The Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change provides a unique opportunity for civically and politically minded chefs to become more effective leaders for food-system change. The Boot Camp is a program of the James Beard Foundation, and Chef Action Network provides the training components and designs the education portions of each session.

During thematic retreats around the country, participants receive advocacy and media training while learning about important issues, challenges, and opportunities facing the food world. The goal is to build a growing network of like-minded chefs, provide support for personal interests and passions, and offer tools and guidance that help them act as influential advocates. 


The most recent Chefs Boot Camp took place April 27–30 at Costanoa Lodge in Pescadero, California. Participating chefs learned policy and advocacy skills with a focus on sustainable seafood. The group also traveled to Half Moon Bay for a fishing excursion and additional training. This Chefs Boot Camp was conducted with support from the Osprey Foundation and the Waitt Foundation.

Participants included:

  •  Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, VA
  •  Kathleen Blake, The Rusty Spoon, Orlando, FL
  •  Kirsten Dixon, Winterlake Lodge, Anchorage, AK
  •  Duskie Estes, Zazu Kitchen + Farm, Sebastapol, CA
  •  Ed Kenney, Town Restaurant, Honolulu
  •  Michael Leviton, Lumière Restaurant, Boston
  •  Morgan L’Esperance, Cascade Bar & Grill at Costanoa Lodge, Pescadero, CA
  •  Jamie Malone, Sea Change, Minneapolis
  •  Spike Mendelsohn, Béarnaise, Washington, D.C.
  •  Patrick Mulvaney, Mulvaney's B&L, Sacramento, CA
  •  Sisha Ortúzar, Riverpark, NYC
  •  Nico Romo, Fish Restaurant, Charleston, SC
  •  Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
  •  Barton Seaver, Author of For Cod and Country, Freeport, ME
  •  Ari Taymor, Alma Restaurant, Los Angeles



Our Fall 2013 Chefs Boot Camp took place September 15–17 at Glynwood in New York's Hudson Valley. Participating chefs developed their policy and advocacy skills while learning about Oxfam America’s GROW campaign, which brings people together to create solutions for food, fairness, and the future of our planet.

Participants included:

  •  Michael Cimarusti, Providence and Connie and Ted’s, Los Angeles (JBF Award Nominee)
  •  Craig Deihl, Cypress, Charleston, SC (JBF Award Nominee)
  •  Agnes Devereux, The Village TeaRoom Restaurant & Bakeshop, New Paltz, NY
  •  William Dissen, The Marketplace Restaurant, Asheville, NC
  •  Ben Hall, Russell Street Deli, Detroit
  •  Evan Hanczor, Parish Hall and Egg, Brooklyn, NY
  •  Mathew Jennings, Farmstead, Inc., Providence, RI (JBF Award Nominee)
  •  Emily Luchetti, Farallon and Waterbar, San Francisco (JBF Award Winner)
  •  Dena Marino, MC Kitchen, Miami
  •  Mary Sue Milliken, Border Grill, Los Angeles
  •  Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, NC (JBF Award Winner)
  •  Nick Wallace, Historic King Edward Hotel, Jackson, MS
  •  Jeff Zurofsky, ‘wichcraft and Riverpark, NYC



The second Chefs Boot Camp took place May 12–14 at Louisville's 21c Museum Hotel and focused on regional food systems. Activities included a tour of nearby Woodland Farm, known for its sustainable farming practices, heritage livestock breeds, and biofuel program; and a meeting with Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, whose policy agenda includes strengthening the role of local food in the city.

Participants included:

  •  Timon Balloo, SUGARCANE raw bar grill, Miami
  •  Kathy Cary, Lilly’s, Louisville, Kentucky
  •  Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
  •  Jose Gutierrez, River Oaks, Memphis
  •  Chris Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, Alabama (JBF Award winner)
  •  Maria Hines, Maria Hines Restaurants, Seattle (JBF Award winner and pilot Chefs Boot Camp participant)
  •  Sara Jenkins, Porsena, NYC
  •  Phil Jones, Colors Restaurant, Detroit
  •  Cormac Mahoney, Madison Park Conservatory, Seattle
  •  Kyle Mendenhall, The Kitchen Community, Boulder, Colorado
  •  Tory Miller, L’Etoile, Madison, Wisconsin (JBF Award winner)
  •  Naomi Pomeroy, Beast, Portland, Oregon
  •  Hari Pulapaka, Cress Restaurant, DeLand, Florida
  •  Bruce Sherman, North Pond Restaurant, Chicago
  •  Levon Wallace, Proof on Main, Louisville, Kentucky



The first Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change was held in the summer of 2012 at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. Support was provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Participants included:

  •  Hugh Acheson, Five & Ten, Athens
  •  Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
  •  Jeremy Barlow, Tayst, Nashville
  •  Jeremy Bearman, Rouge Tomate, NYC
  •  Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston
  •  Josh Feathers and Joseph Lenn, Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
  •  Colby Garrelts, Bluestem, Kansas City
  •  Rock Harper, DC Central Kitchen, Washington, D.C.
  •  Maria Hines, Tilth Restaurant and Golden Beetle Restaurant & Bar, Seattle
  •  Mike Isabella, Graffiato, Washington, D.C.
  •  Ed Kenney, Town, Honolulu
  •  Andrea Reusing, Lantern Restaurant, Chapel Hill
  •  Sam Talbot, AOL’s GMC “Trade Secrets,” NYC
  •  Cathy Whims, Nostrana, Portland, Oregon
  •  Alex Young, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI


Additional Information

For information about supporting Chefs Boot Camp, please contact Kris Moon, Senior Director, Strategy and Development at the James Beard Foundation, at or 212.627.5252.