November 2018 Storytellers

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Natalie Baszile

Natalie Baszile is the author of Queen Sugar, which was named one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Best Books of 2014, was long-listed for the Crooks Corner Southern Book Prize, and Nominated for the NAACP Image Award.  The book was adapted into a television series by the Oprah (OWN) network and premiered in September 2016. Natalie has had residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Arts, and Hedgebrook.  Her non-fiction work has appeared in Lenny Letter, O, The Oprah Magazine, The, and The Best Women’s Travel Writing, among others.

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Bonnie Tsui

Bonnie Tsui is the author of AMERICAN CHINATOWN. She has written about the wine country fires, Michelin street food, big-wave women surfers, shark fin soup, and China’s dancing grannies for The New York Times, California Sunday, the Atlantic, and Pop-Up Magazine. Her newest book, WHY WE SWIM, will be released by Algonquin in 2019.


Alicia Villanueva

"Originally from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico; Alicia Villanueva came to the US and through hard work, love for her family and a killer tamale recipe, she and her family have built her food empire. She is a graduate of the La Cocina incubator program, and now Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas can be found at nearly every major festival in San Francisco, Berkeley Bowl Markets and special events at Whole Foods stores.  In addition, she has a thriving catering business. Alicia and her husband Pedro have three children."


Leticia Hernández-Linares

Leticia Hernández-Linares is a poet, interdisciplinary artist, and the author of Mucha Muchacha, Too Much Girl. She teaches in the College of Ethnic Studies at SFSU.


Rebecca Flint Marx

Rebecca Flint Marx was an editor at the Village Voice and at San Francisco Magazine and a reporter at New York Magazine and Elle.  Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Taste, The California Sunday, New York, Saveur, Wired, The Wall Street Journal and Elle, among other publications.  She was the recipient of a 2013 IACP Award for Culinary Memoir and a 2015 James Beard Journalism Award, and named a 2018 James Beard nominee.  Rebecca has co-written two cookbooks: The Big Gay Ice Cream Book and The Basque Book.  She lives in Brooklyn.


George McCalman

George McCalman is an artist and creative director.  Since 2016, George has written, designed and illustrated the Observed column in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Additionally, he teaches graphic design and illustration at California College of the Arts.  And since 2011, he has had a creative branding studio, called McCalman.Co.


Osayi Endolyn

Osayi Endolyn is a writer and editor whose work often highlights food and identity. She received the 2018 James Beard Award for her column in Gravy, where she served as deputy editor. Osayi’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Oxford American, Eater, Food 52, the Splendid Table, among  others. Southern Living named her to their list of 30 Women Moving Southern Food Forward.


Leena Trivedi-Grenier

Leena Trivedi-Grenier is a prolific food and culture writer, with a monthly column in The San Francisco Chronicle, in addition to work in Vice’s Munchies, NPR’s The Salt, The Washington Post, Eater, Food 52, and many other publications.  She’s also contributed to several food encyclopedias and has worked as a professional chef, cooking teacher and food tour guide.


Natacha Ruck

Natacha is a storyteller, media producer and educator. She strives to use text, film and sound to deepen our understanding of the world we live in and foster action. Her documentary work has appeared at the MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as on National Geographic, NBC NY, and Link TV. Her podcasting work has appeared on NPR affiliates nationally and locally. Natacha currently teaches multimedia storytelling at USF, is workshopping a solo performance with David Ford at the Marsh and runs, a storytelling service company.


Savanna Ferguson

Savanna Ferguson is a writer and environmental consultant.  Her work focuses on science, natural history, and the environment, and has been featured in La.Lit magazine --- and at F&B.  She lives in Berkeley, but can often be found leading tours at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. She is currently working on a collection of linked essays."

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Jaymee Goh

Born in Malaysia, Jaymee Goh is a writer, poet, critic, reviewer, and editor of science fiction and fantasy. She graduated from the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop in 2016, and holds a PhD from the University of California, Riverside where she wrote an angry little dissertation on whiteness in steampunk. She has been published in places like Strange Horizons, Lightspeed Magazine, and Science Fiction Studies. She co-edited The Sea is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia (Rosarium Publishing), and edited The WisCon Chronicles Vol. 11: Trials By Whiteness (Aqueduct Press).


Reem Assil

Reem Assil is a La Cocina graduate and  the chef/owner of Reem’s California, an Arab bakery she opened in 2017 in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. This year, she opened her second restaurant, Dyafa, in Jack London Square, in partnership with Alta Group.  Reem has won many accolades, including being named a semifinalist in the Best Chef: West 2018 category by the James Beard Foundation, San Francisco Magazine’s “2018 Chef of the Year," and a “Rising Star” by the SF Chronicle in 2017.  Reem’s California was also named a Food & Wine’s "Restaurants of the Year.”  


Guadalupe Guerrero

Guadalupe Guerrero, known as Lupe, was born in Acámbaro, a small city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. She is a graduate of La Cocina’s incubator and is the Chef and Founder of El Pipila, which she runs with her daughters Brenda & Alejandra.  You can find her food at Off the Grid Fort Mason and Off the Grid Presidio.  And her first brick and mortar will be opening soon at 855 Brannan Street.