Stories / Impact

26 Chefs Who Are Committed to Advocacy

Our spring 2021 Boot Camp finishers are pushing for better school food

Ashley Kosiak

June 23, 2021


Top down image of school cafeteria tray with chicken nuggets and milk

The James Beard Foundation is proud to announce the finishers of the Spring 2021 Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, the second Boot Camp training held entirely on Zoom. Over the course of seven weeks, participants learned about the importance of chef voices in food systems advocacy, as well as tools for building messages and networks for food systems change.

The focus of this Chefs Boot Camp was Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). In addition to JBF staff, the program was facilitated by chef Ben Hall, and policy education and support was provided by Tricia Griffin and Abby Bownas of NVG LLC.

Guest speakers included: Kristy Anderson (American Heart Association), Elizabeth Campbell (Feeding America), Ali Hard (House Committee on Education and Labor), and Jacqlyn Schneider (Senate Agriculture Committee). Representative Alma Adams (D-NC 12th District) and Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA 2nd District) filmed special messages for the participants on the importance of chef voices and on CNR.

The Spring 2021 Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change finishers are:

  • Smita Chutke, Smita’s Cookery Spices & More, East Amherst, NY
  • Tajahi Cooke, Ms. Betty’s Cooking, Denver
  • Brianna Cooper-Spruce, Nouvelle Table, Brooklyn, NY
  • Kyronn Cordner, Mako's on the Creek, Cibolo, TX
  • Kymme Davis, Bushwick Grind Café, Brooklyn, NY
  • Matthew Deaton, Foode, Fredericksburg, VA
  • Gabriel Erales, ERA, Austin
  • Renee Fox, Arable, Santa Fe
  • Caroline Glover, Annette, Denver
  • Beth Jones Cramer, Campus Club of the University of MN, St. Paul, MN
  • Adjoa Kittoe, Seulful Pantry, Brooklyn, NY
  • Johnny Livesay, Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria, Café, and Wine Shop, Austin
  • Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio
  • Marie Mertz, Todo Un Poco, Elk Grove, CA
  • Katy Millard, Coquine, Portland, OR
  • Nadine Nelson, Global Local Gourmet & Stir the Pot, Hamden, CT
  • Joshua Oakley, The Monroe, Orlando, FL
  • Jametta Raspberry, House of Gristle, St. Paul, MN
  • Maria-Elena Rasul, American Legion Culinary Program, Elk Grove, CA
  • Kevin Ritchie, Mulavey’s B&L, Sacramento, CA
  • Shacafrica Simmons, Chef Shac LLC, Tallahassee, FL
  • David Thomas, H3irloom Food Group, Baltimore, MD
  • Tonya Thomas, H3irloom Food Group, Baltimore, MD
  • Cara Tobin, Honey Road, Charlotte, VT
  • Gabriela Weir Vera, Chef Gaby LLC, Columbia, MO
  • Rollie Wesen, Jacques Pépin Foundation, Barrington, RI

Learn more about the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change.

Sign up for our industry support newsletter for updates on the next virtual Chefs Boot Camp.

Photo: kcline/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images


Ashley Kosiak is director of programs at the James Beard Foundation.