Food History Weekend 2015

Food History Weekend 2015 logo and chef cooking

2015: Innovation on Your Plate

The Gala | The Roundtables | Dine Out | The Festival | After Hours

On October 22-24 2015, for the inaugural Smithsonian Food History Weekend, we examined America’s rich history of innovation. What did “innovation” mean historically in terms of food production and preparation? And what does it mean in today’s food world? The Weekend featured three distinct but interconnected days of events for a wide range of food audiences and multiple conversations around the theme of Innovation on Your Plate.




Jacques Pepin at the Gala

The Smithsonian Food History Gala 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Gala, a fundraiser evening for the Smithsonian Food History programs, featured inspiring entertainment and extraordinary food and wine. The highlight of the evening was the inaugural presentation of the Julia Child Award by the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. Participants and featured guests at the Gala included:

  • Jacques Pépin, the first-ever recipient of the Julia Child Award
  • Daniel Boulud, creator of the Gala's three-course menu and presenter of the inaugural Julia Child Award
  • Alton Brown, master of ceremonies
  • Marcus Samuelsson, featured speaker
  • Sara Moulton, featured speaker
  • Derek Brown, creator of the Gala's signature cocktail 


Discussion with five participants

The Smithsonian Food History Roundtables 2015
Friday, October 23, 2015

Leading researchers, practitioners, and thinkers joined us for a day of free roundtable discussions to address big issues around food and innovation in America via talks, discussions, and presentations throughout the day. All sessions were held at in the Warner Bros. Theater at the National Museum of American History. The schedule and participants for the 2015 Roundtables included:

SESSION 1- Innovation and Food: Beyond What's New

What does “innovation” mean in American food history and in today’s food culture?

  • Andrew F. Smith, food historian and author
  • Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, USDA
  • J. Kenji López-Alt, managing culinary director, Serious Eats
  • Paula Johnson, curator, National Museum of American History

SESSION 2- Growing Innovations

What are the driving forces behind innovations in American agriculture and food production? 

  • David Mas Masumoto, Masumoto Family Farm
  • Nikiko Masumoto, Masumoto Family Farm
  • Kathleen Merigan, executive director, Sustainability at George Washington University
  • Malik Yakini, founder and executive director, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
  • Zach Hunnicutt, farmer, Hunnicutt Farms and DWH Inc.
  • Peter Liebhold, curator, National Museum of American History

SESSION 3- Innovation and the Business of Food

What role does innovation play in creating and sustaining food-related business? 

  • Seth Goldman, co-founder, Honest Tea 
  • Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, founder and CEO, Hot Bread Kitchen
  • Dorothy Neagle, co-founder, Good Food Jobs
  • Kathleen Franz, curator, National Museum of American History

SESSION 4- Innovation on the Plate

What stimulates innovation in the kitchen, both historically and today?

  • Darra Goldstein, founding editor, Gastronomica
  • Judith Dern, senior communications manager,
  • Jessica B. Harris, culinary historian and author
  • Mariano Ramos, culinary arts instructor, Carlos Rosario International School
  • Rayna Green, curator emerita, National Museum of American History


Chocolate cake close-up

Dine Out for Smithsonian Food History 2015 
Friday, October 23, 2015

A fundraiser for the Smithsonian Food History programs, on Friday evening restaurants in the Neighborhood Restaurant Group featured a special dish on their menus inspired by Julia Child and the legacy she left on American eating and cooking. 

Participating Restaurants:

  • Birch & Barley, 1337 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
  • Iron Gate, 1734 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Vermilion, 1120 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314
  • The Partisan, 709 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004
  • Evening Star Café, 2000 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

Neighborhood Restaurant Group is an award winning collection of independent and idiosyncratic business devoted to the culinary arts in Washington, DC and Virginia.


Pati Jinich demonstration in front of a large crowd

The Smithsonian Food History Festival 2015 
Saturday, October 24, 2015

The festival presented a full day of free activities for visitors of all ages designed to spark conversations about the past, present, and future of food innovations in America. See below for the full schedule of activities and participants throughout the day:

Live Food and Cooking Innovation Demonstrations

  • Tea Innovations with Honest Tea
  • Innovating Salsas and Guacamole with Pati Jinich
  • Innovations in Cake Baking with CakeLove's Warren Brown
  • Curing Innovations with Red Apron Butchery's Nathan Anda
  • Innovations in Pastry with Jim Dodge
  • Innovating Oaxacan Cooking with Neftali Duran

Meet-the-Author Culinary Book Signings

  • American Enterprise signed by Peter Liebhold
  • Pati's Mexican Table signed by Pati Jinich
  • Pie Love and Cake Love in the Morning signed by Warren Brown
  • The Carrot Purple signed by Joel Denker
  • In Meat We Trust signed by Maureen Ogle
  • Growing Tomorrow signed by Forrest Pritchard
  • The Perfect Peach signed by David Mas Masumoto

Agricultural Displays

  • The National FFA Organization
  • United Soybean Board

Spark!Lab Culinary Activities

  • Roll and Shape
  • Reinventing the Shopping Cart
  • What's Your Favorite Kitchen Gadget?

Film Screenings and Discussions

  • Food on film (archival television advertising and film reels)
  • Farmland Film Screening and Discussion 
  • Changing Season on the Masumoto Family Farm Film Screening and Discussion

Exhibition Tours

  • American Enterprise tour and discussion
  • FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000 tour and discussion

Smithsonian Gardens Innovation Activities

  • Victory Garden tours
  • Flower pounding
  • Seed saving


Beer glass filling at tap

After Hours at the Smithsonian Food History Weekend
Brewing Up Innovation 
Saturday, October 24, 2015

Brewers and historians joined us to reflect on the history of brewing and the resurgence of the modern craft beer movement. Guests conducted some innovative beer research of their own as they sampled brews from breweries and checked out some history brewing objects from the museum's collections. The evening began with a conversation and opened to an interactive reception featuring the following speakers and participating breweries:

  • Kim Jordan, co-founder, executive chair, Board of Directors, New Belgium Brewing Co.
  • Dick Cantwell, brewer, author, and quality ambassador, Brewers Association
  • Maureen Ogle, historian and author of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer
  • Susan Evans McClure, program director, Smithsonian Food History
  • New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, CO
  • Bluejacket Brewery, Washington, DC 
  • Right Proper Brewing Company, Washington, DC
  • Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD