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Studying Food in Public: A Conversation

  • Museum of Food and Drink 62 Bayard Street Brooklyn, NY 11222 United States (map)

Food media and writing have never been more popular, or more critical, as audiences are asking for more information from their food and the people who make it. Whether it’s writing about the meteoric rise of chicken consumption in the United States, explaining modern immigration policy through the history Chinese American food, or advocating for a more equitable hospitality industry, food can be a powerful tool to understand the world around us.

Food Studies programs have provided one more traditional avenue to delve deeper into the exploration of food beyond gustatory taste. Yet for those not enrolled, or no longer enrolled, what does the study of food look like outside of an academic context? How do we tell the story of food through a single-subject book, magazine issue, dinner, event, advocacy group, or an exhibition?

Join MOFAD Curator Catherine Piccoli, Emelyn Rude, founder of Eaten Magazine and author of Tastes Like Chicken, and Colleen Vincent, cofounder of Black Food Folks and Director of Culinary Community Initiatives for the James Beard Foundation, for an intimate conversation about food studies outside of academia, from publishing to curation, immersive dinners, and beyond.



Catherine is a food historian and writer, whose work focuses on the intersection of food, culture, memory, and place. She brings this multidisciplinary approach to the Museum of Food and Drink. As curator, she oversees the creation of MOFAD’s exhibitions and educational programming. Catherine was instrumental in the research, writing, and development of past major exhibitions, Flavor: Making It and Faking It and Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant, as well as gallery shows Feasts and Festivals, Knights of the Raj, and Highlights from the Collection. She also established the museum’s robust public programming.

Previously, Catherine worked as a researcher at the Chicago Historical Society and the Heinz History Center, and has written for a number of major publications. She holds a Master’s degree in Food Studies from Chatham University and a Bachelor’s with honors in Social and Cultural History from Carnegie Mellon University. Catherine is currently working on MOFAD’s upcoming exhibition, African/American: Making the Nation’s Table.



Emelyn Rude is the author of Tastes Like Chicken: a History of America's Favorite Bird and publisher of Eaten: the Food History Magazine. Although currently completing her doctorate in history at the University of Cambridge, she has previously worked as a food writer and operations assistant at various restaurant groups in New York. A lifelong vegetarian, her current project is on the history of eating fish in America. She also competitively tastes wine.



Colleen Vincent, Director of Culinary Community Initiatives for the James Beard Foundation, is a vocal champion for diverse leadership in all sectors of the hospitality industry.  She is also the cofounder of Black Food Folks, a fellowship of Black folks working in food and drink promoting and supporting each other for mutual success.  She has been featured on panels at the Food Book Fair, the Minority Chef Summit and represented the Foundation on the High Road Restaurant Roundtable.  She is an advisory committee member for Women in Hospitality United.  In 2017, Vincent created a book drive to build a culinary library in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.   She sat on the James Beard Foundation Food Conference steering committee and is presently part of the House Event Programming Committee.  In 2019, Colleen was named a Trailblazer on Dine Diaspora’s 31 Black Women in Food list.  She serves as an Advisory Committee Member for “African/America” exhibition curated by Dr. Jessica Harris and the Museum of Food & Drink (MoFad). She is a member the West Indian Chefs Alliance.  Colleen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.  In her spare time, she reviews comic books for and raises funds for the Hero Initiative, a nonprofit that assists comic book creators in need.