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Hugh Acheson, Seed Life Skills
Hugh Acheson is the author of the James Beard Award Winning cookbook A NEW TURN IN THE SOUTH: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen and chef/owner/partner of the Athens, Georgia, restaurants 5&10 and The National, the Atlanta restaurants Empire State South, First & Third Hot Dog & Sausage Stand, and coffee shop Spiller Park Coffee. He is also the founder of the non-profit organization, Seed Life Skills, a living, multimedia curriculum built to serve the needs of the modern Family & Consumer Sciences (founded as Home Economics) classroom, emphasizing retainable real life skills with topics including hands-on culinary instruction, conscious consumer economics, and D.I.Y. design principles. His second cookbook is PICK A PICKLE: 50 Recipes for Pickles, Relishes, and Fermented Snacks and his third, THE BROAD FORK: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruit, was released in the spring of 2015. Food & Wine Magazine named him Best New Chef in 2002 and the James Beard Foundation awarded him Best Chef Southeast in 2012. Hugh competed in Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, Season 3 and starred as a judge on Top Chef, Seasons 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13. But all of that is to everyone outside of Athens. To Athens, he is the guy who owns those restaurants, has one eyebrow, and has two daughters who are the apple of his eye.

Mashama Bailey, The Grey
Mashama Bailey is the executive chef of The Grey, an award-winning restaurant set in a former Greyhound bus terminal in Savannah, GA. Since opening in December 2014, The Grey has earned a number of accolades, including being named one of Food & Wine’s Restaurants of The Year, one of Eater’s 21 Best New Restaurants in America, one of Bon Appétit’s 50 nominees for Best New Restaurants in America, and a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s 2015 Best New Restaurant award, thanks in large part to Mashama’s flavorful dishes that highlight local and seasonal ingredients. Prior to opening The Grey with owner Johno Morisano, Mashama served under the tutelage of Gabrielle Hamilton at New York City’s Prune.

Julia Bainbridge, Atlanta Magazine
Julia Bainbridge is the food editor of Atlanta Magazine and a James Beard Award–nominated writer. Formerly an editor at Yahoo Food and Bon Appétit, she has also worked at Condé Nast Traveler and Food & Wine, and her writing has appeared in Playboy, Organic Life, Jarry, Brutal, Bake, Paper, Man Repeller, and Food52, where she was the publication’s first writer in residence. She’s also the host and creator of The Lonely Hour, a podcast about loneliness that’s not a bummer.


Clark Barlowe, Heirloom Restaurant, Chefs Collaborative Local Leader
Clark began his culinary career in his hometown of Lenoir, NC, where his family was a constant source of inspiration for traditional Southern cooking techniques and ingredients.

Before attending Johnson and Wales in Charlotte, NC, Clark worked at a small local eatery, Bud’s Pub, in Lenoir. While attending culinary school in Charlotte, Clark worked for legendary Charlotte restaurateur Frank Scibelli at Mama Ricotta’s. Clark also had stints at some of the world’s top restaurants, including The French Laundry, in Napa, California, and El Bulli, in Spain. Clark names his two most formative kitchen experiences as his time at Chez Pascal in Providence, RI, under Chef Matt Gennuso, and his time spent managing for Clyde’s Restaurant Group, in Washington, DC.

Clark has appeared on The Food Network’s Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay. He was most recently responsible for revamping North Rock Restaurant in Bermuda before returning to North Carolina to open his dream restaurant, Heirloom. Clark spends his time as an active member of several non-profits in Charlotte. He served as a board member of Green Teacher Network (GTN), which works to advance academics, health and sustainability through school gardens and outdoor learning. Clark is also a founding member of the Mecklenburg Community Food Health Coalition, which brings together partners from the private and public sectors, including the Mecklenburg County Department of Public Health, to deal with food policy issues in Mecklenburg County.

Justin Boevers, FishChoice, Chefs Collaborative Board Member
Justin Boevers is the Director of Operations at where he helps businesses understand the issues and solutions surrounding sustainable seafood. Justin, alongside the team at FishChoice, has grown the platform into one of the leading seafood industry resources with nearly 4,000 members. At FishChoice, Justin brings together the best available science from the leading sustainable seafood NGOs and aligns this information with a seafood supply chain industry network.

On a day-to-day basis, Justin is responsible for program content, strategy development, outreach, and communications. These responsibilities also involve working directly with chefs regarding the challenges and opportunities that exist in sourcing environmentally-responsible seafood. Prior to FishChoice, Justin worked for the Marine Stewardship Council sustainable seafood certification program in Seattle. Justin holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Utah and a Master of Marine Affairs degree from the University of Washington and has over 15 years of combined experience in social science and marketing within the seafood, tourism, technology, and consumer products industries.

Kay Cornelius, Niman Ranch
Kay Cornelius grew up on a diversified family-owned crop and cattle ranch in Eastern South Dakota. She spent her early years as an integral part of the family ranch and as an active participant in 4-H. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Animal Science and a Master’s in Meat Science, Kay has focused the majority of her career working with Natural meat companies. She brought her expertise to Niman Ranch in 2008 where she went from being a seasoned Sales Director to the Vice President of Foodservice.

Kay has the unique position of not only representing Niman Ranch’s 720 family farmers and ranchers when she works with her customers, but also being a rancher herself. She is a 4th generation family cattle rancher with her husband and son in Colorado.

Michael Costa, Zaytinya
As the Concept Chef of Zaytinya, together with Chef José Andrés, Chef Costa offers an innovative mezze menu inspired by Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisines served up in a sleek and modern setting. Chef Costa oversees the Washington, D.C. location and the Dallas, Texas location, opening early 2018. Throughout his time at Zaytinya, Chef Costa has cultivated and deepened relationships with local farmers and producers like Anson Mills and Jamison Lamb. Since Chef Costa’s start, the restaurant has earned two three-star reviews from the Washington Post, was named #9 restaurant in DC by Washingtonian, and was awarded a Bib Gourmand in the first Michelin Guide. Building on Chef Costa and José’s deep knowledge of Mediterranean cooking and years of research and travel, the menu features shared small plates of authentic and innovative fare, creative cocktails, and unique Mediterranean wines, making Zaytinya one of the most exciting restaurants in Washington, D.C.

Prior to his career with ThinkFoodGroup, Chef Costa attended culinary school in Dallas and studied under the school’s founder, Costas Katsigris, a Greek native and a mentor who inspired Chef Costa’s love for Greek and Mediterranean flavors. Next, he worked for Chef Kent Rathbun at Abacus in Dallas. From Dallas, Costa moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a Private Dining Chef at Citronelle under award-winning chef Michel Richard before moving to the Michelin-starred restaurant, Michel Rostang, in Paris to work as Chef de Partie. Once back in the U.S., Michael took an executive chef position at Pazo in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was nominated for “Chef of the Year” by the Maryland Restaurant Association in 2010.

Andy Cox, Smith College, Chefs Collaborative Local Leader
Andy Cox is this Director of Dining Services at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. His past experience includes General Manager at The Hotchkiss School and Executive Chef at the Harvard Kennedy School as well as farm to table restaurants in Oregon, Chicago and Boston. He holds a BA from UMass Amherst in Sustainability Management with a Certificate in Sustainable Food and Farming. Andy is committed to focused shifts in institutional spend to support regional agriculture through diner engagement and education.

Adam Danforth, Author, Butcher, Chefs Collaborative Board Member
Adam Danforth is the James Beard and IACP award-winning author of two books, published by Storey Publishing, about slaughtering and butchering livestock. He teaches workshops worldwide on butchery and meat science for venues such as Stone Barns Center for Agriculture, the James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp, Oregon State University, and the National Bison Association. Adam also consults and provides experiential education to restaurants including Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Bazaar Meat, and Maude. He is the American ambassador for the Butchers Manifesto and a Board Member of the Chefs Collaborative and The Meat Collective. Adam lives in Ashland, OR.

Piper Davis, Grand Central Bakery, Chefs Collaborative Board Chair
Piper Davis is a partner at Grand Central Bakery in Seattle and Portland, a regional family of 10 cafes and artisan bakeries. Through her 22 year career at the bakery she has driven Grand Central Bakery’s commitment to working with local ingredients and responsible farmers and ranchers. Piper received training in pastry at the National Baking Institute, where she completed the Viennoiserie program. She is a member of The Bread Bakers Guild of America, Slow Food, and a frequent speaker at good food movement events, most recently at The NY Times “The Future of Food in Portland,” part of the Time’s “Look West” series and at UC Boulder’s Conference on World Affairs. An avid baker, cook, and good food provisioner, she is the author of The Grand Central Baking Book and is Board Chair of Chefs Collaborative.

Justin Dean, Madhouse Vinegar Co., Chefs Collaborative Board Member and Local Leader
Born and raised in the backroads of Kentucky’s farmland, it was only natural that Justin Dean follow the winding contours of the terrain from Field to Fork. Beginning at his parents’ farm in Mason County where he attended high school, Dean’s path led to Providence, RI where he graduated from Johnson & Wales with a degree in Food & Beverage Management. From there, he honed his skills at the Maisonette, a restaurant with the longest running streak of five-star awards from the Mobil Travel Guide.

With an accumulated 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Dean has helped open more than a dozen concept restaurants and collaborated on countless side projects, including working with Woodlands Pork and Black Oak Holler Farm. It was in these wooded mountains of West Virginia where he got a taste for carving up perfect, porcine samples of woodlands mast finished hogs nearly 15 years ago.

Michael Dimin, Sea to Table

Owned and operated by the Dimin family, Sea to Table delivers the highest standard of wild, domestic, sustainable and traceable seafood to discerning chefs and consumers throughout America.



Herb Eckhouse, La Quercia

Herb Eckhouse and his wife, Kathy, started La Quercia with the goal of making uniquely delicious cured meats from humanely raised American pork. Their appreciation of fine cured meats was sparked by several years living in Parma, Italy in the 1980’s but it was the bounty of the Midwest that inspired them to start curing meats in their Des Moines basement a decade ago. Although the company now operates in a much larger facility in nearby Norwalk, Iowa, they still salt, turn and trim each piece by hand in their aging rooms.

Merry Edwards, Merry Edwards Winery, California Wine Institute Sustainability Program
One of California’s first woman winemakers, Merry Edwards began her career at Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974. She went on to become the founding winemaker at Matanzas Creek in 1977 and remained there until 1984. For the next decade, Merry consulted for numerous wineries, large and small, in Oregon and many diverse appellations of California.

In 1997, family and friends joined Merry to found Merry Edwards Winery, with a focus on producing Pinot Noirs with a sense of place from Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. In 2008, she and her husband, Ken Coopersmith, completed their winery on the site of Coopersmith Vineyard. In this venue, tastings are hosted to educate visitors about Merry’s handcrafted wines and site-specific viticulture.

In 2013, Merry’s 40th year as a winemaker, she was not only inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame, she also won the coveted James Beard Award for Best Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional in the United States, one of just three women to win both honors. This year, Merry Edwards was named a Certified California Sustainable Winery as were all of Merry’s vineyards.

Joe Fassler, The New Food Economy

Joe Fassler is senior editor at The New Food Economy, where he covers the cultural, political, and economic forces shaping the way we eat. In 2017, he was selected by Michael Pollan and Malia Wollan to be a 11th Hour Food and Farming Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s a longtime contributor to, where his work has been a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award in Journalism. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.


Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chefs Collaborative Board Member
Paul Fehribach calls the small Southern Indiana town of Jasper home and vividly recalls ample time as a youngster spent on family farms. Years later, upon opening Big Jones, these early experiences would shape Fehribach’s approach to the Southern culinary cannon, taking cuisine beyond mere farm-to-table proclamations to find deeper meaning in the history of the Southern table, by reviving both old receipts and the ingredients used to make them, interpreted for a modern audience in Chicago.

After front of house stints at Hi Ricky Asia Noodle Shop and Schubas Tavern, Fehribach opened Big Jones in April 2008. Big Jones’ presence was soon felt as it was named “Best New Restaurant” by Chicago Magazine in 2009, and received three stars from the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Vettel in 2010. Most recently Fehribach has been honored as a nominee for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Great Lakes each year from 2013 through 2017.

Fehribach published the Big Jones Cookbook on University of Chicago Press in May 2015 to great celebration. Fehribach is a proud member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, James Beard Foundation, Seed Savers Exchange, and serves on the board of Chefs Collaborative. He volunteers with Cooking Up Change, the Green City Market, Share Our Strength, and Purple Asparagus. In his spare time he’s a fitness enthusiast and avid vinyl record collector.

Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit
Zachary Golper has an extensive background in the bread and pastry arts. Having worked with World Champion Bakers and Pastry Chefs as well as an M.O.F. (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France), he has opened Bakery Nouveau of Seattle, Washington, as well as the bakery for the M Resort of Las Vegas, Nevada and was brought on to recreate the menu and restructure the baking operation for Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia. In 2011, he moved to New York to open Bien Cuit and has since been nominated for three Best Baker awards by the James Beard Foundation. He was also a finalist (top 5) twice. In 2015, he published his first cookbook, Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread.

Michael Hansen, Consumers Union
Michael K. Hansen Ph.D., a Senior Staff Scientist with Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, currently works primarily on food safety issues. He has been largely responsible for developing CU positions on safety, testing and labeling of genetically engineered food and “mad cow” disease. Since 2003, he has worked on a multi-state effort to ban the use of food crops to produce pharmaceutical drugs and industrial chemicals.

Dr. Hansen authored the Consumers Union book Pest Control for House and Garden, published in 1992, and co-authored Pest Management at the Crossroads, a 1996 policy study on integrated pest management. He has also written reports on alternatives to agricultural pesticides in developing countries, and the pesticide and agriculture policies of the World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. He wrote CU’s 1990 report on recombinant bovine growth hormone, Biotechnology and Milk: Benefit or Threat? In 2004, he co-authored Pharmaceutical Rice in California: Potential Risks to Consumers, the Environment and the California Rice Industry.

Marielena Hincapié, National Immigration Law Center
Marielena Hincapié is the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, the main organization dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants in the U.S. Under her leadership, NILC has grown to be one of the premier immigrants’ rights organizations.

Fully bilingual and bicultural, Ms. Hincapié is often interviewed by media outlets such as Univisión, Telemundo, CNN en Español, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. She also is a frequent lecturer at national and international conferences, addressing issues of migration, and she works closely with emerging leaders in the social justice movement. Ms. Hincapié began her tenure at NILC in 2000 as a staff attorney leading the organization’s labor and employment program. During that time, she successfully litigated law reform and impact- litigation cases dealing with the intersection of immigration laws and employment/labor laws.

Among the awards Ms. Hincapié has received are Univision’s Corazón Award for 2013, in honor of her commitment to the Latino community. The media company, which honors one organization and one individual each year, cited her leadership at the National Immigration Law Center as a key reason she received the award. In 2014, she received the Latina of Influence award from Hispanic Lifestyle, the National Public Service Award from Stanford Law School, and was selected as a Prime Mover Fellow by the Hunt Alternatives Fund.

Linton Hopkins, Resurgens Hospitality Group
An internationally acclaimed chef-owner and Atlanta native known for celebrating local produce and community-driven cuisine, Linton Hopkins delivers radical and meaningful experiences inside and outside of his remarkable selection of dining destinations. A graduate from Emory University and the Culinary Institute of America, Hopkins opened flagship Restaurant Eugene in 2004 with his wife, co-founder and co-CEO of Resurgens Hospitality Group Gina Hopkins. The duo proceeded to open Holeman and Finch Public House in 2008, followed by Holeman and Finch Bottle Shop in 2011, H&F Burger at both Ponce City Market and Turner Field, now at SunTrust Park, Hop’s Chicken and soon-to-debut C. Ellet’s, an upscale, modern American concept in new Battery Park. Hopkins was named the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southeast in 2008 and champion of Iron Chef: Atlanta, moving on to take the silver medal on the famed Iron Chef: America after facing Japanese great Masaharu Morimoto.

The Hopkins’ co-founded the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, and began working hand-in-hand with Delta Airlines in 2013, building the premier locally sourced, seasonal menu in aviation history and now provide the cuisine served on all international Delta flights. In addition, a partnership with the Atlanta Braves continues with multiple H&F Burger outposts at new SunTrust Park, in addition to C. Ellet’s debuting this summer directly outside the stadium.

Tamara Jones, Southeast African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON)
Tamara Jones currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of the Southeast African American farmers Organic Network (SAAFON). SAAFON’s mission is to ensure the viability and economic success of Black farmers by increasing their organic and sustainable farm practices; advocating for Black sustainable farm ethic and values in the food system; and promoting links among Black farming, culture and history. SAAFON is the first and largest network of African American organic farmers in the US, representing farmers in eight states: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and the Virgin Islands.

Tamara also serves as the Founder of Evident Impact LLC – a management consulting firm based in Decatur GA. The firm specializes in leading organizations through robust and impactful planning, evaluation, and program management in order to help them achieve their strategic goals. She has extensive experience in the government and nonprofit sectors where she served in executive offices overseeing programs in the offices of Houston Mayor Bill White and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. She has also held positions as Director of Programs at Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance; Director of Programs at Southface Energy Institute; Director of Policy & Management Analysis in the City of Atlanta Department of Finance; and Chief of Staff for City of Houston Council Member Ada Edwards.

Terry Koval, Wrecking Bar Brew Pub
Chef Koval moved from South Carolina to Atlanta in 2000 and worked at the famed Buckhead Diner before becoming executive Sous Chef under Chef Gary Mennie at the nationally acclaimed Canoe. Later he joined Concentrics Restaurants as the Executive Sous Chef of Lobby at TWELVE under Chef Nick Oltarsh, and was promoted to Executive Chef at sister restaurant Room at TWELVE which was awarded 3 stars by The Atlanta Journal Constitution. In 2010 Terry was offered the opportunity to conceptualize unique and seasonal grass-fed burgers at Farm Burger, awarding them one of the top ten best burgers in the country by Food and Wine Magazine and given 3 stars by The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Moving forward, in late 2013 Koval took the reins at Wrecking Bar Brewpub as Executive Chef. After he took over the menu, the Wrecking Bar was awarded 3 out of 4 stars by The Atlanta Journal Constitution as well as receiving 3 out of 5 stars from Creative Loafing. Chef Koval was awarded the Snail of Approval award for community service by Slow Food Atlanta in 2014, and nominated by Best Chefs America 2015. Chef Koval has also been featured on the Food Network’s top-rated show “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives,” as well as being a “Chopped” contestant in 2013. Chef Koval participates on the Chef’s Board of Georgia Organics, is an active member with Wholesome Wave Georgia and Slow Food Atlanta, and recently received a scholarship to attend the 2016 Chefs Collaborative Summit in NYC. Chef Koval resides with his wife Jenn, 13 year old daughter Olivia and 3 year old son Jackson in Decatur Ga.

Johnny Livesay, Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery

Johnny Livesay is the Executive Chef and Co-founder of the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery, the world’s first co-operatively and worker self managed brewpub located in Austin, Texas. Johnny is a worker rights and fair wage labor advocate, as well as a local leader in environmental and economic sustainability practices. He is a native Austinite, and currently lives in South Austin with his wife and cats.


Evan Mallet, Black Trumpet Bistro, Chefs Collaborative Board Member

Evan Mallett is the chef and co-owner of Black Trumpet, adjacent retail shop Stock + Spice in Portsmouth, NH and more recently Ondine Oyster + Wine Bar in Belfast, ME. A four-time James Beard Award Semi-finalist for Best Chef – Northeast, Mallett sits on the Boards of Chefs Collaborative, Slow Food Seacoast, and is the co-founder of Heirloom Harvest Project. His first book, Black Trumpet: A Chef’s Journey through Eight New England Seasons, was released by Chelsea Green Publishing in October of 2016. He and his family live in southern Maine.

Martha Mendoza, Associated Press

Martha Mendoza is an Associated Press journalist whose reports have prompted Congressional hearings, Pentagon investigations and White House responses. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, she was part of a team whose investigation into slavery in the Thai seafood sector led to the freedom of more than 2000 men. She’s worked for AP from Bangkok, Silicon Valley, New York, New Mexico and Mexico City.


Katherine Miller, James Beard Foundation
Katherine Miller is the founding executive director of the Chef Action Network (CAN) and Senior Director of Food Policy Advocacy at the James Beard Foundation. Katherine leads the foundation’s signature advocacy training program, the Chefs’ Boot Camp for Policy & Change, and manages Smart Catch, a campaign to encourage chefs and restaurants to source and market sustainable seafood. She is also part of the foundation’s Impact team focused on making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.

Sammy Monsour, Preux & Proper, Chefs Collaborative Local Leader
Sammy Monsour is a third generation chef, cookbook author and food activist. You may recognize him from his numerous appearances on Food Network, Travel Channel and Hallmark. He is a graduate of the “Culinary Institute of America” and veteran of several professional kitchens, with roots stemming from his parent’s neighborhood joint in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His passion for sustainability, application of modern technique and devotion to cooking with soul are staples throughout his interpretation of regional Southern cuisine. His cooking has received acknowledgment and acclaim from many great American food institutions, including “James Beard Foundation,” “Eater,” “American Culinary Federation” and “Zagat.” Sammy currently resides in Downtown Los Angeles where he is the Executive Chef of Preux & Proper, a Chefs Collaborative LA Local Leader, and member of the “Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch” Blue Ribbon Task Force.

Emily Moose, A Greener World
As Director of Communications and Outreach for A Greener World, Emily Moose works to build consumer awareness of AGW’s leading third-party certifications (Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Grassfed by AGW and Certified Non-GMO by AGW) and provide farmers and ranchers with the highest level of service and support. Emily leads the nonprofit’s outreach team throughout the U.S. and Canada, guiding communications and developing new programs and initiatives within the organization–including AGW’s labeling support, volunteer and membership programs. She is a co-editor of Food Labels Exposed, AGW’s definitive guide to food labels, and has been featured in numerous conferences, publications and media outlets including Rodale’s Organic Life, Civil Eats and NPR. Emily developed a love of agriculture at an early age during summer visits to her cousin’s hog farm in eastern Virginia. She is a graduate of UNC-Asheville and the NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Agricultural Leadership Development Program and is based in rural North Carolina.

Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road, Ben’s Friends
Steve Palmer formed the Charleston-based hospitality and consulting group The Indigo Road in 2009 when he began working with the celebrated restaurant Oak Steakhouse on historic Broad Street. He went on to open Mercantile and Mash and The Cedar Room at the Cigar Factory, O-Ku, The Macintosh, The Cocktail Club and Indaco, on upper King Street in Charleston; The Granary in Mount Pleasant, S.C.; The Oak Table in the heart of Columbia, S.C.; Town Hall in Florence, S.C.; Colletta and Oak Steakhouse in Alpharetta, Ga.; O-Ku on Atlanta’s Westside, Oak Steakhouse and O-Ku in Charlotte, N.C.; and Oak Steakhouse in Nashville, Tenn. The group is also set to open another Italian concept, Donetto, in Atlanta this fall.

Prior to forming The Indigo Road, Palmer served as vice president of food and beverage for the Ginn Clubs and Resorts. In this role, he managed eleven properties in the Southeast and the Caribbean, while still developing other hospitality concepts for the company. He eventually served as the lead developer for Ginn Resorts, and developed over $100 million in hotel and club space.

In January 2017, The Post & Courier named Palmer the second most powerful food and beverage industry player in Charleston. He was recognized not only for his growing presence in the hospitality business, but also for his charitable and community efforts. A longtime supporter of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry and Charleston’s Feed the Need coalition, Palmer also founded Ben’s Friends, a food and beverage industry support group for professionals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction.

Daniel Patterson, Alta Group, Coi, and LocoL
Daniel Patterson is the Oakland-based chef, author and restaurateur behind Coi, Alta and several other Bay Area restaurants, and co-founder of the “revolutionary fast food venture” LocoL. This spring, he opened the second location of Alta at the Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, joining his three Alta Group restaurants: Alfred’s steakhouse (which he took ownership of in 2015), the original Alta in Mid-Market and Plum Bar in Oakland. 

In addition to his Alta Group restaurants, Patterson owns the two Michelin-starred Coi and Aster in San Francisco. He partnered with Roy Choi to create LocoL, the revolutionary fast food chain with locations in Watts and West Oakland, CA, which was recently named the first-ever restaurant of the year by LA Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold. Patterson is also the co-founder of The Cooking Project, a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to teaching kids and young adults fundamental cooking skills, and he is working with ROC (Restaurant Opportunities Center) United’s social equality pilot program to combat occupational segregation in the restaurant space.

Patterson has been named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef and has received a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the West. He is the author of Coi: Stories and Recipes and Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Foods and Fragrance with Mandy Aftel. His second book with Aftel, The Art of Flavor was released by Riverhead in August 2017. 

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Rep. Chellie Pingree was elected to Congress from Maine’s 1st Congressional District in 2008. She currently sits on the House Appropriations Committee, serving on the Subcommittee on Agriculture and the Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment.

She has been an advocate in Congress for reforming federal policy to better support the diverse range of American agriculture—including sustainable, organic, and locally focused farming. Many provisions from comprehensive legislation she introduced to make these reforms were passed in the 2014 Farm Bill. She has also introduced two pieces of legislation—the Food Recovery Act and the Food Date Labeling Act—to help reduce the staggering amount of food waste in the United States. She has been chosen to receive a 2017 James Beard Leadership Award for her national leadership in food system reform.

From 2003 to 2007, Chellie served as the National President and CEO of Common Cause, a non-partisan citizen activist group whose mission is to help citizens make their voices heard in the political process and to hold elected leaders accountable to the public interest. Chellie and her husband, Charlie, spent several years running a small farm and selling produce locally. In 1981, she started North Island Yarn, a cottage industry of local knitters, with a retail store on the island. Today, in addition to her political life, Chellie co-owns and helps manage Nebo Lodge, a bed & breakfast and restaurant on North Haven, which she started with several partners in 2006.

Anne Quatrano, Bacchanalia, Star Provisions
Anne Quatrano is widely held to be one of the country’s greatest chefs. Her meticulous attention to detail dovetails seamlessly with her devotion to freshness, flavor and simplicity. Anne has – since her earliest days – prided herself in using locally grown seasonal and organic produce, much of which is from her own organic gardens. Together with her husband, award-winning chef Clifford Harrison, she operates four of Atlanta, GA’s most celebrated restaurants – Bacchanalia, Floataway Café and Little Bacch as well as a cook’s market, Star Provisions.

In the fall of 2015, Anne opened W. H. Stiles Fish Camp (aka Dub’s) offering fresh seafood, respectfully prepared and reasonably priced in Ponce City Market Central Food Hall. In 2010, Quatrano launched Sunday Supper South, an annual event in Atlanta bringing together lauded chefs from across the South to prepare a family-style supper as a fundraiser for the James Beard Foundation’s scholarship fund.

In 2013, Anne and Clifford hosted the first annual New South Family Supper, inviting the South’s most innovative chefs to Atlanta to participate in this benefit for Southern Foodways Alliance. Anne has been featured on CNN’s “On The Menu” and “Hot Chefs,” GPTV’s “Cooking for the Holidays,” Food Network’s “Great Chefs” and “Ultimate Kitchens,” CNN’s “Tips from the Top” and “Great Cities” on the Discovery Channel.

Matthew Raiford, The Farmer and the Larder, Gilliard Farms, Chefs Collaborative Board Member
CheFarmer Matthew Raiford, executive chef and owner at The Farmer and The Larder in Brunswick, featured in January 2016’s Garden & Gun as one of the South’s most exciting new restaurants, most recently served as the program coordinator and associate professor of Culinary Arts at the College of Coastal Georgia.

Raiford has a Bachelor’s of Professional Studies degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the University of California Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

Raiford is also the farmer at Gilliard Farms in Brunswick, Ga. where he is the sixth generation to farm on the land that has been in his family since 1874. Gilliard Farms is a family-run, Certified Organic farm growing under the watchful eye of Matthew and his sibling Althea. Gilliard Farms was first established by Matthew’s great, great, great grandfather Jupiter Gilliard.

Andrea Reusing, Lantern and The Durham Hotel
Andrea Reusing is the executive chef of The Durham Hotel in Durham, North Carolina and the chef and owner of Lantern in Chapel Hill. The recipient of the James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast” in 2011, Reusing collaborates with small farms and producers across North Carolina and is an advocate for food policy change.

Reusing was the founding chef and general manager of Enoteca Vin, the critically-acclaimed, wine focused restaurant in Raleigh. In 2002, Reusing opened Lantern where she combines North Carolina ingredients with Asian flavors and has earned accolades including “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” from Gourmet and one of “America’s 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences” from Food & Wine. At The Durham, Reusing revives American melting pot and hotel classics, and casts them in a modern light at the restaurant and rooftop bar.

In 2011, Reusing published her first cookbook, Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. An absorbing journey through a year in her home kitchen as she cooks for family and friends, the book was named one of the most notable cookbooks of the year by The New York Times. Reusing is also the founder of Kitchen Patrol, a non-profit project to improve children’s access to quality food through weekly cooking classes, serves on the board of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, and chairs the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Advisory Committee.

Keith Rhodes, Catch Modern Seafood Restaurant and Catch the Food Truck
An Eastern North Carolina native, chef Keith Rhodes, owner of Catch Modern Seafood Restaurant and Catch the Food Truck, is located in the Coastal Community of Wilmington NC where he offers his unique signature on New Southern Cuisine with international inspiration. Crediting his grandfather for his “farm to table” approach, chef Rhodes has a wealth of roots in the Carolina Coastal community, supporting local purveyors, fishermen and farmers.

Voted Wilmington’s Best Chef 4 years in a row, chef Rhodes has won NC Goodness grows Best dish for Fine dining and Casual dining restaurants in the same year, never to be repeated. Chef has represented the NC Dept of Tourism in New York City. He was a 2011 James Beard finalist for “Best Chef of the Southeast,” and he has also competed on Bravo Television series “Top Chef “ (Season 9).

Glenn Roberts, Anson Mills
Glenn Roberts founded Anson Mills in 1998 in Charleston, South Carolina, to repatriate lost foods of the Antebellum and Colonial Southern Pantry. Today Anson Mills produces artisan organic heirloom grain, legume, and oil seed ingredients for chefs and home cooks worldwide and provides pro bono seedsmanship for the growing community of Southern organic heirloom crop farmers. Glenn is president of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation and recipient of USA Artisan of the Year and National Pathfinder Awards.


Craig Rogers, Border Springs Farm
Craig Rogers operates Border Springs Farm, a sheep operation in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Shepherding was the last place Craig Rogers thought his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering would lead him but a sheepdog trial on the campus of Virginia Tech intrigued him into a new hobby and later a new profession. Chefs often describe their work as “putting love into their food,” says Rogers and he prides himself on being a shepherd who puts his personal signature on every single animal that leaves his farm. This personal stamp is also evident in his annual Lambstock, an outdoor culinary extravaganza that brings together almost 200 chefs and producers for a weekend of rustic, wonderful food and demonstrations.

Jake Rojas, Tallulah’s on Thames, Chefs Collaborative Local Leader
Rojas originates from El Paso, Texas and is a graduate of the Culinary Art Institute of Dallas. Some of his earlier career tours was Sous Chef at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion MGM, Chef de Partie at Alain Ducasse’s Mix, and the Four Seasons resort in West Palm beach. Jake owns and operates Tallulah’s Taqueria & Tallulah’s Tacos at The Shack in RI with his wife Kellyann. Along with Mobile taco carts around the state. Jake’s restaurants embody the flavors from his childhood & technique from his experiences working with the best culinary leaders in the country.

Alice Rolls, Georgia Organics
Inspired at a young age by Rachel Carson and the woods behind her house, Alice Rolls has devoted her entire professional career to environmental causes, working for 30 years in the nonprofit arena and lending her expertise to the development of three organizations. In 2004, Alice became the Executive Director of Georgia Organics, a nonprofit organization working to connect organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families. Prior to this position, Alice helped establish and develop The Nature Conservancy’s Georgia Chapter and was the founding executive director of Earth Share of Georgia. She is a 1987 graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in biology and environmental sciences and a 2004 graduate of the Governor’s Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership. In her spare time, Alice can be found tending her edible garden, transporting herself by bike around town, or foraging for mushrooms in undisclosed locations.

Kara Rota, Macmillan Publishers
Kara Rota is an Editor at Macmillan Publishers, focusing on acquiring and editing cookbooks and other nonfiction for Flatiron, St. Martin’s Griffin, and other Macmillan imprints. She’s also the host of the weekly Clever Cookstr podcast on Macmillan’s Quick and Dirty Tips network and Director of, a Macmillan portfolio company and recipe site whose mission is to digitally organize cookbook recipes. Growing up outside of Philadelphia and Chicago with an Italian father and a mother who was a macrobiotic chef turned raw vegan, Kara was always immersed in the culture and values behind why people eat what they do. In the earliest days of her career in food, Kara headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara is a Digital Media Mentor with Girls Write Now, and lives in Brooklyn.

Jovan Sage, Sage’s Larder, The Farmer and The Larder
Jovan Sage, creator of Sage’s Larder, is also the resident pickler/fermentator/jam-maker/herbalist and owner at The Farmer and The Larder. As a little kid working in her grandfather’s shop at the City Market, she got to explore the different food stalls, food trucks and farmers stands. She got to touch, see and taste food from all over the world and from local farms. It was there that Sage discovered the intoxicating allure of international spices – curries, fenugreek, cumin, paprika, peppers, ginger & turmeric. This foundation has shaped her palate and spice cabinet. She has spent 15 years working with local, national and international non-profit organizations and spending the last 5 years focusing on sustainability, food and agriculture — including working as a food retail consultant and Network Engagement Director for Slow Food USA in New York City.

Stephen Satterfield, Whetstone Magazine

Stephen Satterfield is an Oakland-based food writer, multimedia producer and Founder of Whetstone Magazine, a digital and print publication on food origin and culture. He is a proud, 5th Generation ATLien, and worked as sommelier and operator at some of the nation’s finest restaurants for over a decade.



Kim Severson, The New York Times
Kim Severson has been a staff writer for The New York Times since 2004.  She is a correspondent based in the South, reporting on the nation’s food and culture. She also contributes to NYT Cooking, the New York Times cooking app, as well as several other publications.

Previously, Kim was the Times’ Southern bureau chief, covering a mix of breaking and political news. Before she joined Times, wrote about food for the San Francisco Chronicle and was an editor and reporter at The Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. She also has covered crime, education, social services and government for daily newspapers on the West Coast and has written four books.

Saket Soni, National Guestworker Alliance, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice
Saket Soni is the Executive Director and co-founder of the National Guestworker Alliance and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. Saket has crafted and led acclaimed campaigns on critical workers rights and immigrant rights issues that have won far-reaching organizing and policy victories and earned nationwide publicity. Most recently, Saket is the convener and co-chair of the Future of Work Initiative, an experiment in social policy, grassroots advocacy, and public narrative to find solutions to the new American working majority; contingent workers who are experiencing the changing nature of work.

Andrea Stanley, Valley Malt
Since 2009 Andrea Stanley has been on a mission to bring the malthouse back. Along with her husband she runs Valley Malt in Hadley, MA where locally sourced grains are turned into local malt for brewers and distillers in New England. These grains come from small family farms that use wheat, rye, and barley as a healthy rotation for their soil. In 2016, Andrea was honored by Food and Wine and Forbes Magazine as one of the 20 Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink. She serves as the President of the Craft Maltster’s Guild, an organization supporting the growth of craft malt. In her spare time she searches for anything she can read about the history of barley and malt. She has been known to corner people in breweries, barley fields and grain elevators to talk about malt.

Stephanie Stuckey, City of Atlanta
Stephanie Stuckey received both her undergraduate and law degree from the University of Georgia. She graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1992. After law school, she served as a public defender and then went into private practice before being elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 1999. Stephanie served as a State Representative from the Decatur area for 14 years, during which time she was a member of the Judiciary and Natural Resources Committees. She then went on to serve as Executive Director of GreenLaw, an Atlanta-based public interest law firm dedicated to giving Georgia’s environment its day in court. In May 2015, she was appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed to be Director of Sustainability for the City of Atlanta. In November 2016, Stephanie was named the Chief Resilience Officer for Atlanta, working in conjunction with the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities.”

Stephanie’s legal expertise was recognized in 2011 when she was given the Outstanding Lawyer in Public Service Award by the Atlanta Bar Association. Stephanie serves on the Boards for the Green Chamber of the South, EarthShare of Georgia, and the Olmsted Linear Parks Association. She is a member of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership Class of 2013.

Nancy Suttles, Southern Farm & Garden
Nancy Suttles is the Co-Founder, Publisher and Creative Director for Southern Farm & Garden, a national consumer publication dedicated to agriculture, food origination and sustainability. Since 2008, she has been the publishing and creative consultant to Big Green Egg. She co-produces the Big Green Egg Lifestyle, an corporate publication that has international distribution. She began her career as the Art Director of The Robb Report magazine, an international lifestyle publication. She is also an award-winning art director and publisher with more than three decades of experience developing editorial content, editorial design and photography.

Brendan Vesey, Joinery Restaurant, Chefs Collaborative Local Leader
Brendan Vesey is the chef and general manager of Joinery Restaurant in Newmarket, NH. He decided to make cooking his profession while studying foreign affairs at the University of Virginia. After completing his service obligation as a Naval Officer, Brendan traded one white uniform for another and began a life of cuts, burns, and late nights. His upbringing in Virginia and his relationships with local producers inspire the menu at Joinery. Brendan is a Local Leader of Chef’s Collaborative and an adjunct instructor Great Bay Community College. In 2016 he was nominated for Best Chef Seacoast by the Seacoast Media Group. He lives in Portsmouth with his wife Sarah, two little girls and his dog, Tater.

Tunde Wey, Blackness in America
Tunde Wey is a Nigerian cook and writer. He moved to the United States at 16. Since 2016, he has been traveling across the country with his pop-up dinner series, Blackness in America, which explores race in America from the Black perspective, through food and discussion. He writes a column for the San Francisco Chronicle, you can read more about his projects at He currently resides in New Orleans.


Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman’s
In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.

Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and Miss Kim, a Korean restaurant that opened in November 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.

Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Virginia Willis, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises
Georgia-born, French-trained chef Virginia Willis was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby, has spoken at SXSW, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Aretha Franklin with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen.

Willis is the author of Lighten Up, Y’allBon Appétit, Y’allBasic to Brilliant, Y’allOkra, and GritsLighten Up, Y’all received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health category and was a finalist for Best American cookbook by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

She is currently in development with WGBH for a series called Secrets of the Southern Table with Chef Virginia Willis: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South to air nationally on public television stations. Virginia has appeared on television Food Network’s Chopped, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, Paula Deen’s Best Dishes, “In the Kitchen with David” on QVC, CNN International, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Judith Winfrey, PeachDish
In 2014, Judith Winfrey joined PeachDish, a national meal kit delivery service based in Atlanta, as owner and President. Since then, she has led the business from initial startup to early stage company, growing revenue over 400% from 2015 to 2016. Throughout her career, Judith has focused on combining her passions for good food and karmic leadership to develop businesses that empower, nourish and enrich people.

Before joining PeachDish, Judith served as Chief Operating Officer for Resurgens Hospitality Group, a company founded by James Beard-Award Winning Chef Linton Hopkins, which oversees Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch Public House, H&F Bread Co., H&F Bottle Shop, Eugene Kitchen, and H&F Burger. While there, Winfrey established foundational structures, developed and leveraged strategies for growth, and oversaw the daily operations of six businesses with a combined 200 employees and $20 million in sales annually.

Since 2008, Winfrey and her husband Joe Reynolds have co-owned the celebrated Love is Love Farm, a certified organic farm growing a diversity of vegetables and fruit through soil-based agricultural practices. Love Is Love Farm provides produce for a 150+ member CSA group and sells directly to restaurants in the Atlanta area. The granddaughter of a Georgia sharecropper, Winfrey is a strong force in Atlanta’s local food and farming advocacy community. She is the co-founder of both Wholesome Wave Georgia and Community Farmers Markets, and served as leader of the Atlanta chapter of Slow Food International as well as Regional Governor for Slow Food USA.