I spent the last weekend in Alabama seeing some old friends. When they asked, “so what are you doing these days,” it was the first time I got to respond, “I run a food museum.” What an eye opener, that answer.
I’ve taken an interesting journey to NatFAB, and I’ll spare you new friends most of the details. For the last 10 years or so, I’ve been involved in Southern food culture. First living in Alabama, now in New Orleans, working with chefs, distillers, brewers, food producers and others. What I’ve learned during this time is that the diverse individuals that make up the food and spirits community are its greatest asset, and the stories about them and their products are not just interesting, but necessary.
I’m working for NatFAB and SoFAB because I love food, culture, and the people who create food culture. My job is to bring attention to food culture’s exciting, under-explored, misunderstood, or unstudied areas. That’s an amazing job description. Whether the programs are something national in scope though NatFAB, or focused on the South through SoFAB, our programming will continue to bring food culture to life through exhibits, partnerships, collaborations, and hands-on demonstrations.
For those of you who’ve been with us for a long time, I want to thank you. It’s your support over the last ten years that has allowed NatFAB to grow from a fledgling museum at the Riverwalk into a cornerstone of the future on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in New Orleans. For those of you that are newer to the museum family, welcome. If you haven’t been to visit in a while, come see us. There’s plenty of additions to the collection, and our cooking classes and educational programming continue to be the best in New Orleans.
Thanks also to our Founder, Liz Williams. Without her tireless effort, there is no way we’d have such a great staff, great programming, and a great foundation to build on as we enter our next 10 years. We have a great team, a great community, and a strong family of supporters thanks to her. I’m thrilled to follow in her footsteps, working with our team from our community.
Over the next few months expect a few exciting things to happen. We’ll be opening our Gumbo Garden this Summer and can’t wait to start having events and parties in New Orleans’ best backyard. We’ll also have a new Missouri exhibit opening this Fall, and a library expansion by year’s end. This continued expansion will allow us to remain the premiere food museum in the United States.
I’m honored to work for you, the friends, family, volunteers, and staff of the National Food and Beverage Foundation. I’m thankful for our organization’s impressive past and look forward to its bright future. I hope to have you all along for the journey.