Mainstage Program

profile - Tracy

Tracy Chang | Pagu


Irene Li | Mei Mei’s Kitchen

profile - Marie

Marie-Claude Mendy | Teranga

profile - Aaron

Aaron Niederhelmann | OneHealthAg


Mike Paglierini | Giulia & Benedetto


Avi Shemtov | The Chubby Chickpea

profile - Ridge

Ridge Shinn | Big Picture Beef


Around the Festival

Our line-up of chefs and experts are front‐and‐center on our Mainstage TriMark Kitchen, engaging in conversations and demonstrations to inspire and educate you on key themes in sustainability, nutrition and the business of food.

10:15 Down to the Last Peel: Reducing Food Waste

Millions of tons of edible food are lost annually at each stop in the supply chain, from the field to the market, the restaurant to the home. Food waste is a leading contributor to climate change while hunger remains a persistent problem worldwide. What can we do? Join Mei Mei Chef Irene Li, Clover Creative Director Lucia Jazayeri, Whole Foods Regional Culinary Coordinator Geoff Gardner and Author Didi Emmons in the fight against food waste.


11:15 | The Next Julia Child Contest

Local home cooks audition via YouTube submissions, and finalists share their “show” live! To enter the contest, upload your video to “The Next Julia Child” playlist on the Let’s Talk About Food YouTube channel.

Sponsored by Whole Foods Market and


12:15 | Rice and Beans: The Global Dish
From African Diaspora to the World

From Senegal to Siena, Haiti to Tel Aviv, regional seasonings and cooking methods can transform rice and beans into radically distinct dishes in a range of cuisines. Join Sara Baer‐Sinnott of Oldways Preservation Trust and Senegalese Chef Marie‐Claude Mendy of Teranga, along with Chef Tracy Chang of Pagu and Chef Avi Shemtov of the Chubby Chickpea food truck and JuanMa Calderon of Celeste, as we start in an exploration of the flavors of the African diaspora, and branch out to examine how one simple dish and its many manifestations has transformed our global palate.

Sponsored by Oldways Preservation Trust.


1:15pm | Growing Farmers: Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Careers?

In recent years, Americans have demonstrated an increased appreciation for local foods and farmers, embracing a connection to the earth, to funky produce and seasonal eating. But can we make farming a viable career option for generations to come? Jennifer Hashley of New Entry Sustainable Farming Project chats with Sean Cooney of Cornerstalk Farms and Chef Todd Heberlien of Volante Farms and Chef Mike Pagliarini of Giulia and Benedetto about how strong relationships and innovative techniques are allowing local farms to thrive today and how we can help them continue to thrive.


2:15pm | Iron Chef Kids

Team Cooking Competition between Boston, Somerville and Cambridge with chef coaches for each team.

Sponsored by Revolution Foods.


3:15pm | Seafood: Learning to Love Invasives

We know that overfishing threatens some of our most popular edible sea-dwellers. We want to support local fisheries, reduce our carbon footprint, and eat the freshest fish we can. But if we’re not eating tuna and cod, what are we eating? Led in conversation by Aaron Niederhelman, CEO & co-founder of OneHealthAg and host of Sourcing Matters podcast, Chef Charles Draghi of Erbaluce, Niaz Dorry of Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, Arlene Richburg of Harvard University Dining Services and Michael Leviton of Region FoodWorks (former chef of Lumiere, Area 4) discuss how to make use of some of our least utilized and most delicious local seafood while preparing a signature dish. Green crabs, anyone?

Sponsored by Legal Sea Foods.


4:15pm | The Hole Story: Our Love Affair with Doughnuts

What is it about doughnuts? In our final segment, we’ll hear Rebecca Gullo of Blackbird Doughnuts and Josh Danoff of Union Square Donuts in conversation with Rachel Herz, Adjunct Professor, Brown University and author of “Why You Eat What You Eat.”



Crowd favorite/popular vote head‐to‐head tastings invite visitors to taste our region and
the future of food as viewed through our next culinary stars!

Noon | Chili Beanpot!

Best Vegan Chili Collegiate Competition (Harvard, BC, Northeastern, BU).

Sponsored by Bush’s, with Duke, the dog, in attendance.


1pm | Harvard House Better Burger

Top four Harvard student chefs present their take on the best turkey burger (Harvard students).

Sponsored by Hormel.


2pm | Mama’s Modern Meatballs

Meatballs aren’t just Italian – try these variations on the meatball from Cambridge‐area restaurateurs.

Sponsored by Mushroom Council & Barilla.


3pm | Chowder‐fest

Classic New England Clam Chowder from the seafood-elite!

Sponsored by Red’s Best.

All Day Activities in the Marketplace

Interactive educational booths that invite passers‐by to play with their food (system)!


Sponsors & Partners

Gold Partners

Silver Sponsors

Media Sponsors


Tracy Chang’s love for the restaurant industry began at an early age at her Grandmother’s Japanese restaurant in Cambridge. Her grandmother, Chin-Fun Shiue, immigrated to Boston in the 1980’s and decided to open not only one restaurant, but several. At an early age, Tracy observed her grandmother’s hard work and leadership that created opportunities for other immigrants. While earning her B.S. in Finance from Boston College, Tracy worked jobs in various industries. Each job had a common focus: service and leadership. She co-founded the food and recipe column in the BC Heights with her roommate and often gathered friends and professors together to participate in making homemade dumplings, noodles and dessert. Her hunger for restaurant experience led her to work at O Ya while she finished her finance degree. She sought to learn pastry from the crème de la crème, and went on to study with MOF Pâtissier Nicolas Bernardé at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. From Paris, she traveled south and over the border to Spain, where she won a scholarship to cook alongside Chef Martín Berasategui at his Michelin three-star restaurant in San Sebastian. Three months in to her scholarship with Berasategui, he offered her the rare opportunity to be his “mano derecha”, and she spent the rest of the year travelling alongside him to all events from Alicante to New York. She coordinated television production with Berasategui and David de Jorge on the set of Robin Food, as well as directed his public lectures, lead his marketing and communications department, and launched his social media Initiatives. An unexpected family emergency led Tracy to return to Boston, where she spent the next year taking care of her father and her pug, Phoebe. While she helped nurse her dear ones back to health, she re-grouped with her former O Yaco-workers to conceptualize and co-found Guchi’s Midnight Ramen (GMR), directing back of the house preparations as well as front of the house service and hospitality. In the fall of 2012, Tracy officially joined as a teaching fellow with the Harvard Science and Cooking program. She coordinated public and student lectures with world-renowned chefs. She is still involved in the program, working with Professor Michael Brenner, Preceptor Pia Sorensen, the Alicia Foundation and Pere Castells, and visiting chefs from around the world. Through hosting events in Boston and Cambridge in the tech and start-up scene, Tracy not only met like-minded, visionaries with a common knack for gathering movers and shakers in the community, but also formed lifelong friendships. With the help of Jesse Baerkahn and his team at Graffito SP, she found the perfect home for PAGU, 310 Mass. Ave., nestled between Central Square and MIT, the hub of innovation. Tracy is excited to feed the community and continue her grandmother’s legacy. She looks forward to cultivating more than a restaurant, cafe and bakery; by bringing talented friends together over soulful food and sparkling conversation, they will create boundless opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

Aaron Niederhelman is CEO & co-founder of OneHealthAg. He hosts the widely listened to podcast on iTunes: and is a fishmonger focused on preserving the unique values of the region he is from with HINGELINEA lifelong advocate of healthier and cleaner food, Niederhelman was selected as a 2015 Eisenhower Fellow to explore the impact of good and bad management practice on an ever shrinking planet. At home, collaborating with diverse stakeholders to promote economic growth from well sourced food with regional provenance, Niederhelman previously co-founded the EAF Agrarian Fund. Now, along with his efforts to modernize meat supply through OneHealthAg, Aaron co-founded HINGELINE to promote anchor brands in North Atlantic fisheries towards becoming standard bearers for clean and healthy seafood across the globe. Niederhelman enjoys spending time with his family and participates in initiatives and boards for passions ranging from food security to climate change to social responsibility.

Avi Shemtov launched The Chubby Chickpea in 2010 making it one of the early entries in the now-flourishing Boston food truck scene. Chubby Chickpea serves modern Israeli cuisine, with a focus on the food of Shemtov’s Sephardic Jewish heritage, at public, private and corporate events and specializes in brewery taproom food service. Shemtov is also founder of Tapped Beer Truck, Greater Boston’s first mobile craft beer bar, which launched in 2017 and quickly inspired the region’s mobile beer truck movement. Tapped Beer Truck pours the world’s best craft beers through its proprietary mobile draft system at outdoor events throughout the region. Shemtov hosts several pop-up food series each fall and winter, including his shakshuka brunch and his Simcha dinners, which celebrate the global inspirations behind modern Israeli cuisine. Shemtov plans to open his first brick-and-mortar restaurant, also called Simcha, in December 2018 in his hometown of Sharon, Mass. Shemtov is the author of “The Single Guy Cookbook” and is currently working on a second cookbook that will be based upon his Simcha concept and recipes.

Ridge Shinn is the founder and CEO of Big Picture Beef and a leader in the shift away from feedlot beef to 100% grass-fed and grass finished beef – no corn ever. Ridge’s goal is to revive the Northeast rural economy with grassfed beef. Big Picture Beef uses regenerative pasture and grazing management that sequesters carbon, enriches farmland, and protects against drought. The year-old company is currently working with more than 50 small farms in the region to provide Northeast customers with Northeast beef, and has accounts with large vendors, such as The Big Y (70 New England stores), and institutions, such as Smith College. An experienced cattleman, Shinn has consulted all over the US, and in New Zealand, Uruguay, and Argentina on beef production and ecosystem restoration through grazing. Time Magazine featured him as “carbon cowboy“ in an article titled, “How Cows (Grass-fed Only) Could Save the Planet.” His work has also been recognized in The Atlantic, New York Times, Wine Spectator and Smithsonian.


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Let’s Talk About Food

Let’s Talk About Food’s mission is to convene, connect, educate and advance our community of food issues in our contemporary world. Let’s Talk About Food presents educational events and community engagement in partnership with universities, museums, libraries, hospitals, cities and towns, cooking schools and a host of other non-profits.

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