November JBF Bootcamp Participants Head to Louisiana for Advocacy TrainingAlexina Cather
November 09, 2022
This year marks the ten-year anniversary of our pillar advocacy program–the Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change. Since 2012, Bootcamp has trained more than 350 chefs across 47 states and five countries to activate in support of policies and programs that impact the restaurant industry and our food system. Bootcamp attendees have received training that has allowed them to mobilize around critical food system issues such as SNAP benefits, universal school meals, supporting sustainable seafood, reducing food waste, and fighting for an equitable and resilient food system.
Earlier this month, 15 chefs from 13 states gathered at TABASCO® Brand headquarters on Avery Island in Louisiana and received intensive policy and advocacy training including an introduction to the Farm Bill—due for renewal in 2023; the pivotal role that chefs play in policy and advocacy; how to engage networks and policy makers through messaging; and how to use social media as a tool for change. Conservation and sustainability challenges served as thematic focus points. Learn more about our latest Bootcamp cohort below:
Within the Wild Adventure Company, Homer, AK
Mandy Dixon grew up in her family’s lodges in Alaska’s backcountry. Following culinary school, an emerging passion for pastry brought her to a four-year stint within Thomas Keller’s California restaurant group, but in 2010, she returned to the family business. She has since become a fixture in Alaska hospitality, representing the state at events across the globe and through her two cookbooks, all while operating multiple lodges, a restaurant, and a cooking school back home.
Cadence, New York, NY
Shenarri Freeman, aka “Shenarri Greens,” is executive chef of Cadence, a plant-based restaurant with Southern soul in New York’s East Village. There, Freeman taps into her Virginia upbringing and vegan ethos, and spotlights Southern foodways through the lens of health and sustainability. Cadence’s wine list exclusively features Black-owned wineries, with labels from South Africa, France, and the United States to complement Freeman’s flavorful and authentic dishes.
alaMar, Sobre Mesa, Oakland, CA
Nelson German cooked in the high-class kitchens of his native Manhattan before decamping to Oakland, where he opened seafood hotspot alaMar. He has since presented his unique flavors and California cuisine at events up and down the West Coast as well as in Mexico City. His Afro-Latino cocktail bar, Sobre Mesa, is an ode to his Latin American roots and his chosen home of Oakland, featuring vibrant flavors, cocktail demos, and cooking classes.
In the Business of Food, Detroit, MI
Ederique Goudia, a JBF Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership alumna, is the founder of In the Business of Food, a consulting agency for women and POC-owned food businesses. She also co-created Taste the Diaspora Detroit, a food agency focused on celebrating cuisines of the African diaspora while helping to strengthen the Black food system in Detroit. She is currently lead chef for Make Food Not Waste Upcycling Kitchen, a nonprofit addressing food waste and food insecurity in Michigan.
Ębí Chop Bar, Triangular Traded Spices, Atlanta, GA
A Miami native, Cleophus Hethington served in the Navy and studied public health before pivoting to a life in the kitchen. In 2022, he was a JBF finalist for Emerging Chef. Hethington worked at acclaimed restaurants across the United States, as well as in Italy, before starting Ębí Chop Bar, a pop-up dinner series celebrating the foodways of the African diaspora, in 2017. In 2019, he launched Triangular Traded Spices, an online boutique spice shop that offers bold, handcrafted blends. He was also executive chef of Benne on Eagle in Asheville, North Carolina.
Death & Taxes, Raleigh, NC
Lauren Ivey is the executive chef at Death & Taxes, the nationally recognized downtown Raleigh restaurant within the Ashley Christensen Restaurants group. Prior to her arrival in North Carolina, she honed her skills at Rioja in Denver and served as the opening sous chef of Abbott’s Cellar in San Francisco. Before showing off her mastery of open-fire cooking at Death & Taxes, she was also the sous chef at Christensen’s flagship spot, Poole’s Diner.
DanDan, EsterEv, JVR Hospitality Group, Milwaukee, WI
In 2016, Dan Jacobs and his partner Dan Van Rite opened DanDan and, soon after, EsterEv, a fine dining concept within DanDan. That same year, Jacobs was diagnosed with Kennedy’s disease, and has since worked to raise money to support research on the disorder. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacobs has advocated for the restaurant industry as a founder of Milwaukee Independent Restaurant Coalition and in leadership positions with the Independent Restaurant Coalition and Wisconsin’s Main Street Alliance.
Magna Kusina, Portland, OR
Carlo Lamagna is a Philippines-born, Detroit-raised, CIA- and Chicago-trained chef. Lamagna is the chef-owner of award-winning modern Filipino restaurant, Magna Kusina, located in Portland, Oregon. Lamagna began a pop-up dining series, Twisted Filipino, in 2013 in Chicago and continued it in Portland with great success. While Lamagna is grateful to the respected chefs who impacted his career, philosophy, and leadership style, the chefs he most reveres are his late father, Willie, and his mother, Gloria, who both serve as major influences on Magna Kusina.
The Manning Group, Orlando, FL
After stints in kitchens at Walt Disney World, the U.S. House of Representatives, and Ritz-Carlton hotels across North America, Ryan Manning founded his own restaurant concepts in the Orlando area. In addition, his consulting group oversees culinary operations for multiple vegan concepts, lounges, and night clubs across Central and South Florida. Manning will open La Femme du Fromage Tapas & Bar in Orlando later this year.
Three Sisters Kitchen, Zazen, Albuquerque, NM
Joseph Romero is a recent graduate of the Food Business Training Program at Three Sisters Kitchen. He has worked with Pueblo Resurgents, an indigenous-owned co-operation that emphasizes the relationship between land and his inhabitants, since 2018, and is currently responsible for Health & Nutritional programming within the organization. Outside of the kitchen and his work with Pueblo Resurgents, Romero is a Zazem practitioner, farmer, skater, and sandwich enthusiast.
Le’Genevieve “Vie” Squires
Detroit Food Academy, Detroit
A native Detroiter, Le’Genevieve “Vie” Squires infuses joy into every dish that leaves her catering kitchen. Beyond simply serving her guests, she exudes hospitality and a desire to improve the industry through sustainable foodways and education. Outside of the kitchen of her catering business, Experience Relish, Vie is a Classroom Facilitator for Detroit Food Academy, a member of Detroit FoodLab, and a volunteer with Detroit Phoenix Center and PeaceTree Parks.
Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon
Kalaya, Philadelphia, PA
Chutatip Suntaranon’s travels as a flight attendant, as well as her family’s international culinary background (her mother once operated her own Italian restaurant in Thailand) exposed her to a world of flavors by the time she opened Kalaya in 2019. Since then, the restaurant named for her mother has thrust Suntaranon into the spotlight and made her a fixture in the culinary scene of her home, Philadelphia, and across the country.
Wild Bearies, Madison, WI
Elena Terry is the executive chef and founder of Wild Bearies, a nonprofit catering organization that serves individuals overcoming substance abuse or emotional traumas. She founded the Native American Food Sovereignty Association’s Food and Culinary mentorship program (a 2021 NDN Collective Changemaker Fellow) and the “Honoring our Farmers, Foragers, Growers and Producers” tours to cultivate community and spread awareness about traditional food systems, sustainability, and ancestral agricultural plantings. She is a butcher and wild game specialist and prefers open-fire, outdoor cooking.
H3irloom Food Group, Baltimore, MD
David Thomas began his culinary journey in his grandmother’s kitchen, then spent decades in the industry before opening Herb & Soul and Ida B’s Table with his wife, Tonya. In 2020, David and Tonya stepped away from their restaurants to help establish H3irloom Food Group, whose many arms uplift the Black food narrative and provide a personal, historical approach to the Black food experience. David is a founding member of the Muloma Heritage Center in St. Helena Island, SC.
Phuc Yea, Miami, FL
Cesar Zapata, born in Colombia and raised in New Jersey, followed a childhood passion to culinary school in Houston. Following stints at The Four Seasons and Setai Hotels, Zapata launched Phuc Yea as a pop-up in Miami before opening the Federal and, later, a successful brick-and-mortar location for Phuc Yea. Beyond his own concepts, he serves as a member of the Advisory Council for No Kid Hungry Miami.
Alexina Cather is a policy advocacy consultant for the James Beard Foundation.