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SOAS Food Studies Centre

Food Studies Alumni Profiles

Alessandro d'Ansembourg

(completed BA Anthropology of Food course 2005) works as Senior Consultant at Zago in New York City. He mainly advises non-profits, foundations, and international organizations on strategic planning, communication campaigns, and branding- and identity-related issues. He frequently collaborates with several grass roots food and agriculture movements and organizations like Slow Food USA and The Greenhorns. In September 2011, he began working with a large US philanthropy on sustainable fisheries programs with a focus on Asia. Alessandro also sits on the Board of Advisors of the Associazione Monte Alto, a community-focused natural conservation association in Nigoline, Italy, and he serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Maddalena Foundation, a retreat for writers and botanists near Florence, Italy.

Doreen Joy Barber

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) lives in London, working with food and alcohol, particularly beer, in a variety of capacities. She works for the Five Points Brewing Company, a new Hackney brewing company dedicated to creating stunning examples of craft beer. In addition to occasional writing for festivals such as Appetite, she also periodically updates two blogs, Tasty Fever and AbandonedinLondon.com, and is on Twitter at @londondear.

Jolien Benjamin

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) is the Healthy School Coordinator at Gallions Primary School, London. She develops and delivers a food program educating pupils (4-12) how to cook and eat healthily; she teaches them where food comes from and how it impacts our health and lives. Jolien is also the Co-founder of Meet and Two Veg, a project that targets social isolation by hosting flashmeals in the public space. She is the co-organizer of the First Annual Anthropology of Food Professionalization event. She has been working as a freelancer for Central Street Cookery School, Redemption Bar and Phaidon Publishers. Within her career the main focus is on social isolation, gentrification and access to healthy food and nutrition.

Elizabeth Bennett

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) is the founder of Fruitcycle, a social enterprise that makes delicious, healthy, locally sourced snacks primarily from fruit that would otherwise go to waste.  Fruitcycle also focuses on providing jobs for women who have been formerly incarcerated, homeless, or are otherwise disadvantaged.  Elizabeth previously worked as the Director of Communications and Outreach for the United States Healthful Food Council and studied Singaporean food on a Fulbright Fellowship. She would be happy to meet any graduate visiting DC.

Rachel (Adams) Bennett

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) works in sales at Ocean Beauty Seafoods, a large, vertically integrated seafood supplier based in Seattle with an international presence. Her job involves representing Ocean Beauty to a variety of accounts; fostering customer relationships; supporting the domestic sales team; and developing sales solutions for by-products and aging inventory. Rachel is interested in sustainable fisheries management and waste reduction within the seafood industry. In addition, she maintains a blog devoted to fish and seafood cooking http://thefishwifecooks.com.

Jonathan Biderman

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) is living in the Boston area, looking for a way to combine food, design, and technology. In his search he has come to recognize the importance of an anthropological perspective to the development of commercially viable systems, products, and solutions in any field which truly serve the wants of individuals and the needs of society. He is interested in both the dynamism of the start-up/entrepreneurial sector as well as the reach and resources of established companies, and he values the blend of large academic, creative, craft, professional, and technological enterprises in the Boston area. He is also pursuing a separate project that investigates different ways to connect the broad food-focused community, to the end of fomenting collaboration and information sharing, and welcomes any thoughts and ideas.

Lauren Blake

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) is conducting doctoral research at the British Library and University of Sheffield, studying food activism through oral histories. Her areas of focus include food activists, activist organizations, activist activity, identity, food policy, food politics, recent history, social change, and qualitative social research. She also continues to explore work emerging out of her MA dissertation on malnutrition and development in Guatemala.

Diarmuid Cawley

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) lives in Dublin and works as a full-time Assistant Lecturer of Culinary Arts at the School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology in the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Aside from culinary modules, his primary subject is Wine Studies, both intermediate and advanced levels, where students learn all facets of wine as well as learning to taste wine professionally. Through his studies and research at SOAS relating to social constructions around authenticity, as well as other ideological and political agendas across the entire food and wine spectrum, Diarmuid has managed to bring aspects of that learning into his own lectures and enhance the course. Future plans include new course development within the school of Culinary Arts and putting forward a proposal to begin a PhD in the coming years. Most recently he presented a paper at the 2014 Dublin Gastronomy Symposium and hopes to start studying for the MW with the Institute of Masters of Wine in London this September. He also works part-time in a boutique wine shop and recently set up the D.W.C. (Dublin Wine Collective) with some fellow wine enthusiasts.

Paul Chalmers

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) is conducting doctoral research on 'Spaces of sustainable trade? Street food in Latin America' at the School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University. His research group has the overarching theme of 'sustainable city-regions'—aiming to explore ways in which cities might develop new ways forward in food governance. His fieldwork focuses on La Paz, Bolivia. Within the University, he is also a member of the new Sustainable Places Research Institute. He spends free time working on farms and community gardens and also runs a group in Cardiff that engages in a minor way with underutilized abundance by cooperatively brewing wild and urban fruit.  

Rebecca Chesney

MA Anthropology of Food 2011) is the Communications and Community Manager at the Institute for the Future, a non-profit research consultancy based in Palo Alto, California. She has worked with food in a variety of capacities, including as a Research Assistant with the University College Dublin Institute of Food and Health, a cheesemonger in Dublin, and a winery associate in Texas. Before exploring the world of food anthropology, Rebecca earned her certified public accountant license and studied the financial management capacity of developing countries with the World Bank. She also enjoys photography, and one of her pieces was selected for the 2012 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year exhibit in London.

Jessica Chu

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) is doing doctoral research in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS under the supervision of Johan Pottier and Harry West. Jessica’s project explores rising interest in 'land grabs' and seeks to situate debates about this phenomenon within the anthropology of development, with a focus on implications for food security. In addition to 'land grabs' she has been researching other related issues including current trends in food security policy, agricultural development, and food prices.

Laura Colebrook

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) worked for a number of organic and community food projects in the UK before she began her PhD as a President's Scholar at Cardiff University in 2013. She is researching the role of community in food governance in Bristol using cultural and interpretive approaches.

Anna Colquhoun

(MA Anthropology of Food 2015, anticipated) continues to work as a freelance cooking teacher, writer and consultant while completing her MA. She is currently working on several cookbooks, advising behind the scenes for BBC Radio 4's The Kitchen Cabinet, and has started collaborating with other food anthropologists to bring more anthropology to her supper club, the Secret Kitchen. Anna hopes to do a PhD looking at food and tourism in Istria.

Caroline Coolidge

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) lives in Philadelphia and works as a Community Strategy Manager for the tech start-up Farmigo, which strives to connect small farms to residents in their community and grow the local food economy.  Heavily focused in the San Francisco and New York areas, she is responsible for strategizing an online grocery shopping model that is convenient for both consumers and farmers alike. 

Holly Creighton-Hird

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) Campaigns Coordinator at Farms Not Factories, a nonprofit organisation working through filmmaking and campaigning to support the food sovereignty movement. She is currently working on the Pig Pledge, a new campaign exposing the true costs of meat from animal factories and inspiring people to make food choices that enable fairer food and farming systems. She also campaigns on food and access to land with Transition Heathrow and the Food Sovereignty Movement UK.

Federico de Musso

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) continued his education and is now a PhD student in Anthropology at McGill University where he is researching the cultural understanding of social, environmental and human health. Combining food studies and his interest in film making, photography and sound, Federico is involved with a variety of film and interactive media projects, writing and filming documentaries and web documentaries. He has also been working as a research associate at Bergamo University and visiting research associate at Harvard University.

Eloise Dey

(MA Anthropology of Food 2008) is part of Sustain’s Capital Growth project, a campaign aimed to convert 2012 spaces in London into food growing areas that benefit the community, a goal which has been met and surpassed. In addition, she worked with Tristram Stuart and the Feeding 5000 team to coordinate an event to raise awareness about the issues of food waste. Following on from the success of Feeding 5K, Eloise became one of the founding members of A Taste of Freedom and is currently working on an educational event to raise awareness and tackle the issues of surplus food. This combination of experience working in London provides a well-rounded understanding of food sustainability in urban contexts.

Emily Earhart

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) loves teaching pie-making classes at an artisan ice shop in Los Angeles, California where she leads and oversees production of organic, small-batch ice cream. Previously, she worked as Education Coordinator at Vauxhall City Farm in London, cheesemonger with the Ham & Cheese Co at Borough Market and bread-campaigner with the Real Bread Campaign in London. Having previously worked in the food service/hospitality industry for several years, she is now seeking opportunities to combine her love of cooking with teaching and outreach in the growing sector of food education.  

Faith Fennelly

(MA Anthropology of Development 2008, completed Anthropology of Food module) lives in Connecticut where she works at Newman’s Own Foundation. Faith supports the Foundation’s strategic grant-making process, including their Nutrition initiative which funds fresh food access and nutrition education programs for under-served communities in the United States. Before joining Newman’s Own Foundation, Faith worked at Save the Children where she managed a portfolio of nutrition, health and education grants for country offices in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Olissa Francisco

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) works as an account executive for a small PR company called Holly Hansen Public Relations which markets and represents international niche food and wine companies and products. She also volunteers for food justice organizations in the Bay Area (Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley) and is interested in food justice/access, GMOs, alternative food networks, local food economies, and urban growing.

Kathleen (Kate) Greavette

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) lives in Toronto, Canada and works with York Region Food Network, a non-profit organization that operates programs, raises awareness and promotes policy changes for increased access to affordable and nutritious food for all. In this role, Kate works with municipal and regional governments, farming and community organizations, local businesses, and residents to advance food system thinking in policy and program development.  Kate also works with a vegetable and sprout farm in the Greater Toronto Area, managing the post-harvest process. 

Zoe Goodman

(completed BA Anthropology of Food module 2007) worked at a trade and human rights NGO (3D Three) in Geneva for two years, where her research focused on the effects of intellectual property rights (IPRs) on seeds, small farmers, rural livelihoods, and biodiversity. She was also involved in work on land grabbing. After completing her MA at SOAS with a dissertation on how East African Asians in the UK use food to construct their identities, she began her PhD in Anthropology at SOAS in the autumn of 2012.

Katherine Harrison

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) works as a wine specialist for Waitrose and is pursuing advanced certification through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. In the past, she also interned at The Food Chain, a nutrition charity that provides meals to people living with HIV in London and on a mixed farm in Herts that seeks to bring together food, animals and people, and prides itself on diversity and high animal welfare standards.

Shan He

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) is working for qdaily.com in Beijing as a column writer and market coordinator in this new media platform that produces news on commerce, technology, and lifestyle. She was reporter and editor for Great Chef magazine from 2013-2014, which is a professional magazine for chefs and people working in F&B industry in China. In the summer of 2014, she co-founded a theater group named Stage No More, experimenting with environmental theatre that can happen anywhere but the conventional stage. Up until 2015, the group has produced a site-specific performance "The Moments When We Chat" in a cafe during Beijing One Art Festival and a restaurant-based project "Look! They are Eating!" which discusses culinary tourism in Wuzhen Theatre Festival.

Annabel Jackson

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014, anticipated) is the author of 11 books, including five cookbooks. Her latest, The Yunnan Cookbook, was published in August 2014. She's currently working as a freelance food and wine writer, and part-time university lecturer, and wants eventually to work in food policy. She moved to the UK last year after more than 20 years in Hong Kong.

Signe Johansen

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) works as a freelance food writer and cookery instructor specializing in Scandinavian food. Her first cookbook, 'Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking' (Saltyard Books), was published in 2011, and her second cookbook, 'Secrets of Scandinavian Baking', in 2012.

Chi-Hoon Kim

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) began her Ph.D. in Anthropology of Food at Indiana University in the Autumn of 2010. She is continuing her research on airline meals and is working as a researcher for the Korea Broadcasting Station’s food documentary series. Her regional focus is South Korea and she is also interested in analyzing Korean government policies regarding tourism and agriculture.

Eleonoora Kirk

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) works as a foreign rights literary agent for Holland & Scandinavia. She continues her personal interest in food by editing her great-great-grandmother's best-selling cookery book for a modern audience and collaborates with designers and innovators on food-related projects. She recently gave a short talk on artisan food to branding and R&D managers from a variety of large F&B multinationals, independent designers and food industry entrepreneurs.  She also periodically updates her food blog.

Katrina Kollegaeva

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) lives in London and works for the Soil Association developing the Food for Life Catering Mark, an accreditation scheme for catering businesses interested in promoting healthy, ethical food. She runs Russian Revels pop-up dinners across London, which feature playful food combined with a story rooted in Russia and Soviet Union theatre. Katrina wrote her dissertation on the social and cultural role of Ukrainian salo (cured pork fat) and has written for various publications including Gastronomica, Olive and Easyjet and continues to blog on The Gastronomical Me.

Harrison Leaf

(completed BA Anthropology of Food module 2007) started three companies since completing his first degree at SOAS in Social Anthropology and Development Economics, including access:wind, and is now pursuing a Master's degree in Environmental Science at Yale University. His current work furthers interests he developed during his time at SOAS while undertaking a project to build a 250 square meter edible roof garden on the fourth floor of a creative agency in central London, including a bee-hive, vegetable and mushroom production, and event space and artist exhibitions.

Madlen Maehlis

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) is interested in the fields of economic and political anthropology with a strong link to food related issues such as alternative modes of food production, food security and resilience and gardening and culinary activism. Her work builds on her studies in Asian and African Studies, Chinese Studies, and the Anthropology of Food. In her Master’s research she investigated the politics of Muslim foods in China. In her doctoral study she examines Jewish agrarianism in Germany from ca. 1900 to the early 1930s.

Mariagiulia Mariani

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) is conducting doctoral research at Montpellier CIRAD (Agricultural Research for Development) and University of Catania, within the AgTraIn joint PhD programme, studying traditional knowledge and governance systems in origin-based food in France, Italy and Morocco. She loves everything related to food, from field to fork, including food activism, and is setting up a permaculture farm and education centre in the Ecuadorian Andean region. 

Catherine McPherson

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) works as a Program Coordinator for Global Security and International Affairs at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a non-profit independent policy research institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has also been working at Night Shift Brewing Company to continue her interest and involvement in craft beer production following her Master’s dissertation on the craft beer movement in London and her experience working in the craft beer industry in Washington DC.

Sushila Moles

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) works at River Cottage HQ in Devon where she is the Bespoke Events Manager. In this role, she coordinates a range of events including large parties, weddings and fairs, which allows her to engage with a variety of food-related issues. She also owns and helps run a landshare in which she and her partner raise and sell billy goat meat (which would be a wasted by-product of the dairy industry) to restaurants in London.

Seamus Murphy

(completed the Anthropology of Food course as an elective in 2010) is pursuing a PhD at SOAS, examining fisheries development in Malawi and, in particular, its impact on the food security of the lake-shore villages of Lake Chilwa.

Monica (Madey) Mylonas

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) worked as an intern of food studies at the British Library during her course. She is primarily interested in food and identity in its various forms.  Her dissertation focused on deconstructing narratives of culinary tourism in modern ethnic cookbooks. Monica and her husband recently opened an artisanal coffee shop/bakery in her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas, where she also works as a high-school English teacher. She is on the board of the Southern Center for Agroecology, a non-profit organization supporting sustainable food networks and education in central Arkansas.

Sofia Myrholm

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) lives in Stockholm, Sweden where she works for a company called Provins. Provins is a food business that uses catering as a tool to counteract economic and social exclusion among immigrant women struggling to establish themselves in the Swedish job market. Through Provins women can utilise their culinary skills and gain work experience to enhance their employment options. Sofia works closely with the founder of the company and in the kitchen as a creative developer. This involves many areas such as logistics management and menu development based on a range of different food cultures, as well as the implementation of ethical and organic food practices. Sofia has also been in contact with FIAN (Foodfirst Information and Action Network) about becoming one of their food writers, something she hopes to start doing shortly.

Anne-Sophie Noten

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) wrote her dissertation on Western attitudes towards sugar, sweetness and health. She now works as an International Product Management Trainee at Alpro, an international plant-based food company headquartered in Belgium. Anne-Sophie collaborates with strategic marketing to develop business plans and concepts for new product developments and product improvements (e.g. sugar reduction). Anne-Sophie is interested in the complex interrelationship between food and health.

Nafsika Papacharalampous

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) is currently a PhD researcher in Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is writing her dissertation on Greek traditional foods and markets, focusing on national identity, memory, terroir and heritage. She is also collecting oral histories in Athens, focusing on food and economic crisis. Her weekly columns on Real Food in London were published by the online food market Love Your Larder and she is the Recipe Editor for the SOAS Recipe Book: Global Recipes from the School of Oriental and African Studies. Nafsika has recently started cooking professionally for pop-up-restaurants in London and in Athens. She is also a food blogger at www.nafsikacooks.com, where she indulges her passion for both cooking and writing.

Giacomo Pelizza

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) cultivated a growing interest in beer while working at a London pub and returned to Italy to work at Birrificio Italiano, the first craft microbrewery in the Lombardy region. In addition to managing the warehouse and all shipments leaving the brewery, Giacomo is responsible for PR and communications, including social media and mailings. He also represents the brewery on-site, through on-site brewery tours and festival presence. He is responsible for organizing in-house events ranging from small tasting dinners to the 8th “Pils Pride” festival, a two-day event featuring pilsners from breweries across the country along with food, live music, and beer-related activities. Birrificio Italiano has continued to grow, an exciting indication of the increasing demand for craft beer in Italy.

Rachel Pinnock

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014, anticipated) is currently working on her dissertation in order to complete her MA. Her dissertation will tentatively explore sustainable agriculture and whether changes in consumer-driven demand for trendy sustainable goods impact a farmer’s decision on what to plant or if seasonal crop selection is based on long-term farm survivability. As she finalizes her topic and research, she is also interning with the Bristol Food Policy Council, where she conducted her Directed Practical Study last year.

Emma Piper

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) lives in Indonesia and works as the Manager of a local NGO that supports community based conservation.  She works closely with a rural farming community in West Java and an indigenous community in Riau, Sumatra, to support their economic development and the conservation of the vulnerable forests they live in and around.  Professionally, she has set up an organic veg delivery scheme in Jakarta and she uses her spare time to discover and cook the dishes of South East Asia. She would be happy to hear from any graduates travelling to Indonesia and will point them in the direction of a good meal.

David Pistrang

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) lives in San Francisco and is a student at Mills College in Oakland, where he is working toward a teaching credential in mathematics. His research and professional interests include food tourism, Chinese cuisine (especially dumplings), education, and cross-cultural experiential learning. He would be very happy to meet other graduates of the program if they come to San Francisco, and would make sure they eat well.

Emma Sears

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) lives in Sonoma, California and works for a small winery called Scribe. At Scribe, Emma assists the winemaking team, runs the staff education program and is working to set up a farmer’s market stand with the excess produce grown on the Scribe farm. In her spare time, Emma enjoys sampling all of the culinary goodies the Bay Area has to offer.

Abigail Seiler

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) lives in Washington, DC and completed a Master's degree in Communication at the University of Maryland, where she focused on rhetoric, social change, and food movements. She currently works for the Center for Food Safety, a non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy group that challenges harmful food production technologies and promotes sustainable alternatives through litigation and policy work.

Diya Sharma

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) after completing the course worked for Riverford Organic, a cooperative of farmers in Devon that produces fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy which is then packaged as standard and customized boxes. She now works with a non-profit collective called Ethical Tea Partnership, a membership-based organization of 24 large and medium tea packing companies set up to improve working standards in the tea industry through monitoring, evaluation and fair trade practices. She is based in Mumbai and travels frequently to Assam, Darjeeling and the south of India where the tea is grown. Diya’s interests lie in fair and ethical trade, working on shortening food chains and working with small and marginal food producers.

Keelin Tobin

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) returned to Cork and worked towards a certificate in professional cookery. In tandem with this, she worked as a commis chef in a four star hotel. Following that, she spent the summer season working as a chalet chef in the French Alps. Keelin is now commencing a research masters in Cork, focusing on The Ballymaloe Cookery School, its business model and local impact. She continues to work as a chef in a vegetarian restaurant. She was awarded The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2014 Young Chef's Scholarship. Having had food waste as the research focus for her dissertation, Keelin retains a keen interest in the subject.

Tessa Tricks

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) currently works on the communications team at the Sustainable Food Trust, a Bristol-based charity working to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems. After completing her MA, she moved to San Francisco where she joined Seedling Projects to work on the Good Food Awards and the Good Food Merchants Guild as the Maybach Foundation’s 2013 Culinary Arts fellow. Whilst there she was also able to spend time at the Edible School Yard Project. Recently she has also started working with Eat-Club, a London based social enterprise teaching young people to cook.

Lucia Trlicova

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) began her PhD in 2010 at the Institute of Social Anthropology at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Her fieldwork in 2012 was conducted in Sarajevo where she studied the food consumption practices of the diplomatic community with a focus on elitism, distinction, nationalism, superiority and cultural imperialism. As a part of her PhD, she teaches a course on the "Anthropology of Food and Eating", which is the first of its kind in Slovakia. She also assisted on the courses "Introduction to Economic Anthropology" and "Ethnicity and Nationalism." 

Constanze von Hartmann

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) lives currently in Munich, Germany. She works as freelance filmmaker and video-journalist with a focus on food related topics. Besides her work for online-magazines and TV channels, Constanze produces high-quality image-films for food producers. In 2012 she started the Food & Film project, a video-platform for Europe's most outstanding food producers.  

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