Stories / Impact

These 15 Chefs Are Committed to Food System Change

Alexina Cather

December 02, 2022


This Bootcamp's class of chefs touring the TABASCO ® barreling facility (photo: Clay Williams).

The November 2022 James Beard Foundation’s Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change trained 15 chefs from 13 states on using their voice for food system and industry change through conservation efforts, sustainable agriculture, and the Farm Bill, a package of legislation written once every five years that covers numerous food policies and programs in the United States.

The 23rd Bootcamp took place at the TABASCO ® Brand headquarters on Avery Island in Louisiana, where chefs learned about marshland conservation efforts in coastal Louisiana. Guest speakers included Kendall Dix, national policy director at Taproot Earth; Margee Green, executive director at SPROUT in Louisiana; and John Foret of the Rainey Conservation Alliance, who spoke to the chefs about regenerative agriculture, local and federal grants and opportunities for BIPOC farmers, and the importance of agriculture in building local economies. 

John Foret of the Rainey Conservation Alliance pointing at a map of Louisiana on a screen photo by Clay Williams
Kendall Dix, national policy director at Taproot Earth speaks to the chefs about regenerative agriculture (photo: Clay Williams)

The chefs received a tour of Avery Island, including visiting the pepper fields and the barreling facilities; tasting the Tabasco mash; seeing the jungle gardens, the marsh, and the Trappers Camp; and hearing from the McIhlenny family about their commitment to sustainability and conservation.

Christian Brown II, head of agriculture and 6th generation McIlhenny family member, leads the chefs on their tour of the barreling facility (photo: Clay Williams).

Chefs worked on crafting their messaging to advocate for specific areas of focus, including nutrition insecurity; school food; food as medicine; access to health care and mental health for restaurant workers; and opportunities for local farmers.

Our latest cohort joins a network of 346 Bootcamp alumni across 47 states and 3 countries committed to improving the industry and food system through their advocacy efforts. 

The chefs exploring the marsh on Avery Island (photo: Clay Williams).

Thank you to our advocacy and sustainability sponsors for making 10 years of Bootcamp possible.

Learn more about the Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change. And sign up for our Industry Support Newsletter to find out about application dates for the Spring 2023 Bootcamp.  


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