Mainstage Program


profile - Tracy

Tracy Chang | PAGU

Charles Draghi | Erbaluce

Geoff Gardner | Whole Foods Market

profile - Jen Hashley

Jennifer Hashley | New Entry Sustainable Farming Project

profile - Michael

Michael Leviton | Region Foodworks


Irene Li | Mei Mei’s Kitchen

profile - Marie

Marie-Claude Mendy | Teranga

profile - Aaron

Aaron Niederhelmann | OneHealthAg


Mike Pagliarini | Giulia & Benedetto

Perry Raso | Matunuck Oyster Bar

Henry Santoro | 89.7 FM WGBH


Avi Shemtov | The Chubby Chickpea

profile - Ridge

Ridge Shinn | Big Picture Beef

Briana Warner | Oceans Approved

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.


10:15AM 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 Irene Li and Margaret Li of Mei Mei,  Clover Creative Director Lucia Jazayeri, Whole Foods Regional Culinary Coordinator Geoff Gardner and Author Didi Emmons in the fight against food waste.


11:15AM | 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


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

From Senegal to Seville, Lima 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, 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 Shawn Cooney of Corner Stalk 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 | Top Chefs from Boston Public Schools

Boston High School student chefs present on stage. Mentored by Geoff Gardner from Whole Foods Market and Chef Dominick from Revolution Foods. 

Sponsored by Revolution Foods.


3:15PM | Seafood: Cooking and Looking at the Future of Seafood

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.”

Around the Festival


Endless Table Conversations


12:15PM – 1:15PM | Regenerative Ocean Farming

Live-recording with Sourcing Matters Podcast Host, Aaron Niederhelman. Aaron speaks with two dynamic New England leaders in shellfish and seagreen production to learn what it takes to farm our waters.   


Briana Warner: CEO of Ocean Approved seagreens; Saco, Maine

Perry Raso: Owner & operator of Matunuck Oyster Bar; South Kingston, Rhode Island

Our seas are under threat. What can we do? How do we manage the oceans? We’ve begun farming fish in all reaches of the planet. Today, 50% of fish consumed is farm raised, but much of that farm raised stuff is nearer feedlot beef than the healthy image of caught seafood. With 3 billion souls reliant on sea-proteins as their main caloric intake, if we have only dirty or no fish, we’re all in for a rude awakening. 


2PM – 3PM | Systems Thinking in Food Production

How to Think Big about Local Food

Enjoy a conversation that will detail how what you eat is your most impactful vote to positively benefit your health, family, increase global stability and mitigate climate change. Live-recording with Sourcing Matters Podcast Host, Aaron Niederhelman


Jennifer Hashley: Director of New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, instructor at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy and owner of Pete & Jen’s Backyard Birds; Lincoln, Mass.

Ridge Shinn: Cattleman, founder and CEO of Big Picture Beef; Hardwick, Mass.

How do we harmonize food production using more natural systems and better resource management practice in the future? Host Aaron Niederhelman will guide the discussion, including a process that’s used to sequester carbon through reengaging the natural system of our living soils – on the hoof, and a look at the role of pollinators!


3PM – 4PM | GRLSQUASH 101 – Connecting the Dots Between Womxn, Food, and Culture  

A Conversation about Food & Memoir with the Editors of GRLSQUASH, a new quarterly literary journal published in Boston.


Spotlight Kitchen: Friends of Whole Foods Market


11AM – 12PM | Integrative Nutrition with Tierney Tighe

Join Tierney Tighe, holistic health coach from Nourish Sprout Thrive for a fun-filled, interactive morning! Tierney will be covering how to educate yourself and your loved ones on the detriments of sugar as well as how to beat the sugar blues; how to navigate a paleo lifestyle easily in modern society; the importance of maintaining a healthy, diverse digestive system and why we must tend to our “internal garden.”


12PM – 2PM | Oyster Lore with the Oyster Whisperer

Join culinary expert, Jacqueline Church for a discussion on all things oysters, including: shucking demo, oyster lore and more.  


2PM – 3PM | The Power of Seeds with 88 Acres

Join the 88 Acres team:  Andrew Bauer, Retail Account Manager and Cornell-trained Food Scientist, and Hannah Meier, Education Account Lead and Registered Nutritionist, for a discussion on sustainability, nutrition and culinary innovations in seed-based products.


3PM – 4PM | Bone Broth Benefits with Five Way Foods                                                                                                                                             

Five Way Foods will cover the many health benefits of consuming bone broth. Learn how these nutrients improve digestive, joint, skin and immune system health. Get tips and ideas for making bone broth part of your diet.



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. See Harvard University, Boston College, Northeastern University and Boston University compete for the best vegan chili.

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


1PM | Harvard House Better Burger

The top four Harvard University student chefs present their take on the best turkey burger.

Sponsored by Hormel Foods and Jennie-O


2PM | Mama’s Modern Meatballs

Meatballs aren’t just Italian. Try these variations on the meatball from local chefs, including Revolution Foods, Commonwealth Kitchen, Whole Foods Market and The Chubby Chickpea. 

Sponsored by Mushroom Council & Barilla.


3PM | Chowder Fest

Classic New England Clam Chowder from the seafood-elite, including Legal Sea Foods, Summer Shack and Harvard University Dining Services.


All Day Activities in the Marketplace

Interactive educational booths that invite passersby to play with their food (system)!



Sponsors & Partners

Gold Partners

Silver Sponsors

Media Sponsors



Tracy Chang is owner and chef of PAGU in Cambridge. After studying with MOF Pâtissier Nicolas Bernardé at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, she cooked alongside Chef Martín Berasategui at his Michelin three-star restaurant in San Sebastian in Spain, co-founded Guchi’s Midnight Ramen (GMR) and in the fall of 2012, officially joined Harvard Science and Cooking program as a teaching fellow. She opened PAGU in 2017.

Jennifer Hashley is the director for the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, a revolutionary program that looks at sustainable and regenerative farming as jobs creation and economic growth for regions often in need of stimulus. Jen is also an Agricultural Science and Policy lab instructor at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy, Agriculture Food and the Environment program and in partnership with her husband, oversees a diversified pasture based livestock operation, including Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds, on Codman Community Farm in Lincoln MA. 

Erin Kuschner is the food writer for, where she covers the ever-changing restaurant and bar scene in Boston. She is the former editor of Time Out Austin, launching the digital and print publication in the Texas capital in 2017, and the former Restaurants and Bars Editor for Time Out Los Angeles. Her work has been published in Time Out New York, October, Clean Plates, Pasadena Magazine, and more.  

Irene Li operates Mei Mei Street Kitchen & Mei Mei Restaurant in Boston, where her work centers around ethical sourcing and fair employment practices. The award-winning food businesses merge modern techniques and multicultural cuisine with local foods and sustainable business practices. This year, Irene is leading her staff in a groundbreaking open book management training program in conjunction with Rethink Restaurants. She is an Eater Young Gun winner, Zagat and Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree and a four-time James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef semi-finalist.

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 HINGELINE. A 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. 

Perry Raso founded Matunuck Oyster Farm in 2002 on Potter Pond in East Matunuck (South Kingstown), RI. Matunuck oysters are now sold to restaurants and stores in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Maryland, and Georgia. Matunuck Oyster Bar restaurant and raw bar opened in 2009 and serve fresh oysters harvested right off the waterfront patio in the pond as well as fresh vegetables grown from Raso’s certified-organic Matunuck Vegetable Farm.

Henry Santoro is a news anchor and host at 89.7 FM WGBH. He was news director at RadioBDC and award­-winning news director and morning news anchor for 101.7 WFNX­-FM. Santoro has a deep connection to local news and community events in Boston and interviews celebrities on “Henry in the Hub,” a radio segment that covers all things Boston, from food to film, art, and architecture. He has taught radio and journalism courses as an adjunct professor at Emerson College. His passion is food & cooking. Follow him on Facebook at Henry Santoro and on Twitter @HenrySantoro.

Avi Shemtov launched The Chubby Chickpea in 2010 making it one of the early entries in the now-flourishing Boston food truck scene. Shemtov is also founder of Tapped Beer Truck, Greater Boston’s first mobile craft beer bar, which launched in 2017, and 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. 

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 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. Shinn’s work has also been recognized in The Atlantic, New York Times, Wine Spectator and Smithsonian.

Briana Warner is CEO of Ocean Approved, a domestic leader in line-grown sea vegetable food products. Her company is hyper-focused on sourcing product from fishermen looking to diversify their income stream by starting ocean farms and growing kelp, a vegetable that improves the health of the ocean and provides huge nutritional benefits to the consumer. Bri was Economic Development Director at the Island Institute, a non-profit that works to sustain Maine’s island and coastal communities and founded and sold a successful wholesale bakery based in Portland, Maine. 


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The Food Voice

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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