Executive Vice President, James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation’s Executive Vice President Mitchell Davis is a cookbook author, journalist, speaker, and scholar with a B.S. from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and a Ph.D. in Food Studies from NYU. With the Beard Foundation for almost 25 years, Davis has had several roles and has created and overseen many of the organisation’s most important and impactful initiatives. He served as Director of Publications, Vice President of Communications, and interim President, before becoming Executive Vice President in 2011. Among the marquis programs he helped create and launch are the JBF Annual Food Summit, a national dialogue of thought leaders on sustainability and public health, the JBF Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, an advocacy training program for chefs, the JBF Women’s Leadership Programs to address gender imbalance in the industry, and JBF LTD; a sold-out, five-week pop-up restaurant featuring several of the world’s best chefs.
In 2013, on behalf of JBF, Davis led the team that was selected by the U.S. Department of State to create the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, for which he served as Chief Creative Officer and received commendations from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Outside of the Beard Foundation, Davis frequently writes about food and reviews restaurants. He holds a chair on the Academy of the London-based World’s 50 Best Restaurants, for which he oversees the region of eastern North America. He has written five cookbooks, including the ground-breaking e-book My Provence (Alta Editions) with Michelin three-star chef Laurent Gras, which won two IACP awards, including “Judges Choice.” His most popular book is Kitchen Sense (Clarkson Potter), a comprehensive guide to home cooking. As a James Beard Award nominated journalist, Davis is a regular contributor to food publications, including the Art of Eating and Saveur. For two years Davis hosted the weekly talk show Taste Matters on Heritage Radio Network. His T.V. and film appearances include PBS’s James Beard: America’s First Foodie, City of Gold, History Channel’s 101 Fast Foods that Changed the World, Food Network’s Food(ography), Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and Best in Smoke.
Davis is sought after as a program curator, speaker and moderator on topics such as food culture and history, taste, restaurants and chefs, Jewish food, the food system, sustainability, and food media. He has created programs for the Chicago Council on
Global Affairs, the Annenerg Trust at Sunnylands, World Bank, SlowFood, the UN
Sustainable Development Goals Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MAD Food Camp, and the EAT Foundation, among other prestigious organisations. In 2013, The Forward selected Davis as one of the 50 most influential Jews under 50 in America. And in 2017 epicurious.com named Davis one of the “100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time” alongside many of his own cooking heroes, such as Richard Olney, Julia Child, Edna Lewis, and James Beard, himself.