Midwest 2016

Alex Jones

Good food advocate

Alex Jones is a writer and value chain consultant connecting local growers, makers and buyers in the Philadelphia region.

Anna Roth

Writer & restaurant critic

Anna Roth is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in Best Food Writing 2014, Lucky Peach, Civil Eats, Eater and Modern Farmer.

Bob Lesnikoski

farmer, fisherman & forager

Bob Lesnikoski is a cranberry grower and juice producer, commercial squid and scallop fisherman, and mushroom forager. He also serves on the board of Vermont Workinglands Enterprise Initiative.

Cassandra Loftlin


Cassandra Loftlin is a chef instructor teaching classes on board Holland America’s cruise lines through a culinary partnership with America’s Test Kitchen.

Cathy Carmichael


Cathy Carmichael is a register dietician working on research projects for the Louisiana Department of Education’s Child Nutrition Program.

Christine Liu

food writer & editor

Formerly the digital executive editor at America’s Test Kitchen, Christine Liu recently made a career move to Harvard Business Publishing.

Cortney Ahern

local food advocate

In her role at Feeding America, Cortney Ahern works with farmers to fight hunger in rural communities. She also serves on Slow Food Chicago’s Board of Directors.

Elle Simone Scott

chef & food stylist

Elle Simone Scott is a chef, food stylist and cast member of America’s Test Kitchen on PBS. She is the founder of SheChef, a mentorship program for aspiring chefs.

Emily Catalano

founder of Highly Social Media

Emily promotes restaurants and food businesses as the owner of Highly Social Media. She’s also the founder of Good Food Pittsburgh, a site devoted to all of the good food that her hometown has to offer.

Heather Marold Thomason

Heather Marold Thomason is a butcher supplying sustainable, pasture-raised meats to Philadelphia as the founder of Primal Supply Meats. She is also the co-director of Eat Retreat.

James Collier

photograher & digital storyteller

Photographer, writer & creative strategist

Julie Zyromski

food stylist & founder of oatbox

Julie Zyromski is the co-founder and culinary director of Oatbox, a breakfast cereal company that uses natural ingredients from local producers.

Kathryn Tomajan

Kathryn Tomajan farms three acres of olives in Sunol, California. She is a certified olive oil taster and the maker of Fat Gold.

Kiel Lopez-Schmidt

architect & founder of Tower Urban Family Farm

After managing the start-up and growth of Food Commons Fresno, Kiel Lopez-Schmidt joined the Northern California Community Loan Fund, which creates opportunities for socially responsible investments.

Krissy Scommegna


After earning a Master’s degree in agriculture and food policy at Tufts University, Krissy Scommegna will soon head west to put her skills to work on her family’s California farm.

Laura Brunow Miner

designer | co-founder of Eat Retreat

Laura Brunow Miner specializes in brand design and creative direction. She is currently working on an interactive art installation with the SFMOMA.

Lauren Nischan-Snook


Laren Nischan-Snook connects chefs and farmers through grass-roots storytelling as a communications manager for Niman Ranch.

Lesley Stockton

writer, recipe developer & food stylist

Lesley Stockton is a recipe developer and food stylist. She is the kitchen manager and staff writer at The Wirecutter.

Megan Miller

founder of Bitty Foods

Megan Miller believes bugs are the most sustainable protein on earth. As the founder of Bitty Foods, she makes delicious food with cricket flour.

Melva Sabatke

urban food advocate

Melva Sabatke is an urban food advocate and correspondent, working in food distribution to alleviate north Milwaukee food desserts.

Nadine Nelson

chef & instructor

Nadine Nelson is a chef, cooking instructor and the social entrepreneur behind Global Local Gourmet, a roving community supported kitchen.

Rachael Narins

food writer

Rachael Narins is a certified master gardener, master food preserver and food writer. She also runs a the supperclub Chicks with Knives.

Rebecca Stumpf


Rebeccca Stumpf is a full-time editorial and commercial photographer specializing in food, travel and portraiture.

Rebekka Hutton

pickle maker

Rebekka Hutton is an entrepreneur making fermented food and drinks with local and organic produce. She is the founder and owner of Alchemy Pickle Company.

Ryan Osero


Ryan Osero works at the intersection of food, design and technology as a food and beverage strategist at Ideo.

Sara Bradley

chef & owner of freight house food

Sara Bradley honed culinary skills at Dovetail in New York and Blackbird in Chicago before returning home to western Kentucky and opening Freight House.

Shanna Pacifico


Shanna Pacifico is a Brooklyn-based chef who has helmed some of NYC’s most notable kitchens. She creates seasonal, locally-sourced food influenced by her Brazilian-American heritage.

Shayna Marmar

educator & founder of honeypie cooking

Shayna Marmar is the founder of Honeypie Cooking, a social enterprise that develops educational programs incorporating literacy, art, and therapeutic elements with a food access focus.

Susan Reid

baker, editor & educator

Susan Reid is a baker, teacher and the editor of King Arthur Flour’s Sift Magazine. She also chronicles her baking experiments and recipes online at The Well Plated Life.

Terry Strickland


As a journalist, Terry Stickland has covered Southern foodways, the working waterfronts of the Gulf Coast, and emerging ag technologies. He is now a content strategist for Ideaworks.

Vincent Ricchiuti

olive & almond farmer

Vincent Ricchiuti is a fourth-generation farmer. His family produces stone fruit, almonds and extra virgin olive oil in California’s San Joaquin Valley.