FM Magazine: James Beard Foundation

Deb Gordon’s guest was Alison Tozzi Liu, Editorial Director of the James Beard Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit founded in New York City in 1986 to celebrate, nurture and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage.

JBF offers members and the community at large opportunities to embrace that heritage and take part in many educational initiatives, workshops, classes, conferences and other experiences to help them learn more about food, sustainability, public health and nutrition.

Ms. Liu provided background about James Beard, who was one of the initiators of the farm to table movement, and who taught cooking classes at his home in the west village, which is now the now famed James Beard House.

Spotlighted JBF’s latest cookbook, James Beard’s All-American Eats, which features an extensive compilation of recipes and stories from James Beard America’s Classics award winners.

“That’s one of our awards that are given out each May, and they are a very special category of award, given to regional restaurants that are locally owned in that region,” said Liu.

“These are restaurants, like In New York City Barney Greengrass… it’s been open for more than a hundred and ten years…Grand Central Oyster Bar, beautiful institution of NYC…Totonnos in Coney Island…they have an incredible story… they’ve survived a fire that closed the restaurant and they rebuilt it, and this book is restaurants like that all over the country…that have these incredibly inspiring stories.”

JBF also recently held its annual Chefs and Champagne fundraiser which honored James Beard Award–winning chef, author, philanthropist, and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson.  The popular event funds the James Beard Scholarship program for students who need financial support to pursue careers in the food industry.

The Foundation has given out over 7 million dollars in financial aid to deserving students thus far, and has made a concerted effort to mentor them.

“This part of our mission is really important to us, and it’s also expanded recently, we have a women’s grant program, to help bring more women in the food industry into  leadership positions,” said Liu.

For more information about James Beard Foundation, James Beard’s All-American Eats, and the JBF Food Summit happening in New York in October, visit www.jamesbeard.org.

Also connect via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @beardfoundation

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