Standing for Equal Rights: In and Out of the Kitchen
Sunday, March 13
5:00PM - 6:00PM
The Driskill Ballroom
604 Brazos St
In June 2014, the Mississippi Religious Freedom Act passed into law, giving businesses—including restaurants—the legal right to turn patrons away citing religious beliefs. How are we still fighting such injustice? In the 1960s, lunch counter protests sparked integration; today, chefs collaborate to support the legalization of gay marriage. Good food brings people together; it does not shut them out. So, in an age where chefs are gaining celebrity, they’re presented with a unique platform to voice philosophies that reach far beyond food, and advocate for equal rights. Join three chefs who’ve used meals to facilitate peaceful, respectful dialogue about basic civil and human rights nationwide.
Aarón Sánchez is Chef/Partner of Johnny Sánchez, with locations in Baltimore and New Orleans. He is the co-star of Food Network’s hit series, Chopped, and the host of Cooking Channel's Emmy-nomina...Show the rest
Aarón Sánchez is Chef/Partner of Johnny Sánchez, with locations in Baltimore and New Orleans. He is the co-star of Food Network’s hit series, Chopped, and the host of Cooking Channel's Emmy-nominated Taco Trip. He is also the host of two Spanish-language TV series on FOX Life; 3 Minutos con Aarón and MOTOCHEFS. Aarón’s passion, commitment and skills have placed him among the world's leading contemporary Latin chefs.
Celebrated by critics and contemporaries alike, Aarón has won a James Beard Award for Television Studio Program and has appeared at the White House as a guest chef. He has also starred on multiple Food Network shows including: Guilty Pleasures, Best.Ever, Heat Seekers, Chefs vs. City, Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Next Iron Chef.
In addition to being a chef, restaurateur and television personality, Aarón has written two books. His first, “La Comida del Barrio”, was published in May 2003. His second book, “Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours”, was released in October 2011. Aarón has also designed a line of cookware products in collaboration with IMUSA and is a spokesperson for their Global Kitchen line.
Aarón works with many charitable organizations. He is a Chef Ambassador for WhyHunger and Food Bank NYC, both leaders in the movement to end hunger and poverty. He is also a Chef Mentor for Chefs Move!, a Scholarship Program whose mission is to diversify kitchen leadership by providing minority applicants the opportunity to train up and become leaders in restaurant kitchens and in their communities.
Aarón’s creativity extends beyond the kitchen. He is a partner at Daredevil Tattoo in NYC, a world famous shop and home to the country’s premiere tattoo museum. Aarón is an avid music lover; he enjoys cooking to the sounds of Alabama Shakes, Amos Lee, Lenny Kravitz, and The Cure. Aarón lives in Brooklyn, New York.Hide the rest
Atlanta native and “Top Chef: Las Vegas” contestant Eli Kirshtein is chef/partner of The Luminary at Krog Street Market. Equal parts avid sports fan and accomplished chef, Kirshtein is a proud Atla...Show the rest
Atlanta native and “Top Chef: Las Vegas” contestant Eli Kirshtein is chef/partner of The Luminary at Krog Street Market. Equal parts avid sports fan and accomplished chef, Kirshtein is a proud Atlantan and food anthropologist.
Kirshtein first tested his culinary chops at the age of 16, working as a protégé in the kitchens of Chefs Kevin Rathbun and Richard Blais. With an insatiable appetite for learning and advancing his experiences, Kirshtein sharpened his skills with stages at several acclaimed restaurants in NYC and at JOËL in Atlanta while completing his formal training at The Culinary Institute of America. After graduation, Kirshtein teamed up with Richard Blais at ONE. midtown kitchen before moving to Miami to work at Karu & Y. In 2007 he returned to Atlanta as the executive chef at Eno Restaurant and Wine Bar, from which he would take a brief hiatus to participate as a contestant on “Top Chef: Las Vegas.”
As a chef, Kirshtein has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Food & Wine Magazine and even a special-edition issue of Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man series. He has served on the culinary counsel for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and The Culinary Council of The Piedmont Park Conservancy. Kirshtein is also a proud supporter of the Atlanta Jewish Federation and Birthright Israel. Outside the kitchen, Kirshtein is a part-time sports writer and full-time SEC enthusiast.
In August 2014, Kirshtein brought his distinct style, perspective and technique to Atlanta’s highly anticipated Krog Street Market with the opening of his first restaurant, The Luminary. Voted the “So Hot Right Now” restaurant in Eater Atlanta’s annual awards, the French-American brasserie with regional influences features a classically inspired menu, large raw bar, craft beer and cocktail program, and 400-square-foot patio space.Hide the rest
Partner & Managing Dir
CEO Founder Exec Chef Owner
CITY GRIT Hospitality Group: CITY GRIT, Birds & Bubbles, and Rise Gourmet Goods & Bakeshop
Named one of the 50 best chefs in New York City in 2014, by FOOD & WINE magazine, Sarah Simmons is the CEO of CITY GRIT Hospitality Group, the founder of CITY GRIT Culinary Salon and Executive Chef...Show the rest
Named one of the 50 best chefs in New York City in 2014, by FOOD & WINE magazine, Sarah Simmons is the CEO of CITY GRIT Hospitality Group, the founder of CITY GRIT Culinary Salon and Executive Chef/Owner of Birds & Bubbles, a full-service restaurant in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
In 2010, she was named “America’s Home Cook Superstar” by FOOD & WINE magazine as part of its search for the nation’s best home cook. This recognition inspired her to leave the corporate world to pursue cooking full-time and focus on bringing the CITY GRIT concept to market.
Since opening CITY GRIT in September 2011, Sarah has been recognized as an influencer and tastemaker in the industry and acknowledged for both her culinary and business talent. In 2012, she was once again recognized by Food & Wine magazine as one of “America’s Best New Cooks” alongside nine other chefs including Mike Solomonov and Alex Stupak.
In 2013, she was recognized by the Charleston Wine + Food Festival as a “New & Notable” chef, and was named one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company magazine, which called her “the chef cooking up the most exciting dining experience in New York.”
CITY GRIT continues to be recognized as “One of the Most Innovative Restaurants in the Country” (Zagat in 2014) and Sarah’s first full-service concept, Birds & Bubbles, opened last year earning her numerous accolades including three stars from Time Out NY and two stars from Adam Platt, New York Magazine’s extremely discerning food critic.
In October of 2015, Simmons returned to her Carolina roots to open Rise Gourmet Goods & Bakeshop, a “southern boulangerie” serving artisanal breads, pastries, sweets, and gourmet goods in Columbia’s Five Points Neighborhood.Hide the rest