Photo courtsey of Nino Andonis Photography
Pacific Food & Beverage, headquartered in Los Angeles, takes an expansive and inquisitive approach to its programs, examining the past, present, and future of food and drink on the Pacific Coast and across the American West. Because many cultures have assimilated into the American mainstream such that their culinary traditions are no longer recognized as an “import,” Pacific Food & Beverage focuses on the contributions of immigrants who have shaped, and continue to shape, our nation’s cuisine.
The National Food & Beverage Foundation's growing West Coast operations feature gallery exhibitions, mixology seminars, CULINARIA Query & Lecture Series events, film, television, and radio development, and other programs.
Tracey Mitchell, Director
Tracey was born and raised in New Orleans, another great port city, where food was very important to her community and her family. Just like the people of San Pedro, they took pride in their diverse food culture. She grew up on Julia Child’s cooking shows, and her mother imparted a love of food and French-based culinary expertise. After studying, teaching, and performing music, working as a professional singer, Tracey continued her studies at the graduate level, both in the arts and business administration. She then worked in academia, government, and nonprofit management, all the while honing her skills as a cook and gardener. All of this, and so much more, has prepared her for what is now a grand adventure of opening the Pacific Food & Beverage Museum, and she can't wait to share it with you.
Nino Andonis, Photographer
Nino is an American photographer, born in Los Angeles. After graduating from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in French, Nino escaped to France to find himself. Overseas Nino received his eduction in photography at Speos Photographyic Institue in Paris, France. Being bi-lingual afforded Nino to work within the French photo industry for several years eating up what life had to offer. "Le Voyage est la meilleure école." From there, creative mentors urged Nino to head out to NY as part of his next chapter in life. The NYC grind proved paramount in building the professional savvy and character Nino has today. Fast forward 7 years and now Nino finds himself full circle back in sunny Southern California with his wife and toddler. Learn more about Nino and his work here.
Richard Foss, Curator
Richard Foss has been writing about food and drink professionally since 1986, when he started reviewing restaurants for the Los Angeles Reader newspaper. Since then he has contributed to over twenty different publications, including articles in the Encyclopedia of World Food Cultures (Greenwood 2011) and the Oxford Companion to Sweets (2015). He has taught "500 Years of American Food" “American Fermented,” and "What Shakespeare Left Out" at Osher Institute/UCLA Extension, is on the board of the Culinary Historians of Southern California, and is the California Curator for the SoFAB Institute and Museum of the American Cocktail. His book on the history of rum was released by Reaktion Books in April of 2012. “Food in the Air and Space; the surprising history of food and drink in the skies,” was released in December 2014.
Mary Lou Guzman, Riordan Leadership Institute Associate
Mary Lou Guzman was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has a passion for food and travel. She is currently a student of the Riordan Leadership program, a multi-course program that develops and trains business professionals for service in the nonprofit sector. She is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine and holds a degree in Psychology & Social Behavior, under the school of Social Ecology. She currently works in Finance at the Capital Group Companies. When Mary Lou isn’t traveling, she enjoys running marathons, learning about cocktail culture, and trying new restaurants.
Joe Keeper, Special Curator, The Museum of the American Cocktail
From Austin Texas to Silver Lake CA, it took fifteen years of traditional employment, traffic and trauma before Joe hatched the escape plan that became Bar Keeper. Like many a man before him, the “great” idea germinated from a shot of tequila. Opened on April Fools Day, 2006, the little store provided a refuge for a small band of cocktail freaks and professional mixologists in the lonely desert of L.A. The store flourished as mixology bars opened and created an accompanying thirst to make a true cocktail at home. Today, Joe prides himself on his considerable dedication to acquiring knowledge of cocktails and spirits, which like all good quests enhances the life of the seeker. Seven days a week, Bar Keeper welcomes the novice as well as the professional into its booze loving arms. It’s filled with tools, vintage glassware, small batch spirits and bitters and the people who love them.
Ernest Miller, Special Lecturer
Ernest Miller is a chef, historian, educator, consultant, and speaker who teaches classes in museums, schools, and kitchens throughout Southern California. He has been called the Huell Howser of California food. He is Co-Leader of Slow Food Los Angeles, on the speakers’ bureau of the Culinary Historians of Southern California, Director of Slow Food Preservation Advisors of Los Angeles County, Adjunct Instructor of Wine & Beverage at Le Cordon Bleu, and Founder of RLM Provisions LLC, manufacturer of the best fermentation kits on the market.
Noramae R. Munster, Sustainability Specialist
Noramae Munster serves as Sustainability Specialist at SoFAB Institute and is Culinary Director with Ports O’ Call Waterfront Dining, a venerable restaurant and event center in the Port of Los Angeles. Her core responsibilities include strategic brand evolution, implementing sustainable practices and product sourcing, and recipe/menu testing through delivery. Noramae’s first career was in advertising, founding and managing her agency focused on automotive and brand development for 15 years. She has earned a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, a Nutritional Psychology Certificate from the Institute of the Psychology of Eating in Boulder, has studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and St. Helena, California, and became a Raw Food Chef at the Living Light Culinary Institute in Mendocino, California. Noramae is currently pursuing a Certificate in Sustainability Management from UCLA. Noramae is also a coach, speaker, and mentor on the subjects of health, nutrition, and personal development, and is a ceremonial minister.
Ryan Swafford, Co-Host and Editor | SoFAB Media
Ryan Swafford is a Tennessee native and no stranger to the unique food and beverage delicacies of the South. Having performed in regional theater and film productions, he made the move west to Los Angeles in 2003 and continued to fuel his creative side by joining West Coast Ensemble, a membership based theatre company. In 2008, he channeled his passion for the entertainment industry into his own business venture and founded Say It Back: Entertainment and Media transcription service. He is also currently co-developing a new culture/lifestyle web series (The Retro Cocktail Hour). Ryan is thrilled to be working with the SoFAB Institute! As co-host and editor of SoFAB Media’s Touring the Cocktail: MOTAC Los Angeles series, Ryan blends entertainment with the opportunity to explore two of his favorite things: expanding his food palette (but not seafood!) and experiencing the best in craft cocktails. An admitted travel junkie, he can often be found on impromptu road trips or jetting off in search of new and exciting libations - so far, Italy wins the prize!