2023 Chef Action Summit

January 29-31, 2023

Hilton University of Houston, Houston, Texas
4450 University Dr, Houston, TX 77204
Our second Chef Action Summit will bring together JBF Chef Bootcamp alumni and food system and industry leaders from across the country. 

You will hear from and engage with powerful speakers from the culinary, policy, non-profit, and corporate worlds. At the summit, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from three tracks:

1. Nutrition Security and Hunger

The Summit will take place on the heels of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health and the midterm elections. This track will focus on opportunities for chefs and restaurants to urge Congress and state and local policymakers to address long-standing nutrition and hunger inequities in our food system. 

2. Conservation and Sustainability

Participants of the track will focus on ways that chefs can support conservation and sustainability efforts in their restaurants and communities, but also encourage policymakers to pass legislation and promotes regenerative agriculture and healthy soil compost; reducing food waste; and supports local and regional farmers. 

3. Industry Support


The industry support track will focus on improving equity throughout the industry. Participants will learn about and design policies and practices that improve wages, healthcare and benefits, mental health, gender equity, and racial justice. 

Each track will feature deep dives on issues related to the track and skill-building on policymaking. You will also receive additional storytelling and social media skills in hands-on workshops to take your advocacy to the next level. At the outcome of the summit, each track will provide policy recommendations that will be shared with legislators.

Summit registration is free. Attendees will receive meals and training but will be expected to pay for their own travel and accommodations.

If you are not an alum of a JBF Program and are interested in attending, please send an email to impactforward@jamesbeard.org detailing your interest and a brief bio. 

Keynote speakers

  • Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
  • Michel Nischan, Chef and Co-Founder of Wholesome Wave


Sunday, January 29
3:00-4:00 P.M. Hotel check-in / Hilton 

4:00- 4:30 P.M. Summit registration / Conrad Hilton Ballroom Lobby 

4:30-6:30 P.M. Conrad Hilton Ballroom

4:30-4:45 P.M.Welcome remarks from Clare Reichenbach, CEO, James Beard Foundation

4:45-5:15 P.M. Welcome Keynote: Congressman Earl Blumenaeur (D-OR)

5:15-5:30 P.M. A Reflection on Ten Years of JBF Policy Advocacy and Bootcamp with Kris Moon, President and COO, James Beard Foundation

5:30-5:45 P.M. The Policies We'll Win, and How We'll Win Them with Eric Kessler, Founder, Arabella Advisors and Trustee, James Beard Foundation

5:45-6:00 P.M. Special Guest Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), introduced by Dawn Burrell, Chef-Partner, Late August 

6:00-6:15 P.M. What We Are Here For with Anne E. McBride, PhD, Vice President of Programs, James Beard Foundation

6:15-7:00 P.M. Travel to Welcome Reception and Dinner; busses will be leaving from the Hilton

7:00-10:00 P.M. Welcome Reception and dinner, Post Rooftop  Speakers include: Clare Reichenbach, CEO, James Beard Foundation, Kirby Liu, Director, Lovett Commercial, Michael Heckman, President & CEO, Houston First Corporation, Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston

Monday, January 30

8:00-8:40 A.M. Breakfast/Networking, Conrad Hilton Ballroom

8:40-8:45 A.M.  Overview of the Day with Anne E. McBride, PhD, Vice President of Programs, James Beard Foundation, Conrad Hilton Ballroom

8:45-9:00 A.M. Why Chefs Matter with Michel Nischan, Co-Founder and Chairman, Wholesome Wave and Founder and President, Wholesome Crave, Conrad Hilton Ballroom

9:00-9:25 A.M. Welcome Keynote from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Conrad Hilton Ballroom

9:25-9:30 A.M. Move to tracks   


Nutrition Security and Hunger / Waldorf Astoria Ballroom 

Conservation and Sustainability / Shamrock Ballroom

Industry Support / Alumni Hall S104 

9:30- 9:45 A.M

Welcome Keynote Nutrition Security and Hunger Track: Stacy Dean, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services

Welcome Keynote Conservation and Sustainability: Adrian Lipscombe, Founder, 40 Acres

Welcome Keynote Industry Support Track: Chris Shepherd, Founder, Southern Smoke Foundation

9:45- 10:30 A.M. 

What nutrition security and hunger policies are covered in the Farm Bill with Joel Berg, CEO, Hunger Free America

What conservation and sustainability policies are covered in the Farm Bill with Maisah Khan, Policy Director, Mississippi River Network

What Industry Support Policies are Needed with Aaron Frazier, Vice President of Public Policy, National Restaurant Association

10:30- 10:45 A.M. 

Break / Conrad Hilton Ballroom Lobby

Break / Conrad Hilton Ballroom Lobby 

Break / Conrad Hilton Ballroom Lobby 

10:45- 11:45 A.M. 

Hunger and Nutrition Insecurity with Ellen Vollinger SNAP Director, Food Research & Action Center (10:45-11:05)

Access and Affordability with Lisa Helfman, CEO of Brighter Bites (11:05-11:25)

Emergency Food with Nicole Lander, Chief Impact Officer, Houston Food Bank (11:25-11:45)

Opportunities For and With Historically Disadvantaged Farmers with Karen Washington, Farmer, Activist, and Co-Owner Rise&Root Farm  (10:45-11:05)

Food Waste with Naama Tamir, Co-Owner, Lighthouse (11:05-11:25) 

Regenerative Agriculture and Soil Health with Anne Biklé Biologist, Science Writer, and Co-Author, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, The Hidden Half of Nature (11:25-11:45) 

Working Conditions, Wages and Tipping with Saru Jayaraman, President, One Fair Wage and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. (10:45-11:15)

Benefits and Mental Health with Sarah Diehl, Founder and Principal, Empowered Hospitality (11:15-11:45) 


11:45- 12:30 P.M. 

Panel: Chefs Working on Nutrition Security with:

  • Judy Ni, Founder & Managing Partner, bāo • logy, Founder, Roux

  • Greg Silverman, MSc, CEO/Executive Director, West Side Campaign Against Hunger 

  • Elena Terry, Executive Chef and Founder, Wild Bearies 

  • Hugh Acheson, Chef, 5&10, Athens, GA 

Panel: Chefs Working on Conservation and Sustainability with:

  • Anthony Myint, Executive Director, Zero Foodprint 

  • Duskie Estes,  Executive Director, Farm to Pantry 

  • Jennifer Hill Booker, Owner Bauhaus Biergarten, President Les Dames d'Escoffier International Atlanta Chapter 

  • Steven Satterfield, Executive Chef/Co-Owner, Miller Union and Cookbook Author of Root to Leaf 

Panel: Chefs Working on Industry Support with:

  • Cheetie Kumar, Chef and Co-owner Garland, Neptunes Parlour, and Kings 

  • Mary Sue Milliken, Chef-Owner, Mundo Hospitality Group 

  • Brother Luck, Entrepreneur, and Author

  • Kiki Louya, Founder, KB Consulting 

  • Hugo Ortega, Executive Chef and Owner, H-Town Restaurant Group 

12:30-1:30 P.M. Lunch / Conrad Hilton Ballroom

1:30-2:10 P.M. Creating Policy with Patricia Griffin, Partner, NVG, and Michel Nischan, Co-Founder and Chairman, Wholesome Wave and Founder and President, Wholesome Crave / Conrad Hilton Ballroom

2:10-2:15 P.M. Back to individual tracks 


Nutrition Security and Hunger

Waldorf Astoria Ballroom 

Conservation and Sustainability 

Shamrock Ballroom

Industry Support 

Alumni Hall S104

2:15- 3:45 P.M. 

Working Session– 

Nutrition Security and Hunger Policy Recommendations facilitated by Tricia Griffin

Working Session– Conservation and Sustainability Policy Recommendations facilitated by Alexina Cather

Working Session– 

Industry Support Policy Recommendations facilitated by Anne E. McBride, PhD

3:45-4:00 P.M. Break, Conrad Hilton Ballroom Lobby 

4:00-4:30 P.M. Marketing and Communications: How to Maximize Your Impact with Tamar Simpson, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, James Beard Foundation / Conrad Hilton Ballroom

4:30-5:00 P.M. Interactive Policy Activity  / Conrad Hilton Ballroom

5:00-6:00 P.M. Break 

6:00-9:00 P.M. Welcome Reception and Dinner / Conrad Hilton Ballroom


Tuesday, January 31

8:00-8:45 A.M. Breakfast and Networking / Conrad Hilton Ballroom

8:45-9 A.M. Real Talk: A Failed Farm to Table Chef and the Pivot to Systems Change with Anthony Myint, Executive Director, Zero Foodprint / Conrad Hilton Ballroom

9:00-9:05 A.M. Back to individual tracks 


Nutrition Security and Hunger

Waldorf Astoria Ballroom 

Conservation and Sustainability

Shamrock Ballroom 

Industry Support 

Alumni Hall S104 

9:05-10:45 A.M. 

Draft of Policy Recommendations

Breakout with Patricia Griffin

Draft of Policy Recommendations 

Breakout session with Alexina Cather

Draft of Policy Recommendations 

Breakout session with Anne E. McBride, PhD


10:45-11:00 A.M. Break, Conrad Hilton Ballroom Lobby

11:00-12:15 P.M. Presentations of Policy Recommendations for each track, Conrad Hilton Ballroom

12:15-12:30 P.M. Next steps, Conrad Hilton Ballroom

12:30-1:00 P.M Travel to lunch and panel, busses will be leaving from the Hilton

1:00-3:00 P.M. Closing Lunch and Panel / The Community Collective                                                  Panel: What Is A Chef's Role in the Fight Against Food Insecurity? Moderated by Chris Williams, Founder, Lucille's Hospitality Group and Founder and Executive Director, Lucille's 1913. Panelists include Jeremy Peaches, Horticultural Director, Lucille’s 1913, Chris Wood, Co-Founder and President, Moonshot Compost, and Shaneka Smith, Chief of Staff to Fort Bend County Judge, K.P. George 



Program Sponsors



Event Sponsor

Official James Beard Foundation Partners