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FoodLab@LightCity presented by Visit Baltimore, Supporting Sponsor: Wegmans

Saturday, April 21

Acclaimed food advocates and chefs explore the world of food in talks and demonstrations: We’ll look at how it’s grown, accessed, eaten and innovated, and how our attitudes toward what we eat may change the trajectory of society. Immediately following FoodLab is a Baltimore Marketplace by Cureate.

• FoodLab kicks off with Chef Dave Thomas, Chef Partner of Ida B’s Table.  Chef Thomas will do a cooking demo and talk, entitled, “Building Community Around a Shared Table.”

• Like most industries in the country, the food industry is feeling the effects of the #MeToo movement. Allison Robicelli, baker, author and TV personality, will discuss “The End of the Boys Club” with a panel featuring Therese Nelson of Black Culinary History, Alison Price Becker of Alison 18; Rachel Waynberg of RW Culinary Innovation.

• Broad Street ministry is redefining what it means to be a ‘soup kitchen.’ Their Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative provides top-quality meals to its guests on linen, served by professional servers. Social Engagement Manager, Devin Johns, will discuss their “Radical Hospitality” in a TED-style talk.

• B-More Kitchen is committed to providing the city’s food entrepreneurs with the space and the resources they need to grow their businesses. In a demo and talk.

• As the first-ever Chief Culture Officer for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, Erin Moran is responsible for strengthening and growing USHG’s culture of Enlightened Hospitality, and overseeing all aspects of the employee experience at USHG. In a one-on-one with Jeff Cherry of Conscious Venture Lab, Erin will discuss how to build a positive culture in the food industry.

• B. Cole and Aisha Pew were seriously accomplished academically and in their respective fields long before they decided to move to Baltimore to start a café and community hub in Reservoir Hill. Cole is a community facilitator, strategist, and consultant. In 2015 she launched Brioxy, a membership hub for innovators of color. Aisha is a seasoned talent management executive. In their talk at FoodLab, they’ll share the story of their national search to find a community for what is today DoveCote Café, and how Baltimore became home.

• Local foodgrammer Chyno – The Boy with the Blue Beard – will lead a discussion with on media and the democratization of food.

• Baltimarket is an innovative food access program. Jasina Wise, Healthy Stores Manager for the City Health Department will talk about their innovative approaches in a talk entitled, “How BaltiMarket is creating community-supported solutions to bring healthy food to everyone.”

• FoodLab’s last presenter is Chef Art Smith, award-winning restaurateur and chef. Art is also the founder of Common Threads, whose mission is to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking. Chef Smith will do a demo and talk. 

Alison Robicelli, Author

Allison Robicelli is a James Beard nominated food and travel writer, an internationally lauded chef, an occasional television personality, history enthusiast and all around good time. She lives with her husband, two kids and three cats in Pigtown, Baltimore.

Chef Art Smith

Chef Art Smith loves the idea of bringing people together through food. It’s partly what made him the success he is today. He is the executive chef and co-owner of Blue Door Kitchen and Garden, Southern Art and Bourbon Bar, Homecomin': Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Art Smith has received the culinary profession's highest awards and has cooked for some of the world's most famous celebrities. In 1997, Smith became the personal, day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position that lasted ten years. Smith now coordinates and cooks for special events all around the world.  

Chef Dave Thomas, Chef Partner, Ida B’s Table

David Thomas is the Chef Partner of Ida B’s Table. Thomas is a career food professional with more than 25 years of experience. In 2012, Thomas along with his business partners opened Herb & Soul: a farm to table, local and sustainable restaurant. Herb & Soul won numerous awards, and Thomas went on to be featured on "Tasty Travels," as well as several local television stations. His food and work have been featured in Food & Wine, Eater, Life and Thyme, Style Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, Foodservice Monthly, Black Enterprise, and Cuisine Noir. To learn more about Thomas, visit

Chyno “Boy With The Blue Beard” & “The Baltimore Foodie”

Chyno takes on the Baltimore Food scene. As "The Baltimore Foodie" he embarks on finding the best drink and eats in Baltimore and beyond.

Devin Johns

Devin Johns is the social engagement manager for Broad Street Ministry, a broad-minded Christian community that cherishes creativity, fosters and nurtures artistic expression, extends inclusive hospitality and—works for a more just world through civic engagement.

Erin Moran, Chief Culture Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group

As USHG’s first-ever Chief Culture Officer, Erin Moran is responsible for strengthening and growing USHG’s culture of Enlightened Hospitality, and overseeing all aspects of the employee experience at USHG. Prior to joining USHG in October 2013, Erin spent nearly a decade at Great Place to Work (United States), a firm that studies and identifies great workplaces and offers human resources consulting services globally.

Chef Therese Nelson, Founder, Black Culinary History

Therese Nelson is the founder and curator of the social network and website Black Culinary which focuses on preserving and redefining the legacy of chefs of color in American cooking. Therese is a regular contributor to various publications such as Vice, Taste Cooking, and First We Feast as a freelance writer and commentator on topics around identity and culture in the culinary world. In addition, Therese uses her classical training and over 15 years experience in the kitchens across the country to run a small private chef service based in NYC.

Alison Price Becker

Alison Price Becker, a diversified hospitality and food professional versed in all consumer driven phases of the food and beverage industries is the founder of Alison Food & Hospitality Innovation.  Strategic thinking and creativity from conception to design and implementation assure bringing life to products, and successful completion of all phases of hospitality projects.   With 25+ years’ experience in restaurant ownership (the acclaimed Alison On Dominick Street, Alison By The Beach, and 4 other Alison’s, most recently Alison Eighteen), she is known for developing and mentoring young chefs, meticulous staff and supplying a truly quintessential soul-satisfying experience, while forging a path for Women in the industry.   Alison’s passion for food and cooking and people is the driving force behind each day. She has produced products and line extensions for: Arnold Bread, Cool Whip, Hungry Man, Starbucks, Canyon Ranch, Birds Eye, White Wave (now Acme), Apio vegetables, Gorton’s Fish and Quaker Oats.   The author of Kitchen Suppers: Good Food to Share with Good Friends, she is proud to have celebrated the home cook and supermarket brands on Taste of NY, and for the QOOQ tablet in Paris, filming 14 recipes representing the American kitchen. Alison and her work, have been featured in magazines around the world, as well as all national US newspapers. Television appearances include: Fox 5 News, Plum TV, Channel 13, Italian TV News, News 12 Long Island, Connecticut News and Italian TV News, and in her former career as an actress, a Pink Lady in Grease Two, amongst other television and stage appearances. When not exploring the worlds markets, Alison writes and innovates in New York City with her teenage son, Harrison, who is a student at The School of Foreign Services at Georgetown University.  

B. Cole

Cole holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and has worked as a community facilitator, strategist, and consultant for the last 15 years. In 2015 she launched Brioxy, a membership hub for innovators of color bringing fellowship hacking, social capital, home ownership and life coaching to one central place for the country’s fastest-growing demographic. An Echoing Green Fellow, Coro Fellow, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and Spirit of Dolores Huerta Award recipient, she has worked across the US and internationally on issues of leadership development and social capital. Previously, Cole worked at the Harry S. Truman Foundation, located in the White House, where she directed life design programming for its annually selected scholars. She is also the Founder of the Brown Boi Project, the largest leadership development organization for young LGBT people of color in the US.

Aisha Pew

Aisha is the founder and CEO of Dovecote Café, a community-based hub and food oasis. The café’s name is meant to evoke a sense of communal nesting. In addition to enjoying the selection of food and beverages, customers are meant to sit, stay, and gather at the Dovecote Café. Aisha has almost two decades of providing talent management and organizational effectiveness solutions to her clients and employers. Aisha's diverse HR background has enabled her to bring an innovative, practical and fresh perspective to HR issues. She has consulted with Fortune 500 companies working with foreign and domestic markets. Aisha held several leadership roles for leading companies where she developed talent acquisition and selection, organizational and leadership, and recruitment process. She has managed teams of up to 350 and businesses in excess of $100 million annual sales. Aisha holds a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University and an MA in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from UC Berkeley.

Alan Mclain, Youth Nutrition Organizer, Baltimore City Health Department’s Baltimarket Program

Alan Mclain is the Youth Nutrition Organizer with the Health Department’s Baltimarket Program. In this role, he educates youth on food access issues and prepares them to be change agents. He also supports, in a variety of facets, community-based organizations looking to do similar work. He also teaches Sociology and is involved in a variety of youth engagement activities as a volunteer in West Baltimore. Alan loves mentoring, being mentored, cooking, basketball, good discussions and taking long walks in Baltimore City.