Meet the inaugural IACP Conference Scholarship recipients! In honor of our 40th anniversary this year, we awarded 15 scholarships to emerging and mid-career professionals under the age of 40. Our recipients include writers, chefs, photographers, dietitians, bloggers, editors, recipe developers, and more. They hail from all around the world, from Alaska to Michigan to Sri Lanka. Each brings a unique and compelling perspective to their work and is engaged in projects we think will make an impact on our industry. We’re honored to have them join us at conference. If you’re planning to attend 2018 IACP Conference, make sure to reach out and say hello. You can find them in the IACP member directory.

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Vidya Balachander | Colombo, Sri Lanka

Vidya Balachander is an Indian food and travel journalist, based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Formerly the features editor of BBC Good Food’s Indian edition, published in Mumbai, her writing has appeared in publications such as Saveur, CNN’s Parts Unknown, NPR’s The Salt, Roads & Kingdoms, National Geographic Traveller and others. Her food writing explores the intersection of food, culture and anthropology — and uses food as a lens to understand politics, nationhood, communities and identity.

Instagram | Twitter

Abra Berens | Galien, MI

Abra Berens strives to make simple, delicious food that celebrates the Midwest. She believes that the meals we eat should change with the seasons and that their ingredients should come from nearby. She has been cooking since 2006 from the storied Zingerman’s Deli to chef driven restaurants in Chicago and London. In 2017, she left her position as Executive Chef at Local Foods to join the Granor team. As the chef at Granor Farm, Abra combines her love of Michigan, cooking vegetables just-pulled from the ground, and sharing them with others around one big table.

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Jackie Bryant | San Diego, CA

Jackie Bryant is a freelance writer based in San Diego. She started writing around two years ago after escaping a near-decade working in finance. Her favorite writing is the kind that focuses on the intersection of food, culture and politics and she has a special love for wine, spirits, Latin America and Catalonia. Aside from being one of the regular contributors for Eater San Diego, she has been published in/at Afar, Roads & Kingdoms, Civil Eats, Mic, New Worlder, Munchies, American Way, KCET Los Angeles, Edible San Diego, San Diego Magazine and Life & Thyme, among others.

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Jenn de la Vega | Brooklyn, NY

Jenn de la Vega went from picky eater to wide-eyed culinary autodidact who buries herself in archaic cookbooks and food science lab reports. On her menus, you’ll find a mash-up of her Filipino-American heritage, Spanish tapas, and 90’s inspired fast-food cuisine. She is mostly known for her Randwiches or “random sandwiches” in Brooklyn, where clients are given no choice in what they order. Jenn is editor-at-large of Put A Egg On It: Tasty Zine!, author of Showdown: Comfort Food, Chili & BBQ and the chef behind Randwiches, an award-winning blog, and catering service. She has appeared on Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network and ChefShock with Justin Warner on Twitch.
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Jenny Dorsey | New York, NY

Jenny is a professional chef and artist based in NYC. She specializes in fusing culinary arts with social concepts and emerging technology, especially AR/VR. She runs an experimental popup series named Wednesdays and is starting a culinary production studio named Studio ATAO. Her work can be found in publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Business Insider, Thrillist and Bustle as well as on Food Network and Oxygen TV.

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Aaron Hutcherson | New York, NY

Aaron Hutcherson left the world of finance to pursue a full time career in food. He graduated from The French Culinary Institute in 2012 and since then has worked in a variety of areas throughout the food world, including professional kitchens, restaurant offices, television, websites, and magazines. Currently, he is an editor and social media manager for the MICHELIN Guide website; he also maintains a recipe blog, The Hungry Hutch, and does freelance writing and recipe development in his spare time.
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Reem Kassis | Philadelphia, PA

Reem Kassis was born in Jerusalem to a  Palestinian family revered for its cooks. Growing up, she spent days in her grandmothers’, mother’s, and aunts’ kitchens observing and soaking up everything there was to know about Palestinian cooking. A graduate of The Wharton School and the LSE, Reem is a social psychologist and business consultant by training. At heart, however, she is a cook and a writer. Today she is using the power of food, family, and storytelling to preserve the rich culinary traditions of Palestinians and share them with the world. She currently resides in Philadelphia with her husband and two daughters. Her first book The Palestinian Table was named one of NPR’s best books of 2017 and has been featured in numerous outlets including The New York Times, New York Magazine, Saveur, food52, Travel + Lesiure, and HuffPost.

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Celeste Noche | Portland, OR

Celeste Noche is a Filipino American food, travel, and portrait photographer (and sometimes writer) based between Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California. Through her work, she is an advocate for diversity and inclusivity, seeking to share stories of underrepresented communities. Her work has appeared on BBC, Food52, and CivilEats, among others.
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Rachel Rappaport | Baltimore, MD

Rachel Rappaport started her popular and award-winning recipe blog Coconut & Lime in the dark ages–2004– and has been active in the food industry ever since. She is also the author of several cookbooks and develops recipes for corporate clients regularly. Rachel lives in her beloved hometown of Baltimore, Md with her husband and two small dogs.

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Morgan Stewart | Buffalo, NY

Morgan is about to assume her first chef position at the vegetable-focused Merge in Buffalo, NY. When not at the restaurant, she’s busy developing vegan cheese recipes, eating too much actual cheese, and thumbing through cookbooks (Alison Roman’s is her current favorite). Her culinary escapades can be followed on Instagram @morganraaae.

Jessica Stugelmayer | Anchorage, AK

Jessica Stugelmayer is the senior digital content editor at Edible Alaska and a producer for the Women on Deadline podcast. A multimedia journalist and editor based in Anchorage, she is a co-creator of the “Harvesting Alaska” series, a 2017 James Beard Foundation award-winning TV segment. Stugelmayer has also been a restaurant critic, a marketing copywriter, a drive-time radio news anchor and a general assignment reporter. In her free time, she enjoys getting lost in the woods, experimenting in the kitchen and attempting to sample every kind of gin ever made.

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Dora Stone | San Antonio, TX

Dora Stone is the founder, recipe developer, and photographer at Dora’s Table and Mi Mero Mole (Spanish), a vegan Mexican recipe blog. Born and raised in Mexico and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she adopted a vegan diet to take control of her health. She is passionate about sharing the benefits of living a vegan lifestyle, while preserving the beauty and richness of the different regional cuisines of Mexico and what they represent. She is also the self-published author of Vegan Tamales Unwrapped: A step by step guide to savory and sweet tamales.

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Rachel Sugar | Brooklyn, NY

Rachel Sugar is a freelance food and culture writer in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in TASTE, Grub Street, Bon Appétit, Fortune, and Racked, among others.

Twitter | Website

Mary Alice Shreve | Atlanta, GA

Registered Dietitian Mary Alice Shreve specializes in promoting well-balanced, wholesome meals, as well as the importance of consuming fresh, local ingredients. Mary Alice holds her Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from The University of Alabama where she completed the Coordinated Program in Dietetics and is currently pursuing her Master of Health Science with a focus in Nutrition at Georgia State University in Atlanta.


Naomi Tomky | Seattle, WA 

Naomi Tomky is the world’s most enthusiastic eater of everything. She writes about food, travel, and her hometown of Seattle for publications including Saveur, Vogue, The Kitchn, CNN and many more. She has contributed to multiple books including Fodor’s Seattle and Lucky Peach’s All About EggsShe won the Association of Food Journalist’s 2016 “Best Food and Travel Writing” award and was included in Best Food Writing 2017. Find more from Naomi:, @gastrognome on Twitter, or @the_gastrognome on Instagram.

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