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SOAS Food Studies Centre

Food Studies Alumni Profiles

Siti Aisyah binti Abd Wahid

(MA Anthropology of Food 2015, anticipated) is from Malaysia and previously studied culinary arts management from UiTM Malaysia after completing a diploma in culinary arts at the same university. She is currently working on her dissertation to complete her MA, exploring the tongue as a tool through the context of the Malay diaspora in London who adapt local produce into the recreation of Malay recipes. She is looking into possible internships and work in urban food sustainability projects and also business opportunities to reintroduce traditional Indonesian/Malay food, both inside and outside Malaysia. Prospective students from Malaysia are invited to contact her for insight on the course.

Helen Atkinson

(MA Anthropology of Food 2008) is currently a Principal Social Science Research Officer at the Food Standards Agency. Helen is also part of the Secretariat for the Social Science Research Committee (SSRC).

Francoise Auvray

(MA Anthropology of Food 2016, anticipated) is based in London and Normandy. She works as a self-employed cooking teacher for Concord Institute (a non-profit holistic health education organisation) in London while completing her MA. She loves sharing the simple skills of cooking and gives private sessions too. She is currently working on a recipe and information booklet and devising new material for her courses. Her area of interest for her dissertation is peasant food and cooking in Normandy (Calvados) in the 1930’s. She has also a specific interest in farm-made raw milk butter.

Doreen Joy Barber

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) lives in London, working with food and alcohol, particularly beer, in a variety of capacities. Doreen is the Marketing, Communications and Events Manager for The Five Points Brewing Company, a brewery based in Hackney creating stunning examples of excellent beer. She is also the main person organising the London Brewers' Market, an every-so-often event featuring London's brewers running stalls at Old Spitalfields Market and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter at @londondear.

Marcello Basini

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) lives in London and is the General Manager for Jumi Cheese Ltd. Jumi have been making cheeses in the Emmental Valley since 1896, carrying on the family tradition for five generations. Before studying at SOAS, Marcello worked as a Project Manager for Slow Food UK.

Jolien Benjamin

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) is the Healthy Schools Officer at Gallions Primary School in London. In this role, she develops and delivers food programs to educate pupils (aged 4-12) on how to cook and eat healthily, including 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.

Ghinwa Bhutto

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) lives in Karachi Pakistan. Her Master’s thesis was on the floods that ravaged Pakistan in 2010, a disaster that exposed the colonial philosophy behind the development of the Indus Basin and its lingering effects on the food security of the country. Alongside other farmers in the province of Sindh, she has begun planting old cultivars of wheat and rice, turning away from the more commonplace industrial hybrid seeds and working to cultivate local and organic produce. She continues her political activism and travels often around Pakistan speaking to dispossessed communities and working alongside them. Ghinwa is also keen gardener who has transformed her town garden into a vegetable patch that feeds a substantial community of neighbours and friends.

Jonathan Biderman

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) is living in the Boston area, looking for a way to combine food, design, and technology, and in his search has increasingly observed the anthropological perspective as particularly important in serving the needs of society while developing commercially viable systems, products, and solutions. He is interested in the start-up/entrepreneurial sector and values the blend of large academic, creative, craft, professional, and technological enterprises in the 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 completing a PhD at the University of Sheffield and the British Library on food policy and activism through oral histories. She has also used her research skills to contribute to work with the Soil Association and FoodTrade, as well as continuing to engage with work emerging from her MA dissertation on malnutrition and development in Guatemala. Putting her food knowledge and principles into practice, Lauren is currently in the process of co-founding and directing a new cafe/restaurant/bar in Bristol, La Latina.

Barley Blyton

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014) begins an ESRC funded PhD in autumn 2015 at Sheffield, where her focus is memory and food. Following the MA, Barley spent 3 months researching and writing in Venice before taking up the National Life Stories Goodison Fellowship at the The British Library. Together with Dr. Polly Russell she worked on a six month project called Food Matters which used food-related content from the library's oral archives to contribute to radio broadcasts, print journalism, and the beginnings of a book. Barley also conducts wine research for a private foundation.

Clare Bostock Wood

(MA Anthropology of Food 2015, anticipated) is in the second year of the part time MA programme and is currently working on her thesis. In the past year, she was enrolled in the Anthropology of Space, Place and Architecture as well as Famine and Food Security, both of which she enjoyed. Her thesis will examine house dining in an independent boarding school, focusing on commensality, manners, and etiquette as well as power relations.

Victoria Brown

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014) lives in London and works as the Office Manager and Personal Assistant to the Managing Director at Natoora. Natoora is a retailer and wholesaler of fine produce. They work directly with producers who prioritise flavour in their growing, bringing top quality fruit and vegetables to London’s top chefs, as well as home cooks. Victoria also writes a food blog, One Dish Closer, where she shares recipes, reviews and culinary travel experiences, as well as a little food anthropology. She has also written content for online and print newspapers and is a guest blogger for several sites, including Context Travel, where she works as a Docent leading gastronomic tours through London.

Tessa Byrne

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) currently works at Vauxhall City Farm as an education worker. She began there as a volunteer during her directed practical study and then continued in a permanent role after graduating. Her work includes taking children on farm tours and facilitating workshops which focus on the role of farms, growing food, and the development of outdoor play and nature exploration. She is currently looking into developing more food and growing related projects, particularly after working on an organic farm and a goat farm while WWOOFing in Argentina.

Diarmuid Cawley

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) lives in Dublin and works as a full-time Assistant Lecturer at the School of Culinary Arts and Food Studies in the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Aside from practical culinary modules, his primary subject is Wine Studies, where students learn all theoretical facets of oenology as well as practicing sommelier skills and learning to taste wine professionally. Through his studies and research at SOAS, he has enriched his wine courses with issues relating to social constructions around authenticity, as well as other ideological and political agendas across the entire food and wine spectrum. He set up and runs the DIT Food Forum Facebook page on behalf of the school, an online platform for topical food articles and debate. Diarmuid will begin a PhD in Culinary Arts in September, a unique programme from DIT whereby a sizeable cohort of staff will begin PhD research under this structured banner while conducting individual research topics. He is interested in political decisions that have shaped the way society approach their diet today as well as trends and movements which define food versus nutrition.

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 a Research and Special Projects Manager with Institute for the Future’s Food Futures Lab. Based in an area known for technology-driven innovation, Rebecca focuses on the human side of change. She connects local grassroots organizations, entrepreneurs, academics, chefs, and large food companies with research and resources to help them think creatively about the future of food—and ensure the decisions we make today consider long-term implications. 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.

Natacha Chevalier

(Associate Student, Anthropology of Food 2015) is currently finishing her thesis on the impact of the Second World War on the food practices of the British population, with a special focus on middle-classes. She works essentially on material from Mass Observation Archives, wartime diaries in particular. She is interested in tangible changes, such as the daily management of the family meals while facing food shortage and rationing, but also the perception of the wartime food situation by those affected by it and the factors influencing these habits and perceptions. Her research was primarily related to the war as engine of change, but realized that food was the essence of her thesis, and thus began to explore the world of food studies. In doing so, she opened the door to new interests and research perspectives and she hopes to work on more contemporary food issues using her background in history and sociology, as well as the knowledge she acquired in food studies.

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 Colebrooke

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) is a President's Scholar in the School of Planning and Geography (CPLAN) at Cardiff University, and will submit her thesis in December 2015. Her research uses sensory ethnography to study lived experiences of food poverty in Bristol (UK). Laura's research contributes to cultural geographies of visceral food relations, using innovative collaborative methods to interrupt and supplement public and scientific discourses around what it means to eat 'sensibly'. Laura co-convenes the food studies group at CPLAN, has been part of the organising committee of the Spaces of Attunement Symposium and presented her research at several international conferences. Before beginning her PhD, Laura worked for a number of organic and community food projects in the UK.

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 is starting a part-time PhD at SOAS in September 2015, 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.

Elena Costantino

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) works at the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci of Milan. For the past two years she has been involved in the design of two food-related exhibitions. One is a new permanent exposition of the museum that explores the role of science and technology in the food system. The exhibit focuses on the main innovations that have changed the way we produce, process, and prepare food, and also includes future scenarios. The second is a temporary exhibit for the Universal Exposition hosted in Milan in 2015, EXPO2015. This exhibit explores the role of Italy’s food industry in addressing the challenges of feeding the world. Elena’s expertise on the social and cultural dimension of food innovations contributed to both projects, underlining the relationships between innovation and people, practice and knowledge.

Holly Creighton-Hird

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) is the Campaigns Coordinator at Farms Not Factories, a nonprofit organisation working to expose the true costs of meat from animal factories. She is also a Trainee in production and distribution at Organiclea, an organic food growing cooperative in London, and works on food and access to land with the Food Sovereignty Movement UK.

Alessandro d'Ansembourg

(completed BA Anthropology of Food module 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.

Mukta Das

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) is pursuing her PhD in Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS. She has a particular interest in food politics and culture in Asia-Pacific and also works as an independent food researcher. Previously, she worked as a Transparency and Accountability Project Manager at ActionAid, a Research Associate at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, to evaluate Walmart’s ‘Empowering Women Together’ initiative, and as a Project Research Associate at the University of Sheffield on a project on the oral history of Neal's Yard Dairy. She has also worked in the past for Amnesty International and other NGOs.

Federico de Musso

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) is a PhD student in Anthropology at McGill University where he is researching issues in the patrimonialisation of food in Southern Europe. He is part of the CORES LAB research group on sustainable economy and social networks. Combining food studies and his interest in film making, photography and sound, Federico is involved with a variety of film and interactive media projects. 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) is a chef educator and freelance food writer. She currently teaches school and community food workshops at the Huntington Library and Botannical Gardens in Pasadena, California where she shares her love of food history, seasonal cooking, and urban gardening with the local community. Previously, she has worked as pie master at Mother Moo Creamery, 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.

Bee Farrell

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013-2015) is a foodways consultant, researcher and curator. In 2014 she founded Anciens Foodways and Anciens c.i.c (www.anciensfoodways.co) enabling her to work with a range of professions and groups. Her work focuses on supporting traditional food and farming skills, local food production/consumption, and urban food systems within architectural masterplanning. She believes that sustainable foodways knowledge and short food chain re-integration are vital for a sustainable, secure, and healthy food future.

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.

Shrinagar “Indra” Francis

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) conducts independent research on heritage foods and slave crops in addition to her private-sector work. In the past, she was part of an archeological team who had the amazing experience of unearthing the human and material culture remains of the First People, the British, and many others who lived, invaded, or conquered the island. She has also worked in the Applied Research Unit for the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development for Trinidad and Tobago as well as the Americas Competitiveness Forum (RIAC). In these various roles she has observed with interest how communal eating, or lack thereof, impacts the overall office environment and work culture.

Olissa Francisco

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) Olissa Francisco manages The Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. In the heart of London, the not-for-profit cafe and events space caters to poetry, spoken word, book launches, workshops, music, and private functions. Previously she worked as an account executive for a small PR company in California which markets and represents international niche food and wine companies and products. Her interests include food as medicine, GMOs, food justice, and alternative food networks.

Clare Gilbert

(MA Anthropology of Food 2016, anticipated) is pursuing her MA at SOAS. Her research interests include meat production and consumption, short food chains, and community food systems. She is currently working part-time at Sustain on the Urban Food Fortnight project, as part of Capital Growth's Growing Enterprise support, and has a keen professional interest in artisanal food production in London.

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 a MA at SOAS with a dissertation about East African Asian food practices, she began a PhD in Anthropology at SOAS in autumn 2013.

James Gott

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) is pursuing a PhD at the University of Southampton. His research is investigating aquaponics as an urban farming solution using the theoretical resources of Science and Technology Studies (STS).

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.

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.

Caspar Harvey

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) works for a small educational NGO in Addis Adaba, Ethopia. Having gained experience in various food-related enterprises in London, from a Swiss cheese producer to setting up a small catering business, he now is the Programme Director for The Ethiopian Education Foundation. The organization identifies very poor but very bright students from across Ethiopia and provides them with scholarships to private schools in Ethiopia, with continuing support for their higher education, as well as coordinating scholarship opportunities to international universities. He is also currently looking into setting up a small ecotourism venture in his spare time and would love for anyone visiting East Africa to get in touch!

Shan He

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) works in Beijing as a food writer and market coordinator for qdaily.com, a 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 conventional stage. The group has produced several site-specific performance, the food related one includes: "The Moments When We Chat" in a cafe during Beijing One Art Festival and a restaurant-based project "Gazed" which discussed culinary tourism in 2nd Wuzhen Theatre Festival.

Belinda Hill

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014) divides her time between Henley on Thames where she is writing cookery books based on the courses that she previously taught in her cookery school, and Scotland where she is involved in producing quality lamb, beef and venison meats on the West Coast. She remains a passionate cook and is interested in the potentials of food and the cooking of food to create shared experience and to forge bonds across divides and borders.

Annabel Jackson

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014) the author of 12 books, including six cookbooks. Her latest, The Yunnan Cookbook, was published in August 2014. She's currently working as a freelance food and wine writer, a part-time university lecturer (Wine Marketing), and is consulting to a high-end Italian food and wine expo in London. She moved to the UK two years ago 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.

Rachel Karasik

(MA Anthropology of Food 2015, anticipated) lives in London. In 2012, she founded the popup restaurant The Bream Team, which specializes in cooking interesting food in equally interesting spaces, having run dinners in every manner of space from a former car garage to a polytunnel, rooftop and the clock tower of St Pancras. The popup has also catered events for clients including Google, Pernod and Delia Smith. In 2015, she was part of Dan Doherty's Chefs of Tomorrow programme, highlighting young cooking talent in Britain. Previously, she worked at FutureGov in a variety of roles, including community manager of Casserole -- a community project to match those cooking with those who struggle to cook for themselves. Her current interest lies in collaborating across disciplines, using food as a conduit for social interactions, ideas and experiences. Past collaborations have included The Intimacy Lab as part of Hack the Barbican and Bitter/Sweet Frequencies sound/architecture dinner with Sto Werkstatt.

Chi-Hoon Kim

(MA Anthropology of Food 2009) is currently based in New York City and completing her Ph.D. dissertation on Korean gastro-diplomacy at Indiana University. To increase public engagement with food issues, she has spearheaded research and outreach for Korea Broadcasting System's television documentary series on global culinary culture and recently joined the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) team in NYC. Her research interests include in-flight experience of national cuisines, production of plastic food models, and globalization of kimchi.

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: eleonoorak.

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.

Megan Larmer

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014) is the Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives at Slow Food USA and most recently has been working on the Slow Meat campaign. Megan joined Slow Food USA in 2013 as Manager of Biodiversity Programs, before assuming her current role in 2014. Previously, she managed the Logan Square Farmers Market, one of the largest and most respected markets in the Midwest. She continues her research in association with the SOAS Food Studies Center and the Food and Heritage Research Network. She is a founding board member of the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project and during a decade spent as a restaurant professional, she roasted coffee on the side of a volcano, baked pies, poured wine older than her parents, planted radishes on rooftops, and much more.

Robert Lawton

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014) works as a Development Chef for Greencore Group, based in Northamptonshire, England. His work centres on developing foods -- mainly from global cuisines, for the European market. His MA dissertation was entitled “No Flesh, No Gods; atheist-vegetarian worldviews, and the hegemony of meat.” In addition, he has begun efforts to publish anthropological perspectives on the subject of taste appropriation ‘as power’ within the New Product Development sector, and the FMCG market. Robert also pursues his interest of coooking through national culinary competitions.

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.

Catherine (McPherson) LeBlanc

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) is the Assistant to the Director of the Secretariat for the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. In addition, she works for Context Travel, leading food and gastronomy tours through London. She is currently working to develop a tour to highlight the rich cultural and social history of brewing in London, building off the fieldwork and research she conducted as part of the MA programme, as well as the knowledge she’s gained from working in American craft beer bars and breweries. She also hopes to create a countryside walk to highlight local beer, wine, and food producers in Surrey Hills and the surrounding areas.

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.

Sofia Myrholm McCleallan

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) lives in Stockholm, Sweden, where she works for a company called Provins. Provins is a social entrepreneurship that uses catering as a tool to counteract economic and social exclusion among immigrant women by giving them an opportunity 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 team leader and creative developer. This involves areas such as menu development based on a range of different food cultures, the implementation of ethical and organic food practices as well as logistics management. Sofia is also a board member of FIAN Sweden (Foodfirst Information and Action Network), an international human rights organisation that advocates and campaigns for the right to adequate food and food sovereignty.

Sushila Moles

(MA Anthropology of Food 2010) has used her food knowledge and contacts to take the River Cottage HQ country fetes and create a fantastic Food Fair featuring chefs, master classes, and foodie debates. She has started a business with her partner James selling billy goat meat (which would be a wasted by-product of the dairy industry) into restaurants and they are soon to launch into supermarkets. She also has her own goats (7 at present), grows vegetables, and is starting to make cheese (a long-standing ambition) from her own goats’ milk. She lives in Devon and recently had a baby.

Seamus Murphy

(completed Anthropology of Food module 2010) completed doctoral research at SOAS, examining impact of policy shifts, market development, and social change among the fishing, farming, and trading communities of Lake Chilwa, Southern Malawi. He is now working on two projects; as post-doc research officer on the SEEDZ project at IDS, University of Sussex, investigating policy debates around zoonoses and livestock modernisation in Tanzania, and as research associate on the WATBIO project with the University of Crete, examining debates over biomass production on marginal lands in the UK, Germany, and Greece.

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.

Lucy Nacson-Jones

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014) lives in London and is interested in urban agriculture and education. During her masters, she began an apprenticeship at the Castle Garden to improve her food growing skills and learn about running and operating a community garden. She has since completed a Level 2 in Organic Horticulture at the food growing cooperative Organiclea and is now working with primary school children, teaching gardening, cooking and more widely, outdoor education. Following her dissertation about eating insects, she is also working on projects with children that promote diverse eating practices through foraging.

Anne-Sophie Noten

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) lives in Amsterdam and is Product Manager at Moyee Coffee, the world’s first fairchain coffee company. Previously, she worked as an International Product Management Manager at Alpro, an international plant-based food company headquartered in Belgium, where she collaborated with strategic marketing to develop business plans and concepts for new product developments and product improvements (e.g. sugar reduction). Anne-Sophie wrote her dissertation on Western attitudes towards sugar, sweetness and health and 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.

Giacomo Pelizza

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) returned to London in January 2015 to assist in the opening of The Italian Job, the UK's first Italian craft beer pub. Since then Giacomo has been comanaging the pub as well as exploring opportunities to distribute their beers to other pubs. In addition to Italian-only craft beers, The Italian Job also serves food, including burgers and tapas with an Italin twist. Previously, Giacomo worked in Italy at Birrificio Italiano, the first craft microbrewery in the Lombardy region.

Catherine Peters

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) is a Communications Specialist with the Feed the Future Knowledge-Driven Agricultural Development (KDAD) Project, a USAID contract. Previously, Catie worked as Director of Communications and Outreach for Sprout Pencil. Since graduating from SOAS, Catie has consulted on several agricultural projects. Her dissertation, entitled "The Two Locals: Food, Agri(culture), and Identity in Central Wisconsin" was recently published in the Graduate Journal of Food Studies. She will be beginning her PhD in American Studies at Harvard University in the fall of 2015.

Rachel Pinnock

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014) 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.

Celia Plender

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) is conducting doctoral research in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS. Her research focuses on the social dynamics and transformative potential of consumer food co-ops in the UK. Celia also continues to work as a freelance food writer for Time Out and other publications. She recently won the 2015 Yan-kit So Memorial Award For Food Writers on Asia and will be using the award to travel to Japan in 2016 to research her first cookbook.

Phyllis Ressler

(MA Anthropology of Food 2007) lives in Harrisburg, Virginia where her research, writing and teaching in Cultural Anthropology focuses on textiles, foods and culture, media communications, and cross-cultural perspectives. Phyllis teaches Human Geography with a food agriculture focus at James Madison University University, and has participated in planning for a food minor for the university. In addition, she also teaches at Eastern Mennonite University and Webster University (Geneva, Switzerland campus) where her classes have included Anthropology of Food courses as well as others that incorporate food issues such as food and memory as a way to explore Refugee and Population Movement issues. In 2014, Phyllis published Kanga Stories, a book which was produced for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2014. Phyllis is also Founding Member of The Konterra Group, and she has worked with various UN agencies, NGOs, and research institutions, including the International Food Policy Research Institute’s RENEWAL project on HIV and food security.

Francis Roberts

(MA Anthropology of Food 2012) works as the Nutrition Policy & Advocacy Adviser for Save the Children UK. Prior to this role, he served as Coordinator for The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. The Global Panel is an independent group of influential experts with a commitment to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security and is housed within the London International Development Centre. Francis has also held internships with Slow Food USA and Oxfam.

Martina Schliessler

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) is currently completing a second M.A. in Applied Anthropology and Community Development at Goldsmiths College, using the theoretical insights gained from Anthropology of Food whilst working with community gardens. She is also involved in the Community Food Grower's Network, a grass-roots 'group of groups' supporting and networking those who are growing around London.

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.

Trishna Shah

(MA Anthropology of Food 2014) is the Healthy Eating Project Coordinator at the Shoreditch Trust -- a charity that supports local Hackney residents to access essential food skills. Trishna is also a trained chef, and has worked in the restaurant industry-- as well as for Made in Hackney, a local food kitchen-- as a Cookery Course Host and Project Assistant.

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.

Lise Thollier

(MA Anthropology of Food 2015, anticipated) is finishing her Master’s degree. She is also one of the founders of Morningside Community Café, a community kitchen aimed at promoting community, food sustainability, and healthy eating while celebrating food heritage. The menu changes daily, offering healthy meals and snacks created by a group of wonderful international migrant chefs, with the help of local residents.

David Thomson

(MA Anthropology of Food 2016, anticipated) lives in London and runs a concept lead catering company while pursuing his degree part time. Begining with a market stall, David has been exploring food issues both inside and outside of the kitchen, from pop ups and school dinners to food history and policy. He hopes to use the second year of the MA program to develop a better understanding of how both theory and practice can contribute to the experience and enjoyment of food, particularly in relation to health. He also writes his own food blog, cyberdave.

Keelin Tobin

(MA Anthropology of Food 2013) is based in Cork, Ireland. Keelin is now doing a Masters by research, focusing on Ballymaloe Cookery School, its business model and local impact. She also works as a chef in a cooperative vegetarian restaurant. After completing her MA at SOAS, Keelin worked towards a certificate in professional cookery. In tandem with this, she worked as a commis chef in a four star hotel. She spent a summer season working as a chalet chef in the French Alps. 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 lives in London and works for a new environmental charity, Hubbub, on a plethora of sustainable living projects across their food, fashion, home, neighbourhood, and sports hubs. The majority of her time is spent on their food and food waste campaigns (she has less to contribute to sport). She also supports the Food Systems Academy’s communications and runs sessions for Eat-Club, a London based social enterprise helping young people to cook. Previously she has worked for the Sustainable Food Trust in Bristol, for Seedling Projects in San Francisco where she helped co-ordinate the Good Food Awards and Good Food Merchant’s Guild, and the Ethicurean restaurant in Somerset.

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.

Ian Wilkey

(MA Anthropology of Food 2011) works in the contemporary art world for an artist involved in public and private exhibitions. Ian is also involved in urban/periurban gardening initiatives through the organisation Food up Front. Ian splits his time between London and the Isle of Mull in the Hebrides.

Chenjia Xu

(completed MA Food module 2010) holds a Master Degree in Development Studies and is completing a research degree in sociology and anthropology at SOAS. Her major research interests include food and foodways. The PhD projects looks at the sensory and social experiences among Chinese foodies who are largely young middle-class urban residents. She has also conducted researches on dairy consumption and production in China and on the regulatory capacity of Chinese state.

Kathleen Yung

(MA Anthropology of Food) works as a research consultant at The Firelight Group, a research cooperative in Canada providing community-based research and technical support services for First Nations and other indigenous communities across Canada and beyond. In her work, she is able to apply social science and anthropology methods she acquired during her time at SOAS to complement her professional experience ranging from food security to working with indigenous communities on traditional land-use priorities and concerns. Kathleen works with First Nations clients to complete traditional knowledge and use studies, as well as socio-economic studies. Her work is still strongly aligned with assessing the social, cultural, ecological, and economic impacts resource extractive industries have on indigenous communities. Through the documentation of traditional knowledge, the studies Kathleen are involved in, help articulate indigenous and local knowledge in ways that make a difference in the environmental assessment process and to strengthen the communities internal capacities.

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