The annual Gala hosted by the James Beard Foundation at The Pierre Hotel on the Upper East Side. Photo © Clay Williams

2022 James Beard Award Winner Padma Lakshmi Was Honored; Foundation Celebrates 10 Years of Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change

On Friday November 11th the James Beard Foundation® hosted the 2022 annual Gala For Good. Taking place at The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, in New York City, the event honored Padma Lakshmi and celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Foundation’s groundbreaking Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Changeraising nearly $800,000 of vital support for the Foundation’s impact programs. The evening highlighted chefs who have advocated for a better food world, while raising awareness of the Foundation’s work to drive meaningful, transformational change for the culinary industry. Gala honoree Padma Lakshmi was celebrated for her inspiring and tireless efforts to champion all those who work throughout our food system. A recent 2022 James Beard Award winner for her work as Creator, Host, and Executive Producer of Taste the Nation, as well as Host and Producer of Top Chef, Lakshmi has captivated millions globally and changed the way we think about American food. Sharing stories of the immigrant and indigenous communities that have shaped our country’s food culture, she has leveraged our collective passion for good food to foster connection and illuminate complex issues of history, humanity, identity, and belonging.

“I am grateful to the James Beard Foundation for recognizing my work as part of their mission. As a first-generation immigrant, my passion and motivation has been to examine food and food culture to learn about what makes us American. The success I’ve had in my career is only possible because of the food workers, culinary historians, foragers, and immigrant families who invited me into their homes and shared their stories of pain, joy, and triumph. It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to use my platform to extend their stories and share them with the rest of the world,” said Padma Lakshmi, 2022 James Beard Gala Honoree. “I was truly honored tonight to be amongst so many chef-advocates and industry leaders who use their voice to make good food for good. Together, I know we can change the world.”

Marking a major milestone for the organization and industry, the James Beard Foundation also celebrated 10 years of the groundbreaking Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change—a program that trains chefs from around the country to advocate for policies and practices that will positively impact the hospitality industry and food system. Since its founding in 2012, nearly 350 chefs have successfully advocated at the local, state, and federal level for such things as nutritious school meals, protecting SNAP recipients, supporting American fisheries, reducing food waste, fighting for safer, more regenerative food production across the United States, and much more.

“Tonight, we gather to celebrate Padma Lakshmi, as well as the hundreds of chef advocates around the country who have used their voices for good in service of a healthier, more sustainable, and thriving food system,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “This evening provides vital support for our entire suite of Good Food for Good programs—which allows us to fund critical initiatives geared towards driving necessary and sustained change in our industry. As we look to the future, we thank all our supporters who make our mission possible, and who have been committed partners on this journey with us.”

Also in attendance at this year’s Gala was notable food media personalities, James Beard Foundation leadership, James Beard Award winners and nominees, and notable alumni from the Foundation’s programs and initiatives, including:

Gail Simmons, Food Writer, Cookbook Author, and Judge on Top ChefClare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation; Kris Moon, President and COO of the James Beard Foundation; Elizabeth Falkner, James Beard Nominated Chef, Author, Filmmaker, former Restaurateur, frequent competitor on the Food Network, former competitor and judge on Top Chef, James Beard Foundation Board of Trustee, and Chef Bootcamp Alum; Tanya Holland, Celebrity Chef, Restaurateur, Podcast Host, Writer, Cookbook Author, James Beard Awards Committee Chair, and Chef Bootcamp Alum; Nancy Lukitsh, James Beard Foundation Board Chair, Gala Event Chair; Mary Sue Milliken, Award-winning chef, Cookbook Author, Activist, and Media Personality, James Beard Board of Trustee, and Chef Bootcamp Alum; Esther Choi, Chef and Owner of mŏkbar and mŏkbar Brooklyn, competitor on Iron Chef, and Chef Bootcamp Alum; Shenarri Freeman, Executive Chef of Cadence, NYC, Chef Bootcamp Alum, and 2022 James Beard Foundation TasteTwenty Chef; JJ Johnson, James Beard Award-winning Chef and Author, TV personality, Founder of FIELDTRIP, Chef Bootcamp Alum; Mavis-Jay Sanders, Chef, Activist, 2022 James Beard Leadership Award winner, Chef Bootcamp Alum, and JBF Beard House Fellows Advisory Committee Member; Leticia “Skai” Young, Owner of LoLo’s Seafood Shack; James Beard Foundation Legacy Network Advisory.

Guests enjoyed a delicious evening featuring a reception and exceptional four-course dining experience in collaboration with a selection of acclaimed Bootcamp alumni including:

  • Host Chef Ashfer Biju, The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, NYC
  • Host Pastry Chef Michael Mignano, The Pierre, NYC
  • April Anderson, Good Cakes and Bakes, Detroit, Bootcamp Alum 2018
  • Rohani Foulkes, Folk, Detroit, Bootcamp Alum 2022
  • JBF Award Nominee Greg Collier, BayHaven Restaurant Group, Charlotte,NC, Bootcamp Alum 2019
  • JBF Award Winner Hugo Ortega, Hugo’s, Houston, Bootcamp Alum 2017
  • Duskie Estes, Black Pig Meat Co. and Farm to Pantry, Sonoma County, CA, Bootcamp Alum 2014, 2017 and 2018
  • JBF Award Winner Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, NC, Bootcamp Alum 2012 and 2013


The event included a Bid for Good auctionincluding an online and live component— that featured exciting travel destinations, dining experiences at renowned restaurants, VIP tours of wineries, luxury cookware and home goods, and more.Select highlights of the Live Auction during the evening included:

An Emilia Romagna Tale Designed by Chef Michele Casadei Massari—SOLD FOR $18,000, the winner will experience five unforgettable days and nights on a breathtaking tour through the land Chef Michele’s home region of Emilia Romagna, Italy. Featuring the best region has to offer with magnificent properties, spa treatments, private tours, and tastings of some of the region’s most iconic products, and unrivaled fine dining.

Andrew Zimmern and Jennifer Bushman Bring Blue Foods to the Beard House— SOLD FOR $18,000, the winner and 24 guests will join multiple James Beard and Emmy-award winning Chef Andrew Zimmern on a culinary exploration of ocean advocacy. In partnership with seafood expert and ethical aquaculture champion Jennifer Bushman, Chef Zimmern will present an innovative and delicious take on “Blue Foods” at the historic Beard House, with a menu celebrating the ocean’s bounty.

Behind-the-Scenes at the Chef BootcampSOLD FOR $15,000, the winner will experience JBF’s groundbreaking Chef Boot Camp for Policy and Change first- hand, with 15 innovative chefs from across the country. In addition to getting an up-close look at advocacy trainings, guest will enjoy first-class sustainable meals and wines, in addition to a once-in-a lifetime family-style feast prepared by the participating Bootcamp chefs. All proceeds raised during the live and online Bid for Good auction provide critical funding for James Beard Foundation programs.

Celebrating Old New York: A Tribute to Freds—Freds, located on the 9th floor of Barneys, was a New York fixture where the chic and inventive met the classics. SOLD FOR $13,000, the winner will enjoy a 4-course tasting menu dinner with acclaimed Chef Mark Strausman and 24 friends at the Beard House. For one night, guests will experience the best of old New York, as Strausman reinvents these New York classics.

Takeover at Kolomon—SOLD FOR $10,000, the winner and 24 friends will take over the entire spectacular mezzanine level of Kolomon—where Parisian creativity meets Viennese tradition. One of today’s hottest restaurants in NYC, the evening will feature a private 4-course dinner by 3-Michelin star Chef Markus Glocke.

The James Beard Foundation Gala is supported by Capital One, the official credit card and banking partner of the James Beard Foundation; American Airlines, the official airline of the James Beard Foundation; and Windstar Cruises, the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation. Additional event sponsors include Argyle Winery, Best Made, Bisquit & Dubouché Cognac, Champagne Lallier, Gourmet Settings, Markham Vineyards, Saratoga Spring Water, and Tequila Patrón.

About the James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation (JBF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that celebrates and supports the people behind America’s food culture, while pushing for new standards in the restaurant industry to create a future where all have the opportunity to thrive. Established over 30 years ago, the Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives and is committed to supporting a resilient and flourishing industry that honors its diverse communities. By amplifying new voices, celebrating those leading the way, and supporting those on the path to do so, the Foundation is working to create a more equitable and sustainable future—what we call Good Food for Good®. JBF brings its mission to life through the annual Awards, industry and community-focused programs, advocacy, partnerships, and events across the country. For the first time in the Foundation’s history, exceptional culinary talent, industry leaders, and visitors from NYC and beyond can experience unforgettable dining and educational programming at Pier 57—inspiring food and beverage devotees for decades to come. Learn more at, sign up for our newsletter, and follow @beardfoundation on social media.

The annual Gala hosted by the James Beard Foundation at The Pierre Hotel on the Upper East Side. Photo © Clay Williams