Linda Civitello is the author of the award-winning book Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People, which is used to teach food history in culinary schools throughout the US and Canada. Linda has developed the curriculum and taught the history of food at culinary schools throughout Southern California, including the Art Institutes in Los Angeles and Orange County and Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena; she also taught the History of Chocolate at UCLA Extension. Linda speaks frequently on a wide range of topics, including James Bond: Foodie; America Takes the Cake; The Mediterranean Diet: Ancient to Modern; Holidays and Food; How Dessert Became Breakfast in America; and Venus, Women, and Peaches. She has spoken at Harvard University, appeared on television in episodes of Bizarre Foods ("Halloween" and "Aphrodisiacs"), and on NPR. She also cooks professionally, making Italian pastries and gelati for a select clientele. Linda contributed four essays, including "Windows on the World" and "The Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station," to Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City. Forthcoming is The Baking Powder Wars, a book about how baking powder revolutionized global eating habits. Linda has a BA from Vassar and an MA from UCLA.
Dr. Howard Conyers
Dr. Howard Conyers, who currently resides in New Orleans, has been recognized in various media for his mastery of old fashioned, South Carolina style whole hog pit-cooked barbecue. Born in Manning, SC, Dr. Conyers learned how to cook whole hog barbecue from his father. It was at age 11 when he cooked his first whole hog, but even before that he had always been heavily involved in the entire process from butchering to cooking the hog. Howard earned a BS in Bioenvironmental Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, which focused on agricultural and biological engineering. After college, he then went on to earn a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from Duke University. Dr. Conyers came to New Orleans after securing employment with NASA Stennis Space Center, working as a structural dynamicist. In 2014 Howard submitted a High Speed High Dynamic Range video camera technology development project, HiDyRS-X, and it was 1 of 4 selected across all of NASA and he served as the Principal Investigator & Project Manager. While in New Orleans, Howard’s interest in BBQ reemerged through participation in a local BBQ cook-off and fundraiser. Through these fundraisers he realized that his family’s methods and pits used to cook whole hog BBQ was a dying art, one that his family cherished and that should be preserved. Through BBQ, he found his passion in the history and preservation of South Carolina agricultural and culinary history. As a result and in conjunction with the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, Howard curated two projects: “South Carolina Barbecue- Culture, Misconceptions, and Preservation” and "From the Low Country to the Bayou." Both programs examined agricultural and food preservation in South Carolina and the greater south, as well as food of the African diaspora. Howard then hosted an event, "A Creole and Gullah Family Reunion," examining the West African Influence on Southern cooking. For the past few years, Howard has been working on a book on BBQ, drawing from voices of the past who shared the tradition orally for generations. His community service leadership was recently recognized when he was 1 of 40 leaders across the nation to be selected as a NextCity Vanguard in 2016.
Originally from Kentucky, Sarah Fouts has a PhD in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and an M.S. in Urban Studies from the University of New Orleans. Her ethnographic dissertation research, Tacos, Gumbo, and Work: The Politics of Food and the Valorization of Labor, analyzes the experiences of undocumented Honduran and Mexican food vendors and their integration processes into post-Katrina New Orleans. She has taught classes in oral history methods, foodways, and migration at Tulane University. At the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Fouts curated two exhibits with her Tulane undergraduate students: Banh Mi to Baleadas: The Shifting Foodways in New Orleans Restaurants and the second installation of New Orleans con Sabor Latino. Fouts also helped curate the Kentucky section of the Tastes of the Southern States exhibit. She worked for the Southern Foodways Alliance’s documentary project, El Sur Latino, to collect oral histories and photographs with Latin vendors in a local market. Her research has been featured in NPR’s The Salt, Gravy, and the WYES documentary, Latino Cuisine in New Orleans. Her academic work is published in the Journal of Southern History and Race, Gender, and Class. Fouts served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay from 2005-2008, has worked with the Congress of Day Laborers since 2011, and is currently based at Lehigh University as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
Nina K. Müller-Schwarze
Nina K. Müller-Schwarze completed a PhD in Cultural Anthropology. McFarland Press recently published her theoretically-grounded book, The Blood of Victoriano Lorenzo: An Ethnography of the Cholos of Northern Coclé Province, Panama. The research in this book examines the sociocultural and political contexts of environmental and agricultural development programs over several generations, and describes how people within political and religious structures defined indigeneity, socioeconomic class, and ethnicity in different ways in various epochs. Research methods included collecting oral history that was then corroborated in archival materials and interpreted within observations from long-term ethnographic fieldwork. These ethnographic interpretations are grounded in a knowledge of philosophy, and this book contributes to the discussion about cultural anthropological topics such as time, dualism, representation, and social movements. This book received a positive review from Dr. D.B. Heath (Brown University) in the October 2015 edition of Choice.
Rachel Wallace is a doctoral student in the History Department at Queen’s University Belfast. A fascination and passion for southern culture drew her to New Orleans and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum for a six-month internship. At the museum, she directs an oral history and digital exhibition project entitled “King Cake, Bakeries and Mardi Gras.” Through the king cake project, she captures the diversity and innovation of New Orleans by charting the evolution and cultural importance of the celebrated cake. Her broader research explores identity, community, and memory in the United States and Ireland in the Twentieth Century. She specializes in public history, oral history and exhibition curation; digital humanities; and academic research and teaching.
William (Bill) Yosses, held the prestigious title of the White House Executive Pastry Chef for 7 years. He was hired by First Lady Laura Bush in January 2007, and continued into the Obama Administration until June 2014. Other executive pastry chef experience includes, The Dressing Room in Westport Connecticut, owned by actor/philanthropist Paul Newman and Bouley Restaurant in New York City. As Pastry Chef of the White House he planned desserts for the First Family and their guests from breakfast meetings to State Dinners, over the span of two administrations. He has published two books, Desserts for Dummies 1997, and The Perfect Finish, Special Desserts for Every Occasion, 2010. Bill is workingon a third book titled; “Have Your Cake and Eat it Too, the Seven Pillars of Healthful Baking”. He is the recipient of the James Beard Who’s Who Award. His foundation, Kitchen Garden Laboratory has used cooking to teach science lessons for the New York City Board of Education and Harvard Medical School.
Ashley Rose Young, Guest Curator and Research Fellow
Ashley is a food and beverage enthusiast and Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at Duke University. She specializes in academic research and teaching; public history and exhibit curation; and library and information science. In her work, she endeavors to create public programming that engages diverse audiences and draws people into American history through a shared interest in food and beverage. As a Guest Curator, she has researched and curated several exhibits at SoFAB including the Dryades Street Market; Taste Terroir Tapestries: Interaction Consumption Histories; Lena Richard: Pioneer in Food TV; and Arkansas State Cuisine.
Young's doctoral dissertation examines the history of New Orleans through the experiences of food and beverage entrepreneurs (1700-1950). Her research focuses on the role of women and minorities in the making of regional cuisines and local economies. She employ methodologies from the disciplines of History, Anthropology, English, and American Studies. You can find out more about her at ashleyroseyoung.com and in this interview here!