Susan Ungaro

Susan Ungaro is president of the James Beard Foundation (JBF), the country's preeminent culinary organization dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and honoring America's diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Since becoming president in 2006, Ungaro has increased awareness of the nonprofit through a host of initiatives. Her many accomplishments include increasing national and global awareness of the Foundation, as well as its culinary scholarship program, membership, and thought-leadership initiatives. Ungaro has increased the number of educational programs at the historic James Beard House in Greenwich Village; brought the annual James Beard Foundation Awards Gala to prestigious Lincoln Center and to Chicago; and launched the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America national epicurean tour.

Her additional accomplishments include spearheading the annual JBF Food Conference to foster dialogue and action to improve our nation’s food system, and launching the JBF Leadership Awards, which recognize visionaries in business, government, and education sectors responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food world.

Ungaro has also collaborated with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Protocol to develop the “Diplomatic Culinary Partnership,” an initiative to elevate the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts, and has expanded the reach of and brand recognition of the James Beard Foundation through the organization’s website, social media channels, and the publication of two original cookbooks, The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs (Chronicle, 2011), and James Beard’s All-American Eats: Recipes and Stories from Our Best-Loved Local Restaurants (Rizzoli, 2016).  

Among her numerous honors, Ungaro was named one of Adweek’s 30 Most Influential People in Food; The Daily Meal’s 50 Most Powerful People in Food from 2011-2014 and was the subject of a MPW (Most Powerful Women) profile in She has also been recognized with Irish America magazine’s Top Business 100 Award; Muriel Fox Communications Award from the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund, and the Hope Award from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Ungaro serves on the Culinary Council of Food Bank for New York City, the National Advisory Board of C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program), and the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Safe and Healthy New York Foods. 

Ungaro’s frequent television appearances include Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, Iron Chef America, and Dinner Impossible, Bravo’s Top Chef, NBC’s TODAY Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s Early Show, CNN, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe.


Mitchell Davis
Executive Vice President

Mitchell Davis is the executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation, a cookbook author, a food journalist, and a scholar with a Ph.D. in Food Studies from New York University. With the Beard Foundation for 20 years, Davis has created and overseen many of the organization’s important initiatives, including the JBF Greens for “foodies under 40”; the non-profit’s popular five-week pop-up restaurant JBF LTD in Chelsea Market (2011); the annual JBF Food Conference, a national dialogue of thought leaders on sustainability and public health in the food system; and the JBF Chefs Boot Camp for Policy & Change. In 2013 Davis assembled and led the team that was selected by the U.S. Department of State to create the USA Pavilion at the World Expo Milano 2015, the theme of which is American Food 2.0.

In addition to his work at the Foundation, Davis frequently writes about and reviews restaurants. He holds a chair on the academy of the London-based World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking program. He has written four cookbooks, including The Mensch Chef and Kitchen Sense (both Clarkson Potter), co-authored the ground-breaking electronic book My Provence (Alta Editions) with famed French chef Laurent Gras, which won two 2013 awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, including “Judges Choice,” and is a regular contributor to The Art of Eating. Davis’s television appearances include History Channel’s 101 Fast Foods that Changed the World, Food Network’s Food(ography), Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and Best in Smoke. Davis is host of Taste Matters, a weekly radio show (Wednesdays at 11 a.m.) on the Heritage Radio Network. In 2013 The Forward selected Davis as one of the 50 most influential Jews under 50 in America.

Marilyn Platzer
Chief Financial and Operating Officer

Kris Moon
Vice President

Nancy Kull
Executive Assistant to the President

Izabela Wojcik
Director of House Programming

Elizabeth Laseter
Assistant to the Director of House Programming

Diane Harris Brown
Director of Educational and Community Programming

Claudia Karach
Director of House Events and Membership

Michelle Santoro
Manager of Strategic Partnerships

Ashley Kosiak
Impact Programs Associate

Victoria Jordan Rodriguez
Director of House Operations and House Events

Sandra Matias
Accounting Manager

Patricia Loyola
Financial Reporting and Compliance Manager

Alexia Billiart
Financial Analyst

Kimberly Bradley Osorio
Information Systems Manager

Colleen Vincent
Manager of House Marketing and Reservations

Elise Sullivan
Reservations Coordinator

Marie Mondesir

Jose Lucio
Maître D’Hôtel

Behrim Mekuli
Service Captain

Albert Reyes
Night Kitchen Manager

Sanil Compere
Day Kitchen Manager

Brandon Belgrave
Assistant Day Kitchen Manager

Mark Brownlee, Jean Fenestral, Fatima Gomez, Claudy Israel

Juan Perez, Jose Rosario

Carolyn Cale, Benson Lau, Adam Lenart, Sanel Lukovic, Iris Monegro, Andrew Montes, Mirela Mujovic, Alija Mustajilasic, Sultan Naba, Luis Navas, Joisdan Recio, Rose Rungue, Cameron Wallace

Volunteer Programming Committee
Silvi Forrest, Lee Kowarski, Jourdan Ludwig, Wendi Royal, Moira Sedgwick, Robin Seegal, Judith Nochimson Stein, Jennifer Watson

Volunteer Young Professionals Development Committee
Kristen Frank, Julian Mateo, Heath Miller, Sara Pandolfi, Benjamin Robinson, Gary Schueller, David Strauss, Julia Tang, Anthony Thomas


Alison Tozzi Liu
Editorial Director

Scott Meola
Art Director

Anna Mowry
Special Projects Manager

Elena North-Kelly
Managing Editor

Maggie Borden
Associate Editor

Hilary Deutsch
Editorial Assistant

Stephanie Bourgeois and Yewande Komolafe
Recipe Testers

Special Events

Yvon Ros
Director of Sponsorship and Special Events

Julie Marshall
Director of Events and Marketing

Jeff Black
Celebrity Chef Tour Event Director

Siobhan Flaherty Haber
Director of Greens and Special Events

Shelley Menaged
Manager of Special Projects and Student Program

Sarah Drew
Awards and Events Associate

Julie Weil
Part-Time Special Events and Awards Assistant