Chef Action Network collaborates with many of the country's outstanding chefs and empowers and enables them to pursue their advocacy and policy goals. The Network represents hundreds of chefs around the country including:
Chef/Owner of Sloco Sandwiches
"Chefs could make a big difference quickly, and we could effect food system change that’s long-lasting."
Jeremy Barlow is the author of Chefs Can Change the World, a tome on green restaurants and how positive change to our food system can bring vast improvement to our health, environment, energy, economy, and security. He is aligned with the slow food movement and at Sloco maintains the ethos of making real food affordable, giving back to the community, operating with a small footprint, and sourcing responsible and seasonal products. Jeremy is involved in the school nutrition movement and participated in the U.S. Healthful Food Council's Eat REAL Tennessee program to recognize restaurants' agricultural leadership. He is on the committee of Alignment Nashville HEAL, which provides assistance in nutrition education and physical activity to students and families.
Chef/Owner of Providence and Connie and Ted's
Los Angeles, California
"With so much here–wild salmon, harpooned swordfish, beautiful Alaskan halibut–why would you buy anything that’s not wild or from our own backyard?"
Michael Cimarusti believes that the first and most important criteria for creating a dish is whether the ingredients are sustainable. He is a devout advocate for sustainable seafood fishing and consumption, and does not serve blue-fin tuna in his restaurants because of the difficulty in determining where the fish was caught and whether it was caught using sustainable fishing methods. Michael participated in the Blue Ribbon task force, part of the Seafood Watch program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This conference aligns culinary leaders with the goal of improving the seafood industry. He works closely with the aquarium on marine life conservation and reforming our current fishing and fishery systems.
Chef/Owner of Tilth, Golden Beetle, and Agrodolce
"Our goal is to spend every cent on sustainable products."
Maria Hines is one of CAN's founding advisory board members. Her three restaurants are certified organic; Tilth was the second restaurant in the country to receive certification. She was inducted into the U.S. Department of State's first American Chef Corps, which incorporates culinary engagement into diplomatic and cross-cultural exchanges between the U.S. and other nations around the world. She collaborated with Washington senator Maria Cantwell on the Pulse Health Initiative, an addendum in the Farm Bill to fight obesity. Maria is a Superchef Against Superbugs and is involved in movements to improve low-income individuals' access to food, require GMO labeling, and promote "rescued" farmland and sustainable food.
Chef/Owner of Townsman
"Take great ingredients as local as possible, do relatively little to them, and let the food speak for itself."
Matthew Jennings has long maintained his practical ethos of working directly with farmers and purchasing products that are local and sustainable. His passion lies in the culinary community, and he focuses on chef-based advocacy by building relationships and connecting colleagues. Matthew believes in giving back to the next generation of chefs through education and mentoring, in particular by instilling in them the importance of sustainable cooking to ensure a healthy food system. He is an advocate for improving school nutrition and was asked to join the Chefs Move to School program of the Let's Move campaign, where he worked with school administrators, teachers, and parents at local schools to educate students on nutrition.
Chef/Owner of Town
"Local first, organic whenever possible, with aloha always."
Ed Kenney is passionate about supporting local producers and promoting education as the key to improving our food system. He serves on the boards of directors for Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Sustain Hawaii, and MA'O Organic Farms, a nonprofit focusing on out-of-school youth, sustainable economic development, agriculture, and Hawaiian culture–issues central to Ed's advocacy work. He is on the advisory board for his alma mater Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head, where students receive affordable and accessible culinary education. He is the host of the PBS food-travel show Family Ingredients. This Emmy Award-winning program seeks out locally grown and produced foods from all over the world to educate the public.
Executive Pastry Chef at Farallon and Waterbar
San Francisco, California
"We can start by simply creating a conversation about what makes a dessert worthy to eat and when we should pass and save our calories for later."
Emily Luchetti created #dessertworthy, a campaign asking us to read labels for sugar content and think about our dessert indulgences. She also considers meeting and maintaining a coterie of the very best producers as necessary for a more sustainable food system and successful cooking. She advocates for female chefs and farmers and believes both need to have greater visibility in the culinary world; she previously served as chairperson of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs. Emily promotes better nutritional standards and healthy cooking, and awareness of sugar overuse and addiction, as an antidote to our country's obesity and diabetes epidemics. She is chair of the Board of Trustees at the James Beard Foundation.
Chef/Owner of Good Stuff Eatery, Béarnaise, and We, The Pizza
"We need to offer fresh, better tasting food and battle the large companies by demanding delicious, safe, nutritious food."
Spike Mendolsohn is an advocate for CARE, which brings sustainable change to the people most vulnerable to hunger, violence, and disease. Through this organization, he strives to raise awareness to and combat global hunger, and to improve international food aid policy. In the U.S., he is invested in strengthening nutrition standards and increasing access to healthy foods. Spike considers environmental and agricultural sustainability and supporting the local community paramount to his businesses' operations. Most of his products at each restaurant are sourced from within 100 miles, and he maintains close relationships with local farms and producers.
Mary Sue Milliken
Chef/Owner of Border Grill
Los Angeles, California
"I think it's up to a lot of us individually as chefs to throw out ideas and make ourselves available."
Mary Sue Milliken is on the Board of Directors at Share Our Strength and works closely with the organization to assist in preventing childhood hunger and promoting healthy school lunches. She collaborates with Oxfam on improving workers rights and fair trade policy as well as fighting world hunger. She participated in the 2014 Clinton Foundation Health Matters Conference and was asked to join the American Chef Corps, part of the State Department's Diplomatic Culinary Partnership. She focuses on creating recipes for healthy meals, encouraging greater vegetable consumption, avoiding meat with antibiotics, and how best to feed our planet's citizens sustainably. Mary Sue helped found Women Chefs and Restauranteurs and sits on the board of the James Beard Foundation.
Chef and Co-Founder of Wholesome Wave
"The choices that we make, the food that we buy, and the people that we support have everything to do with the outcome of our community."
Michel Nischan is co-founder of Wholesome Wave, an organization that assists underserved urban and rural communities in connecting to local agriculture for equitable access to affordable, locally grown foods. His food justice policy work led to benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–federal food-purchasing assistance for no- or low-income individuals–being accepted at farmers markets around the country to help reduce reliance on unhealthy processed food. Michel was named Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program’s 2012 Chef of the Year for his commitment to sustainable seafood. He has been published in Huffington Post where he shares information on the Farm Bill and providing equal access to wholesome food. He spoke at TEDx Manhattan on "food deserts," areas around the country where there is a lack of affordable, accessible food. He is a founding advisory board member of CAN.
Chef/Owner of Cress
"It's going to take a concerted and committed effort to minimize food waste, create better distribution, develop more efficient public and private assistance programs, and last but not least, a generate a greater awareness of where our food comes from. "
Hari Pulapaka is one of CAN's founding leadership board members. He advocates for promoting regional food systems and supports his local Florida community through responsible buying practices and purchasing locally produced products at his restaurant. He collaborates with farmers, recycles as much as possible, minimizes his business footprint, and works to keep food waste to a minimum. He has been published by Huffington Post, writing about the need for chefs to lead in social and food-system change, the importance of accurately labeling "fresh" products for consumers, and promoting vegetable consumption, among other topics. He was part of the small group selected for the 2013 Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, a conference on cultivating positive change in the seafood industry. His TedxStetsonU talk shared important issues facing our food system and how chefs around the country are collaborating to make positive change.
Chef/Owner of Lantern
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
"North Carolina’s 150,000 farm workers are so invisible that we often don't even think about the fact that many of them are children."
Andrea Reusing believes that in our food system more attention needs to be given to the rights and living conditions of our country's farmers and workers. She gave a TedxUNC talk, Resetting the Table, where she shared her knowledge of the plight of these workers, particularly youth. With her book Cooking in the Moment Andrea shares approachable recipes for home cooks along with the importance of utilizing local, artisanal producers. She serves on the board of the Chefs Collaborative and Center of Environmental Farming Systems, which fosters just and equitable food and farming systems, and was appointed by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue to the Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council. She has been on CAN's leadership board since the organization was founded.
Chef/Owner of The Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat, and more
"We want to leave our kids with a better place than our parents left us."
Jonathon Sawyer is passionate about many different issues facing our food system, including agricultural reform, sustainable business practices, and healthier school lunch regulations. He advocates for a more tenable seafood industry and is a proponent of eating and serving "trash fish," overlooked but delicious fish that are more sustainable seafood choices. He is a spokesperson for the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. Jonathon is at the forefront of the green-restaurant movement and opened the first certified-green restaurant in Ohio. His businesses embody the green movement with reclaimed decor and a focus on local, sustainable ingredients.
"You want to save more fish? Eat more broccoli."
Barton Seaver is Program Director at the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment of the Harvard School of Public Health. His focus is launching initiatives to educate the public on diet and food and encourage healthier choices, improved food sources, and a healthy community. He is a fellow at National Geographic and assisted the Center for Health and Global Environment in advising colleges and other large institutions on purchasing sustainable seafood. He worked with these two organizations to produce the Seafood Decision Guide. Barton published For Cod and Country, with seasonable sustainable-seafood recipes, and Where There's Smoke, a cookbook on grilling with fresh, local ingredients. He was named the first Sustainability Fellow in Residence at the New England Aquarium.
New York, New York
"My main goal is to make it easier for others living with diabetes to understand that they too can live a rich and fulfilling life."
Sam Talbot was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at an early age and has made it his mission to improve the offerings of diabetic food so that it is more approachable and affordable for those diagnosed with the disease and struggling to enjoy food and eat healthfully. He partners with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the International Diabetes Federation. His work to bring awareness to diabetes and nutrition culminated with the release of his book The Sweet Life, full of all-natural recipes formulated for diabetics. He also collaborates with Waves for Water to improve water quality around the world, and is driven to reduce overfishing in our oceans by advocating for a more sustainable seafood industry.
Chef at Mississippi Museum of Art
"My passion is helping young chefs discover their culinary talents."
Nick Wallace is deeply involved in the Jackson culture and giving back to his community, as well as supporting and teaching and mentoring young chefs. He works with local farmers with an eye toward healthier cooking that is approachable and affordable for all. He believes in bringing a stronger awareness to where our food comes from and cultivating support for local products and producers. Much of his work involves connecting Mississippi artisans with regional chefs and individuals invested in buying close to home.