The Julia Child Award



​6​th annual award presented in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

(WASHINGTON, D.C, JUNE 14, 2020): Today, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts announced world-renowned researcher, activist, and food system expert Danielle Nierenberg as the recipient of the sixth annual Julia Child Award. Nierenberg will receive the Award at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. during a special ceremony that will kick off the sixth annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend October 15–17, 2020. The Award is accompanied by a $50,000 grant from the Foundation.

“During her many years as a global leader steering the conversation—and action—in food systems, Danielle has demonstrated a commitment to helping make the way we eat, cook and shop for food as sustainable and equitable as possible,” said Eric W. Spivey, Chairman of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. “While the jury selected Danielle before the pandemic, she is uniquely qualified to be the Julia Child Award honoree in 2020, as the importance of her work has never been more clear or needed.”

Nierenberg is being recognized for her work as a global thought leader on a mission to build a more equitable food system and as a champion for underrepresented voices in the industry. Through field visits to more than 70 countries worldwide and across hundreds of events and Food Tank’s journalism she has worked with tens of thousands of farmers, policymakers, academics, scientists, and government officials to highlight and amplify innovative on-the-ground solutions to food and agriculture issues.

Nierenberg is the co-founder of the global convener and research organization, Food Tank, a research and advocacy nonprofit, which brings together a diverse group of thinkers and doers to engage in dialogue and form solutions to problems, including food access and affordability, as well as challenge equity issues like racism, sexism, and classism. Food Tank Summits have hosted hundreds of influential speakers before sold-out audiences across the U.S. and internationally. The Summits are regarded as some of the most important forums that bring together all sides of the food world for critical discussion.

Nierenberg plans to use a portion of the Award grant to create a year-long Food Tank food justice paid fellowship. This role will include helping Food Tank research and cover issues around equity and justice in the food system. Food Tank will also launch a multi-city series of Food Tank Food Talk Live events in partnership with the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. The new series will debut in Washington, D.C. in October as part of the Smithsonian Food History Weekend and continue into 2021 in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and more. More specific dates, times, venues and themes will be announced.

“I am thrilled to be the recipient of this award and, in a small way, continue the legacy of one of the most revolutionary women in the food world, Julia Child,” said Danielle Nierenberg, President and co-founder of Food Tank. “It’s an honor for me and Food Tank to use the Foundation’s platform to highlight stories of hope and success in the food system and amplify the work of so many organizations and individuals who are working to make the food system more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable—and also delicious and healthy.”

Created by Julia Child, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts is one of the leading grant-giving private foundations solely dedicated to supporting the field of gastronomy and the culinary arts. The Foundation established the Julia Child Award in 2015 to foster Julia’s legacy, while also honoring an individual (or team) who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks.

Each year the Award recipient is selected by a group of esteemed jurors hailing from a wide range of culinary backgrounds. This year’s jury includes Carla Hall, a chef and cookbook author, formerly a co-host of ABC’s Emmy award-winning series “The Chew,” and competitor on “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: All-Stars;” chair Jim Dodge, award-winning cookbook author, pastry chef and former Director of Specialty Culinary Programs for Bon Appétit Management Company; Stephan Pyles, a chef and founding father of new southwestern cuisine and modern Texas cuisine; Andrew Smith, food studies instructor at the New School in New York City and the author, or editor, of more than thirty-two books, soon to be thirty-three this fall; and Tina Ujlaki, the longtime Executive Food Editor at Food & Wine, who is currently a freelance consultant, editor, recipe tester and developer. The Award is overseen by Award Director Tanya Wenman Steel, journalist, author, conceiver of the Kids’ State Dinner at the White House, and former Executive Director of IACP and Editorial Director of Epicurious. For more information on the jury go to

To date, Julia Child Award grants have contributed $300,000 to culinary non-profits and non-profit projects. Previous Award recipients include José Andrés, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Danny Meyer, Rick Bayless, and Jacques Pépin.

The Foundation works to support the culinary industry year-round. As part of its commitment to helping the restaurant industry bounce back from COVID-19, in April the Foundation made an additional $50,000 grant in support of World Central Kitchen’s #ChefsforAmerica program, which is mobilizing restaurants to provide fresh, nutritious meals for communities in need. The program is spearheaded by past Award recipient José Andrés.

This follows a $50,000 grant to World Central Kitchen last year in recognition of José Andrés’ selection as the 2019 Julia Child Award recipient. The Foundation also granted $25,000 to SBACT’s Community Food Collaborative, a similar program, in Santa Barbara, California, the Foundation’s home town.

To learn more about the Foundation and its work, visit To learn more about the Julia Child Award, including past recipients, visit Information about the Smithsonian’s sixth annual Food History Weekend can be found at


About The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts

The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts was created by Julia in 1995 and became operational in 2004. Its mission is to honor and further Julia’s legacy, which centers on the importance of understanding where food comes from, what makes for good food, and the value of cooking. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, the Foundation is a non-profit which makes grants to support research in culinary history, scholarships for professional culinary training, food writing and media as well as professional development and food literacy programs. Over the last decade, the Foundation has made more than $2 million in grants to other non-profits. For more information, visit:

About Danielle Nierenberg

Danielle Nierenberg is a world-renowned researcher, speaker, and advocate, on all issues relating to our food system and agriculture. In 2013, Danielle Nierenberg co-founded Food Tank, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. Food Tank is a global convener, research organization, and non-biased creator of original research impacting the food system. Danielle also conducts extensive on-the-ground research, traveling to more than 70 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. She has met with thousands of farmers and farmers’ groups, scientists and researchers, policymakers and government leaders, students and academics, as well as journalists, documenting what’s working to help alleviate hunger and poverty while protecting the environment. Danielle’s knowledge of global agriculture issues has been cited widely in more than 20,000 major print and broadcast outlets worldwide, and she speaks at more than 100 events per year, including major conferences and events all over the world.

About Food History at the National Museum of American History

Through research, programs, and collections, the Smithsonian Food History project at the National Museum of American History welcomes everyone to participate in exploring the history and ongoing significance of food cultures in the United States. By engaging in activities and conversations about food history, Museum visitors will gain a greater understanding of the roles they play, individually and collectively, in shaping the future of food production, distribution, and consumption. In addition to its foundational exhibition, FOOD: Transforming the American Table, the Museum has developed a diverse menu of programs and demonstrations that bring visitors together for relevant discussions that start with history and expand to the present and future of American food. These activities include free daytime programs, including “Cooking Up History,” for millions of museum visitors each year, and the annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend. As the home of Julia Child’s kitchen, the National Museum of American History is committed to examining the impact of food, drink and agriculture on American history. Join us around the table and learn more at All Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. For more information, visit