After working for decades to bring people of color into the culinary arts, Alex Askew is transforming his culinary pedigree and expansive professional network into a social change project with a spiritual side. Mindful Eating for the Beloved Community was created by Chef Askew and a diverse group of 13 chefs, nutritionists, and food activists ready to rebuild the connections among diet, culture, faith, the environment, and community well-being, with a focus on the deep relationships among mindful eating, social justice, and sustainability. Chef Askew’s path to this work began at age 14 when he accepted an offer to work as a personal chef. He later enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, where he ran up against a cultural barrier: He and his fellow African-American students did not feel welcome in the institution. Right there, the seeds for his first collaboration were planted.
Upon graduating in 1989, Chef Askew built his career in food research, development, and consulting. He investigated and mastered different cooking styles as well as cuisines, including Cajun and Creole, holistic, Latin, and American fusion. In 1993, Chef Askew cofounded BCAGlobal to build a professional support system for young students of color and women seeking culinary and hospitality industry careers. He is a 2001 Doctorate of Foodservice recipient from the North American Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers, a Distinguished Visiting Chef for Sullivan University, the 2011 Business Leader of the Year from the Marcella Brown Foundation, and recipient of a 2012 New York Institute of Technology Global Leadership Award. Chef Askew also serves on the board of the American Culinary Federation and is a member of their newly formed Certification and Accreditation Commission.