloom tomatoes, beans, and corn at Blackberry Farm, the lavish epicurean resort in Walland, Tennessee. The seasoned master gardener and Tennessee native is a classically-trained artist who draws inspiration—literally – in more than a hundred sketchbooks from his explorations across Europe, the South, and southeastern Louisiana, where he has traveled each year for more than four decades. Through painstakingly-recorded journals, Coykendall chronicles oral histories about farm life in an earlier generation, logs searches for rare seeds, and creates illustrations of the pastoral landscape in which he works.
Coykendall has collected not only great secrets for growing, but also seeds from the most successful gardens in the world. In his presentations, he imparts the knowledge learned from decades in the garden, and shares some of his collection of centuries-old heirloom seeds. He is the subject of the public television documentary, Deeply Rooted: John Coykendall’s Journey to Save Our Seeds and Stories.
A Pennsylvania native, Joy Crump is known for crafting the seasons’ best locally sourced ingredients into comfortable, refined dishes. A culinary graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Crump honed her skills alongside farm-to-table pioneers, chefs Michael Tuohy and Kevin Gillespie. In 2011, Crump opened her first restaurant, FOODE, in historic downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia, with business partner Beth Black. In 2014, the duo opened their second Fredericksburg restaurant, Mercantile. Crump has had the honor of cooking at the James Beard House in both 2016 and 2017 and is actively involved in the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs for Food Policy, Chef Advocacy and Change. foodefredericksburg.com
Pam Dawling wrote Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres, published in 2013. Her second book, The Year-Round Hoophouse, was published in November 2018. She has been an avid vegetable grower all her adult life. For 22 years, Dawling has been farm manager for Twin Oaks Community in Central Virginia, growing vegetables and training the 100 members in sustainable vegetable production.
A contributing editor to Growing for Market magazine, Dawling has written articles and information sheets for various biological farming publications. She is a popular speaker on growing vegetables sustainably, presenting at multiple festivals and sustainable agriculture events each year. Dawling writes a weekly blog and also consults for new and beginning farmers. sustainablemarketfarming.com
Brandon Dillard is manager of special programs at Monticello. Dillard joined the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 2010 and worked as a frontline interpreter for six years before assuming his current position. Prior to joining Monticello, Dillard worked for twenty years in the food and beverage industry. He spent most of these years as a bartender, but has held almost every conceivable restaurant position.
Dillard worked in several nationally acclaimed restaurants in the Central Virginia and Atlanta areas. He relished his time in the industry as it afforded him the opportunity to create cocktail pairings alongside James Beard nominated chefs. He helped pioneer the modern resurgence in “farm to table” concepts, and was instrumental in bringing the craft cocktail movement to Charlottesville. Dillard loved his time as a bartender because he loves people – happily serving a pousse café or a Bud Light with equal levels of hospitality.
His people-love translates into his current work at Monticello where Dillard teaches staff to interact with people from all over the world and bring complex history to life for the general public.
The constant interaction with visitors from around the world makes the work at Monticello especially enjoyable for Dillard. As he says, “It’s a lot like bartending, only now I serve up remarkable history instead of liquor.”
Pastry Chef Evin Dogu grew up by the hearth. But it wasn’t until she was an adult that she seriously started thinking about baking.
Dogu grew up with Turkish parents who shared their love of food and food traditions. After living and eating her way through cities like Washington, D.C., New York, Rome, and Istanbul, she and brother Evrim opened Sub Rosa Bakery in 2012 – to great acclaim. Located in the historic Richmond, Virginia neighborhood of Churchill, the bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads and viennoiserie. Everything is baked in a double-deck, wood-fired oven, with ingredients sourced locally whenever possible. The duo works directly with farmers to grow heirloom varieties of wheat, rye and corn, which are then stone-milled in the custom mill located in the bakery courtyard.
In 2014, the siblings earned a StarChefs Rising Star Artisan Award for their work at Sub Rosa. This year, the duo was recognized as James Beard Award semi-finalists for Outstanding Baker.
When not elbow-deep in dough, Dogu can be found climbing rocks or walking her beloved ‘senior’ beagle, June.
Debbie Donley joined Monticello in 2004 as a flower gardener. She has led numerous workshops as part of the Saturdays in the Garden program with topics including “Seed Saving” and “Watercolor Painting in the Garden”. Also a professional artist, she has been selling her Children’s NAME Pictures at the Charlottesville City Market since 1991.
Peter Hatch, director of gardens and grounds emeritus for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, lives in Albemarle County, Virginia, where he gardens, botanizes in the Blue Ridge Mountains and lectures about garden history. Hatch was responsible for the maintenance, interpretation and restoration of the 2,400-acre landscape at Monticello from 1977 to 2012. The author of four books on the gardens of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Hatch has lectured in 37 states on Jefferson and the history of garden plants. He travels extensively to promote his latest work, A Rich Spot of Earth: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello (Yale University Press 2012), an award-winning book on Jefferson’s vegetable garden. peterjhatch.com
Lou Hatch has worked at Monticello since the 1990’s. Currently, she supervises the daily operations of house and behind-the-scene tours to ensure these wonderful events run seamlessly for our guests. Hatch also conducts garden and slavery tours at Monticello.
In addition to the many hats she wears at Monticello, Hatch is a part-time floral designer and instructor. She has worked with The Finishing Touch florist for more than 20 years, and teaches the widely popular wreath and tabletop arrangement workshops at Monticello. Hatch oversees the design and installation of Monticello’s house holiday decorations.
Gayle Jessup White is Monticello’s Community Engagement Officer. A former award-winning TV reporter and anchor, Jessup White started her career at the New York Times. She’s written and spoken extensively about her work at Monticello and her family’s ties to Thomas Jefferson, his extended family and the enslaved community. She is a direct Jefferson descendant, and is also related to two well-documented families enslaved at Monticello – the Hemingses and the Hubbards.
Corby Kummer’s work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him “a dean among food writers in America.”
Kummer’s 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. His book The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as “the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date.”
Kummer’s book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice.
Kummer was the restaurant critic for New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as the restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. Kummer was educated at Yale and began at The Atlantic in 1981. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.
Jeremiah Langhorne is the chef and co-owner of The Dabney in Washington, D.C.
Langhorne’s first foray into the restaurant world was at a small Italian restaurant in his hometown of Charlottesville, VA. Watching the restaurant’s kitchen staff work on a new dish – a creative and spontaneous process – inspired Langhorne to seek out further learning opportunities. He began with an externship at the acclaimed OXO restaurant, where he learned under the classically trained English Chef John Haywood and soon became a part of the kitchen staff. By the time he left, Langhorne was executive sous chef.
In 2009 Langhorne moved south to stage at McCrady’s under Executive Chef Sean Brock. After completing a two-month stage at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, Langhorne returned to McCrady’s to take over as sous chef. He was promoted to chef de cuisine in spring 2011. While at McCrady’s, Langhorne oversaw day-to-day operations and managed a staff of over 20 employees. He worked daily with Brock and local farmers and purveyors to craft each night’s menu out of the freshest and finest products.
Langhorne returned to the Mid-Atlantic area in 2013, relocating to Washington, D.C. to focus his efforts on opening his own restaurant and forging relationships with area farmers and purveyors. Nearly two years later, The Dabney opened in historic Blagden Alley in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. At The Dabney, Langhorne celebrates his Mid-Atlantic roots, focusing on modern American food with strong regional and historic influences, while incorporating his interests in farming, charcuterie and foraging.
The Dabney received a Michelin star in Washington D.C.’s Michelin Guide in 2016 and 2017, in addition to being named a semi-finalist for the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. It was named one of Bon Appétit magazine’s 50 Best New Restaurants of 2016 as well as one of Food & Wine’s 2016 Restaurants of the Year. Langhorne recently received the 2018 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.
In December 2017 Langhorne and business partner Alex Zink opened The Dabney Cellar, a wine bar located in the basement beneath the restaurant.
Langhorne lives in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood with his wife, Jenny, and their dog, Ginger.
Paul Legrand has been a beekeeper for more than 28 years. When relocating to Charlottesville, he continued his passion for honeybees by starting and maintaining an apiary at Monticello in the spring of 2010. That apiary is located just down the hill from Mr. Jefferson’s home. In the spring of 2012, Legrand began a second apiary at Tufton Farm, one of Jefferson’s original quarter farms, which is now home to The Center for Historic Plants. In 2014, he added a third apiary at James Monroe’s Highland, and in 2018, Legrand helped re-introduce an apiary at New Roots Farm, operated by the International Rescue Committee.
Legrand is committed to helping the apiaries provide valuable pollination services for the gardens of these historic properties and surrounding areas.
Richard Morris has33 years of experience as a graphic and software designer/developer, writer, teacher, and project manager. He has worked in the corporate space across multiple industries, including aerospace, healthcare, education, finance, and farming. For ten years, he worked at Polyface Farm, at the foot of the Shenandoah Mountains, and has a lifetime of experience in the garden. Morris has raised pigs, chickens, and turkeys on a small Foodstead in Central Virginia with his wife and daughters. Currently, he works at City Schoolyard Garden, where he oversees the operations of the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville as the farm and foodroots program director.
Fraser Neiman is director of archaeology at Monticello. He also teaches archaeology in the departments of Anthropology and Architectural History at UVA. His current research focuses on the archaeology of the slave societies that evolved in the Chesapeake and Caribbean in the early modern era.
Manager of Farm and Nursery Operations at Monticello
Keith Nevison serves as manager of farm and nursery operations for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. In this role, he oversees a thriving nursery business at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants and is working to successfully launch a 21st century center for innovative farming, which aims to engage a broad audience in discussions on food, public health and sustainable agricultural issues. He earned his Master of Science in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware through the Longwood Graduate Program and his Bachelor of Science cum laude in Environmental Studies from Portland State University in Oregon. For more than a decade, Nevison’s work has included organic food production, ornamental horticulture, landscape design and ecological restoration. His passion for environmental restoration led him to serve as board secretary and Student Guild representative for the Society for Ecological Restoration’s Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic chapters. In addition, he is an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist, an FFT2 certified wildland firefighter, and holds certifications as a Master Naturalist and Master Composter.
Born in Richmond in 1950, Tim O’Kane is a lifelong Virginian, whose botanical and still life works have been exhibited and collected worldwide. Earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1972, he has taught studio art and art history with UVA’s continuing education department and is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards. Known for his large narrative drawings and paintings, O’Kane has also garnered an impressive following for his portraiture and Italian landscapes.
O’Kane’s works include a public collection housed at the Center for Jefferson Studies. Most recently, he has created a series of original oil paintings of historic plants for our flower and vegetable seed packets.
Dan Pashman is the James Beard Award winning creator and host of The Sporkful food podcast, which he says is not for foodies, it’s for eaters. Whether having thoughtful conversations about food, culture, and identity, doing quirky deep dives into food science and history, or taking calls from couples with food-related relationship issues, Dan says The Sporkful is a place where he obsesses about food to learn more about people. Dan is also a contributor to NPR and the host of Cooking Channel’s You’re Eating It Wrong. He has appeared on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Today Show, Radiolab, WTF with Marc Maron, Guy’s Grocery Games, Planet Money, and Beat Bobby Flay, among others. He lives outside New York with his wife and two daughters. Sporkful Podcast
Gabriele Rausse, director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, first grafted Jefferson’s 1807 wine varietals for Monticello in 1984. Eleven years later, he joined the staff as assistant director of gardens and grounds. Rausse, a native of Vicenza, Italy, graduated with a degree in agricultural science from Milan University. He worked first for the Tenuta Santa Margherita winery outside Venice and in 1976 was invited to Virginia to begin what is now Barboursville Vineyards. Rausse, “the father of Virginia wine,” has helped start more than 40 vineyards and 10 Virginia wineries. He was nominated as the Virginia wine industry’s Man of the Year in 1996.
With infinite passion and a palette and appreciation for beautiful food, Chef Ian Redshaw has spent the past fifteen years honing his skills in the kitchen and in meat fabrication.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Redshaw spent a couple of years in New York before making his way to Charlottesville, where he was quickly tapped to work in some of the cities best restaurants. In 2013 while at Tavola Restaurant, Redshaw met future business partners Mitchell Beerens, Loren Mendosa, Andrew Cole and Shelly Robb, and the vision for their own restaurant came into focus. In 2014, LAMPO opened. Three years later he and the team opened Prime 109 – a woodfire steakhouse that follows the seasons and features the bounty of Albemarle County.
Redshaw’s approach to food is simple: technique-driven, flavor-focused and lacking in ego. He and his partners are devotees of local sourcing, striving to support the area’s farmers by helping streamline their businesses so they’re more profitable and better able to focus on producing the best products.
In 2018, Redshaw was named Best Chef by C-VILLE Weekly. This year, he gained national recognition as a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Rising Star Chef.
Redshaw lives with his wife, Chef Alexandra “Allie” Redshaw and their daughters Sawyer and Willow.
Wilson Richey is a local restaurateur focusing on original concepts, sustainable agriculture and strong community links. He has built and maintained over ten restaurants in the Charlottesville area, including Alley Light, Whiskey Jar, The Bebedero, and Revolutionary Soup. Richey has formed a partnership of service professionals with his management group, Ten Course Hospitality. From 2010 until 2018, he maintained and operated an organically run, sustainable farm to supply the group’s main restaurants with a continued source of fresh, seasonal produce.
The core values of Ten Course Hospitality are in sustainability, strong regional influences and enlightened hospitality — making them a perfect fit for the Farm Table café project at Monticello. The Ten Course vision aligns perfectly with the café’s goals – to create an authentic dining experience that draws on the gardens and produce from Monticello’s reinvigorated Tufton farm, offering seasonally-appropriate, regionally-focused and historically-influenced menu selections for its guests.
Jovan Sage’s days are steeped in transforming seeds into plants and plants into enriching teas, hearty medicine and delicious dishes. As the alchemist behind Sage’s Larder, she guides people to find their own healing and resiliency through food, tea and plants.
Sage is the resident herbalist and Chicken Whisperer at Gilliard Farms – an African American Georgia Centennially organic farm. She was also one half of The Farmer & The Larder – a restaurant and culinary event space that focused on exploring shared foodways and culture which received a James Beard nomination before closing in December 2018.
Sage has spent 15 years working with local, national and international non-profit organizations and spent the last 8 years focusing on sustainability, food and agriculture, including working as a food retail consultant and Engagement Director for Slow Food USA in New York City.
Sage believes in bringing people together through the common language of food. She currently volunteers as Board Chair of Seed Savers Exchange and is the founding President of the Savannah & Coastal Georgia chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International.
Born in Oakland, California, Bill has over 14 years of self-taught experience in kitchens. From a youthful education in California cuisine to his appreciation for Virginia’s food heritage, he strives to honor the process of making well balanced dishes while sourcing ingredients from farms close to home. He’s worked for well regarded Virginia chef’s such as Craig Hartman, Dean Maupin and his talented sister, Amalia Scatena. His most recent positions include 4 years at Keswick Hall’s award winning Fossett’s, followed by a successful tenure as Executive Chef of Pippin Hill Farm. Eagerly awaiting the newest chapter of his career, Bill plans to showcase his technique as well as a focus on Virginia beef as Chef de Cuisine of Prime 109.
Author of The Whole Okra, expert okra enthusiast Chris Smith writes regularly for The Heirloom Gardener, the Mother Earth News blog, and the Farmers’ Almanac blog. His presentations on the versatility of okra have delighted audiences at food and farming festivals and fairs throughout the Southeast. He is the Executive Director for The Utopian Seed Project, Communications Manager for Sow True Seed in Asheville, North Carolina, and serves on the board of The People’s Seed. A native of the UK, Smith has a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Manchester. His short stories have been published in Nashville Review, Mid-American Review, and The Manchester Review.
The founder of Cocktails 101° Consulting, Monticello’s Christian Tenney has blended his background in historic preservation with his passion for cocktail and beverage culture into a side career. With over a decade of primary source historic cocktail book research and a technical database background, Tenney spends his free time indexing, cataloging, and vetting punch, cocktail, and soda fountain recipes into his comprehensive cocktail database. Though never a bartender, he has spoken on the topic of liquid history at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Cedar Grove. Tenney has created custom cocktails for Road & Track Magazine and other clients, and constantly educates friends, family, and colleagues about the finer points of historic drink making – whether they wish to learn so or not.
And oh, yes. Tenney currently works in the development department for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
Haile Thomas has something to say. In fact, she has a lot to say, and what she says is changing the lives of young people across America.
Thomas is 18 years old, an international speaker, health activist, vegan food & lifestyle influencer, the youngest Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach in the United States, and the CEO of the non-profit HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth). Ms. Thomas founded HAPPY at 12 years old to address the need for free plant-based nutrition and culinary education.
Thomas has personally engaged over 35,000 kids since beginning her activism in 2010. She was inspired to pursue this passion after her family successfully reversed her father’s type-2 diabetes with healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and upon learning that kids were also increasingly being diagnosed with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. All of her programs, projects, and initiatives, are geared towards engaging, educating, motivating and empowering young people to make healthy lifestyle choices to live their best life. To that end, Thomas hosted the podcast “Girl Empowered”, interviewing inspiring and empowered women, therefore fulfilling her mission to broadcast female voices of empowerment.
Beginning at 12 years old, Ms. Thomas worked for two years as the Jr. Chef Advisor for Hyatt Hotel’s “For Kids – By Kids” Menu. Her kids’ recipes were served at all Hyatt Resorts in North America and the Caribbean. She was one of the first eight young chefs featured on season one of Rachael vs. Guy Kids-Cook-Off, and on Cupcake Wars Kids, both airing on Food Network.
Thomas has been featured by NowThis, BuzzFeed, MTV, CNN, The HARRY Show, the Today Show, Dr. Oz, Home and Family Show, and The Rachael Ray Show. She has been highlighted in several major publications including O Magazine, Teen Vogue, and YES Magazine, and was the first teen featured on the cover of Experience Life Magazine.
In 2020, Thomas will release her first book.
This eighteen-year old CEO is taking over the world, teaching all of us to THINK DIFFERENT.
Jonathan Till’s career in the kitchen began at 4-years-old, when he stood on milk crates to help wash dishes at Beverly’s, his grandmother’s namesake restaurant in Saratoga Springs, NY. A third-generation chef, Till has worked in some of the most esteemed Mid-Atlantic restaurants, landing at Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s (NRG) original outpost and Del Rey stalwart, Evening Star Café in 2018.
An avid forager, Till is a member of the Mycological Association of Washington, D.C. – a passion reflected in his menus at Evening Star.
While attending the New England Culinary Institute, Till interned at L’Espalier in Boston, where he trained under James Beard Award-winning chef, Frank McClelland, honing his technique in almost every area of the kitchen as tournant. After receiving an associate’s degree in culinary arts, he went on to work under Certified Master Pastry Chef, Frank Vollkommer at Saratoga National Golf Course. In 2009, Till left his fine-dining background to work as Executive Sous Chef at Beekman Street Bistro, a true farm-to-table restaurant where everything on the menu came off the pickup truck that day. Working closely with local farms and purveyors to write the daily menus, he sought to learn about the origins of the products coming into the kitchen. It was then that he began to forage for the restaurant, bringing in wild mushrooms, ramps, wild greens, and more.
Before moving to the Washington, D.C. area, Till worked under Executive Chef Tyler Brown at the Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille in Nashville, where he had access to its 7,000 acre cattle farm and vegetable garden where he developed his fermenting and preserving skills. In 2015, he was tapped to oversee training, hiring and sourcing for “bartaco” locations up and down the East Coast. Seeking a less transient position, Till settled in as Executive Chef of William Jeffrey’s Tavern in Arlington, VA, where he spent two years overseeing the kitchen and operations for the neighborhood spot.
In 2018, Jonathan joined NRG as Executive Chef of Evening Star Cafe, a 21-year-old establishment known for its convivial setting and seasonal American menu—much of which features herbs and produce grown on the rooftop garden. Before landing at the Star, Jonathan established local foraging spots and relationships with farmers, bringing his unwavering commitment to sustainable sourcing to the Del Ray neighborhood restaurant.
Michael W. Twitty is a noted culinary and cultural historian who interprets the experiences of enslaved African Americans through food and its preparation. He created Afroculinaria.com, the first blog devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacy, and was honored by FirstWeFeast.com as one of twenty greatest food bloggers of all time. He has appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, Many Rivers to Cross with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and has lectured to more than 250 groups, including Yale, Oxford and Carnegie Mellon Universities, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Twitty has been invited to speak around the world – his work has been featured in such publications as Ebony, The Guardian, Eater.com and NPR’s Codeswitch blog. A regular on NPR, Twitty has also been interviewed on the acclaimed food program, The Splendid Table.
Twitty has served as a judge for the James Beard Awards, is a Smith fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance and is a TED fellow and speaker. He has been named one of “Fifty People Changing the South” by Southern Living and one of the “Five Cheftavists to Watch” by TakePart.Com. HarperCollins released his first major book in 2017: The Cooking Gene, which won the 2018 James Beard Award for best writing and book of the year. Afroculinaria.com
Ira Wallace is a worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, which offers over 700 varieties of open-pollinated heirloom and organic seeds selected for flavor and regional adaptability. Wallace serves on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming. She is a member of Acorn Community, which farms over 60 acres of certified organic land in Central Virginia. Wallace is an organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, a fun, family-friendly event featuring an old-time seed swap, local food, hands-on workshops and demos, and more. She also writes about heirloom vegetables and seed saving for magazines and blogs including Mother Earth News, Fine Gardening and Southern Exposure. Her book, “The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast,” is available online and at booksellers everywhere.
Karen Washington has lived in New York City all her life and has spent decades promoting urban farming as a way for all New Yorkers to access fresh, locally grown food. A resident of the Bronx for more than 25 years, she has been striving to make NYC a better place to live.
As a gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, Washington worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As an advocate, she stood up and spoke out for garden protection and preservation. As a member of La Familia Verde Community Garden, she helped launch “City Farms Market”, bringing garden fresh vegetables to her neighbors.
Today, Washington is a Just Food board member and trainer, leading workshops on food growing and food justice for community gardeners. She is a board member and past president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, and founder of Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings.
In 2012 Ebony magazine voted Washington one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the country. In 2014 she was awarded the James Beard Leadership Award and began “Rise & Root Farm”, a cooperatively run farm in the black dirt region of Orange County, New York.
Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist, and the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California. She has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. In 1995 she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, which advocates for a free school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school.
She has been Vice President of Slow Food International since 2002. She conceived and helped create the Yale Sustainable Food Project in 2003 and the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome in 2007.
Her honors include election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007, the Harvard Medical School’s Global Environmental Citizen Award, which she shared with Kofi Annan in 2008, and her induction into the French Legion of Honor in 2010. In 2015 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, proving that eating is a political act, and that the table is a powerful means to social justice and positive change.
Waters is the author of sixteen books including her critically acclaimed memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook, the New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II, and The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea.
Kevin West is the author of Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving, as well as a contributor to Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original and a special correspondent for Travel + Leisure and Departures. He is also a food consultant with clients on both coasts, including Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, where he was creative director from 2012–2016 and co-author of The Grand Central Market Cookbook.