Stories / Impact

JBF-Trained Advocates Take on a Virtual Visit to Capitol Hill

Program alums held meetings with Hill staff and Members of Congress

Alexina Cather

December 16, 2022


Stock image of the U.S. Capitol building against a blue sky

As part of ongoing efforts to support chefs’ policy advocacy work, the James Beard Foundation held a Virtual Hill Day this past Tuesday, December 13, 2022. The Virtual Hill Day is an opportunity for chefs who have completed the Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change or Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership programs to set up meetings with their Member of Congress and/or their staffers.

These general education meetings give our program alumni experience connecting with federal policymakers about issues the chefs feel passionately about. Many of the chefs who participated in these Virtual Hill Days are active food policy advocates in their restaurants and communities.

Tuesday’s participants included chefs Kirsten Dixon from Alaska; Nadine Nelson from Connecticut; Kiki Louya from Michigan; Eric Rivera from Alabama; and fisherwoman Sarah Ecolano from Alaska.

These advocates trained with JBF policy experts to prepare for their meetings and strategize how best to develop their messaging. Following their training, they met with staffers from their Representatives’ and Senators’ offices and discussed topics ranging from food education to SNAP funding, the Farm Bill, labor issues, rural food insecurity, and opportunities for fishermen and fisherwomen to expand.

Each of the participants forged connections with staffers in their Member of Congress’s office and will continue to be in touch with these individuals about the issues they are advocating for. JBF is committed to continuing to support chefs in this work and will hold the next Virtual Hill Day in February, following our Chef Summit in Houston at the end of January, where alumni of JBF programs will gather to advance their policy advocacy work and leadership skills.

Learn more about the Chef Summit.

Learn more about JBF’s advocacy work.


Alexina Cather is a policy advocacy consultant for the James Beard Foundation. 

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