April 2017: race


Michael Twitty

Story no. 1

Michael W. Twitty is a noted Judaics teacher and culinary and cultural historian and the creator of Afroculinaria, the first blog devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacy. He has been honored by First We as one of twenty greatest food bloggers of all time, and named one of “Fifty People Changing the South” by Southern Living and one of the “Five Cheftavists to Watch” by TakePart.Com. Twitty has appeared on NPR’s The Splendid Table and Morning Edition and has written for the Guardian, Ebony, Local Palate, and soon the Washington Post.  From the Smithsonian to Yale, he has given more than 300 talks in the U.S. and abroad, including The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery at St. Catherine's College in Oxford, England and the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival. He is a Smith Fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance and a TED fellow and speaker.  He recently won Taste talks first Culinary Pioneer Award and a readers choice and editors choice award from Saveur for best food and culture blog.  Twitty's book, The Cooking Gene will be released by Harper Collins in August 2017.


Bonnie Tsui


Bonnie Tsui is the author of AMERICAN CHINATOWN. She has written about Michelin street food, the Baghdad swim team, shark fin soup, and China's dancing grannies for The New York Times, California Sunday, the Atlantic, and Pop-Up Magazine. Recently, she appeared as a talking head in the documentary The Search for General Tso, to explain the curiously foreign-yet-familiar quality of Chinese-American food.  She is at work on her next book, WHY WE SWIM, to be published by Algonquin Books.


TodD Kliman


Todd Kliman is an author, essayist, cultural critic, and food writer. Winner of two James Beard Foundation Awards, including the 2016 MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, Todd’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Oxford American, The Daily Beast and Lucky Peach.  He is the author of the non-fiction narrative, The Wild Vine. Until recently, he wrote the Otherwise column at The Washingtonian. Todd taught literature and writing for ten years at American University and Howard University, where he also was editorial director of Chris Rock’s satirical magazine, The Illtop Journal.  His memoir of his artist father, Happiness is Otherwise is forthcoming.


Alexis Madrigal

Story no. 4

Alexis Madrigal is Editor-at-Large of Fusion. He was a senior editor at The Atlantic and a staff writer at Wired. He's the author of Powering the Dream and a visiting scholar at U.C. Berkeley.


Fernay McPherson 

Story no. 5

Fernay McPherson is the chef/owner of Minnie Bell's Soul Movement. She is a San Francisco native and has been cooking since childhood. The name Minnie Bell's was inspired by her late grandmother Lillie Bell and great aunt Minnie. Fernay completed the Kitchen Culinary Academy in 2008 and joined La Cocina in 2011 to help her take her passion for cooking to the next level. 


Stephanie Fields

Story no. 6

Stephanie Fields is the owner of Sugarfoot, a southern comfort catering company & pop-up. Before starting Sugarfoot, Stephanie was a music publicist & belly dance teacher. She's originally from Henderson, North Carolina, & after time spent in NYC, Milwaukee, & Nashville, landed in San Francisco seven years ago with her partner, Matt. Stephanie joined La Cocina's Culinary Incubator Program in 2013.


The People's Kitchen Collective


Saqib Keval

Saqib Keval learned the importance of food from his grandmother's hands. Today, he is a chef and community organizer who imagines and supports new food systems. Saqib started the People's Kitchen in 2007 with revolutionary love from the kitchen to the streets.  He trained as a chef in Aix-en-Provence, France and has helped open and manage restaurants throughout California. He is also cooking between Mexico and California, researching the migration of spices, corn and people between India and Mexico with MasalaYMaiz. He has a long history of intersectional grassroots organizing with the People’s Grocery and The Restaurant Opportunities Center as the national manager of the COLORS restaurants located in Detroit and NYC.



Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is an artist, writer, and educator who tells the stories of our migration through food and craft, most recently constructing a border wall out of piñatas. Raised in Los Angeles and based in Oakland, she is Indian and Japanese Colombian American. She has exhibited and collaborated internationally in the U.S., Mexico, Holland, Hong Kong, and Ireland. Committed to diversity in the arts, Sita has been the art features editor for Hyphen magazine and is a Programming Advisor for Kearny Street Workshop. A co-founder of the People's Kitchen Collective, she currently teaches A Taste of Resistance at CCA.




Jocelyn Jackson

Jocelyn Jackson’s passion for seasonal food, social justice, creativity, and community is rooted in a childhood spent on the Kansas plains. Since then, Jocelyn has practiced law, taught environmental science and ethics, become a yoga instructor, and created performance and visual art. Her international experiences include serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa and teaching in an ecovillage in Southern India. She is a co-founder of the People's Kitchen Collective and the founder of JUSTUS KITCHEN to continue to create food experiences that inspire people to reconnect with themselves, the earth, and one another. She begins every meal with a song.


Tannis Reinhertz

Story N0. 8 

A native San Franciscan, born into a family of food lovers and great cooks, Tannis started her professional "culinary" career at the age of fourteen scooping Ice cream at Buds. She went on to work at some of the Bay Area's most iconic restaurants such as, Vanessi's, Harry Denton's and Oliveto's. Currently, Tannis is the Department Chair of the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Department at City College of San Francisco.


Crystal Sykes

Story No. 9

Crystal is a cocktail & culture writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  A Stockton native, she graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in magazine journalism. Her work has been featured in the SFist, San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Bold Italic, Golly Magazine, Design*Sponge, San Francisco Appeal, San Francisco Chronicle and, where she was assistant editor. She was also the co-founder of Voices from the Margins, a monthly reading series for writers of color. When she's not sulking at a local bar, you can find her listening to podcasts—all of them.



Story no. 10

Nourish|Resist is a newly-formed, women-led, organizing collaborative of people of color working across the good food landscape in the Bay Area. N|R aims to use food as a tool for resistance. The goal of the collaborative is to leverage food spaces and food people to shift political and economic power to youth and people of color. Nourish|Resist creates informative, capacity-building experiences where our communities can be nourished, build bonds, and commit to organize against hate. Recent campaigns have included: an #UnPresidentedMeal in a public high school cafeteria to prepare 125 community members for direct actions over 2017 Inauguration Weekend, as well as, “Love Letters to Legislators”, teach-ins that resulted in 500 constituent letters to local, state, and federal elected officials to protect Sanctuary cities and demand action against discriminatory policies.


Asia Bryant-Wilkerson

Story No. 11

Asia Bryant-Wilkerson is a Poet & Writer who was born and raised in South Central, LA. As an artist, all of her work is influenced by her lived experience as a black woman.


Tunde wey

Story No. 12

Raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Tunde Wey moved to the U.S. when he was 16 years old.  He became a chef cooking the Nigerian food of his childhood.  In 2014, Tunde opened a Nigerian restaurant in New Orleans, but closed it 6 months later.  Since 2015, Tunde has been touring and holding a series of Pop Up Dinners/Discussions across the U.S., called “Blackness in America."



Story No. 13

Saru Jayaraman is a leader in the food labor movement.  She is co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley. She was profiled in The NYT “Public Lives” and was named one of Crain’s “40 under 40,” and one of New York Magazine’s “Influentials." She is a frequent public speaker, including an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher.  She is the author of "Behind the Kitchen Door" and most recently “Forked: A New Standard for American Dining.”  



Daniel Patterson 

A self-taught chef who earned two Michelin stars for Coi, which was his flagship restaurant for 11 years, Daniel opened six different resaruarnats over the years and in the process helped redefine California cuisine.  Along the way, Daniel earned the James Beard Foundation Best Chef (West) award, in addition to many other awards.  Daniel co-founded The Cooking Project, a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to teaching kids the fundamentals of cooking.  Recently, Daniel together with L.A. chef Roy Choi have launched LocoL, a revolutionary fast-food company designed to bring good jobs and real food to underserved communities.



Ephraim Colbert 

Ephraim has over 8 years experience working in restaurants and is currently the High Road Associate for ROC United.


Film: Raíces

story no. 14: Featuring traci des Jardins, filmed by natacha ruck & Toni TRu

A native of Northern California, Traci Des Jardins has six restaurants in San Francisco: Jardinière, Mijita Cocina Mexicana, Public House, The Commissary, Arguello, and TRANSIT. Known as one of the top female chefs in the country, Des Jardins is a two-time James Beard award-winner and has earned many additional, prestigious industry accolades throughout her career.  She was also the winner of Food Network's “Iron Chef” title (vs. Mario Batali) in 2007, a finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters 3 in 2011, the winner of Esquire's Knife Fight in 2014, and a semifinalist for James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef” in 2015.  Traci sits on the board of La Cocina and is a deeply committed activist and philanthropist working with hunger-relief organizations.



Natacha Ruck 

Natacha Ruck is a principal at, a storytelling services company.



Toni tru 

Toni is a filmmaker, freelance videographer and sound mixer. After a rewarding career as an application development engineer, Toni took a leap of faith to pursue filmmaking.  Her passion is to tell stories that illuminate, inspire, and educate.