If you’re employed by the hospitality industry, hoping to enter, or even mildly interested in food, chances are you’ve heard of the James Beard Foundation (JBF). While most are familiar with the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards for providing a yearly who’s-who in culinary excellence, the organization’s impressive 32-year history has helped to educate and elevate the entire industry through a variety of functions and services.

Women’s Leadership Programs

The James Beard Foundation is committed to correcting the gender imbalance in the restaurant/culinary industry by cultivating, training, and supporting women throughout their professional careers. It is the hope of JBF to help improve the experiences of women in the industry at large. Currently the JBF offers two women’s programs, a series of webinars, and a bi-monthly newsletter.

Culinary Scholarships

Established in 1991, the JBF Scholarship Program assists aspiring and established culinary professionals who plan to further their education at a licensed or accredited culinary school or hospitality institution, college, or university. In the past 25 years, the program has not only grown in visibility and financial scope, but in the array of subjects its recipients have embraced. As of 2017, the Foundation will have awarded over $7 million in financial aid to almost 2,000 recipients.

Chef Advocacy Training

The JBF has several Impact Programs, committed to establishing a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership. These programs include issue-specific advocacy campaigns, customized issue and advocacy support for the culinary community, local and regional advocacy trainings for chefs, and the Chef Action Network (CAN). Through CAN, seasoned professionals effectively help talented, passionate chefs tap into their inner advocate, and provide the tools, training, and support infrastructure to ensure their success.

Historic James Beard House “Performance Space”

The former townhouse of culinary icon James Beard, the historic James Beard House is in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village. Over 200 evenings a year, chefs from somewhere across America can be found in the late legendary toque’s kitchen, creating the best of his or her craft. The James Beard House is open to the public, and guests have a truly unique, once-in-a-lifetime dining experience. There’s no tax or tipping and a membership will get you added perks.

The New CEO

“The reconciliation of doing good business for good causes really matters to me, and the values espoused by the Foundation resonate well with my personal values. The deepening role for the Foundation as an industry thought-leader and tastemaker is compelling.” - Clare Reichenbach, the new CEO of the James Beard Foundation
Her official first day was February 20th, 2018. Reichenbach, who most recently helmed a consulting business with clients that included New York Public Radio and NBC Universal, was the former Executive Vice President of Strategy and Development at BBC Worldwide and AMC Networks.

As an organization, the James Beard Foundation has evolved beyond the scope of influence any one person could have had, but all the while keeping true to the ideals that James Beard professed — emphasizing the importance of simple, wholesome food, good cooking, and good eating by educating, mentoring, supporting, and caring for the people who prepare and enjoy it.

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