Photo by Peter Taylor.

Steven Alvarez teaches literacy studies and bilingual education at St. John’s University in New York City. A Smith Fellow, he is the author of Brokering Tareas and The Codex Mojaodicus, both published in 2017.


Gustavo Arellano writes the Gravy column Good Ol’ Chico and wrote Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.


Carla Cabrera-Tomasko began baking cakes at sixteen in Ecuador; these days, she serves as pastry chef at Bacchanalia in Atlanta.


Guadalupe Castillo, a native of Puebla, Mexico, began working at Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham in 1999. The oyster bar is his domain.


Andy Chabot is sommelier and director of food and beverage at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.


Daniel Connolly uses rigorous reporting to tell true stories about immigration, economics, and globalization for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis.


Simone Delerme teaches anthropology and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, where she researches migration, critical race theory, language ideologies, social class inequalities, and suburbanization.


Oscar Diaz, raised by parents who migrated from Jalisco to Chicago, is a veteran of, among other restaurants, Patina in Los Angeles. Today he serves as chef and partner at Jose and Sons in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Von Diaz, a Smith Symposium Fellow, is a writer and radio producer for StoryCorps; her forthcoming book, Coconuts and Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South, explores the colonial and contemporary history of the island.


Lisa Donovan is a Nashville pastry chef and writer. Her supper series, Buttermilk Road, convenes once a month for intimate family dinners.


Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans–born writer and filmmaker. His first book was Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country.


Sarah Fouts focuses on Latinx tamale vendors, taco truck workers, and restaurant owners to study integration and immigration in post-Katrina New Orleans.


Michelle García is a journalist and essayist reporting from New York City, Texas, and Mexico for, among other outlets, The Oxford American and Guernica.


Paco Garcia serves café con leche, chilaquiles, and buttermilk biscuits drenched in chipotle gravy at Con Huevos in Louisville, Kentucky.


Maria Godoy is a senior editor with NPR’s Science Desk and the host of The Salt, NPR’s food coverage-focused effort.  


Cesar Gonzales owns Sabor Caribe in Memphis, serving platos típicos from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, and Colombia.


Agustín Gurza, a journalist, is editor of The Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings.


Sandra Gutierrez is the author of Latin American Street Food and The New Southern-Latino Table; she contributes to The Oxford American.


Taqueria del Sol - Eddie Hernandez - Atlanta's Buford HighwayEddie Hernandez founded Taqueria del Sol, where he combines the food traditions of his native Monterrey, Mexico, and his adopted American South. Look for his first book next year. 


Lis Hernandez, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, is the chef and proprietor of Arepa Mia, with two locations in metropolitan Atlanta.


Lynn and Debbie Hewlett are the co-owners of Taylor Grocery, arguably the South’s most fabled catfish house.


A senior lecturer in the English department at the University of Mississippi, poet Blair Hobbs has created Symposium art for 20 years.


Activism and social justice underpin the music of La Victoria, a mariachi band composed of Vaneza Mari Calderón, Mary Alfaro Velasco, and Rosalie Rodriguez, which brings a modern sound to a traditional genre.


SFA board president Rob Long is a television writer and producer. The author of Conversations With My Agent, hosts a weekly show, “Martini Shot,” on public radio.


Fernando López served as a community organizer with the Congress of Day Laborers at the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice and now works as a photographer and a radio host for WHIV.


Ava Lowrey, our Pihakis Foodways Documentary Filmmaker, graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Duke University’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts.


Jonathan Magallanes, following a path blazed by his father, Pepe Magallanes, is chef and owner of Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana in Memphis.


Formerly behind the bar at Little Donkey, Jose Medina Camacho now conjures drinks at at The Marble Ring in Birmingham, Alabama.


Alexis Meza of Lexington is a visual artist and co-founder of the Kentucky Dream Coalition, a network that helps immigrant youth access higher education.


Rodolfo Montero crafts tortas and the occasional paella behind the counter of El Molino, tucked inside Sav/Way Foods in Charlotte.


Houston’s Hugo Ortega earned a James Beard Award this year for Best Chef: Southwest. The Mayor of Houston recently celebrated Hugo Ortega Day.


University of Houston professor Monica Perales studies labor and social history, immigration, the American West, and the Borderlands. She is the author of Smeltertown: Making and Remembering a Southwest Border Community.


Lina Puerta is a Colombian-American artist who lives in New York City and creates mixed-media sculptures using a variety of materials from fabrics, resins, and ceramic to found objects.


Alex Raij, the daughter of Argentine parents, is the chef and co-owner of three New York City restaurants and author of The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito.


Laura Patricia Ramírez, recipient of the 2017 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award, is chef and co-owner of Taquería y Tortillería Ramírez in Lexington, Kentucky.


Paul Reyes is the editor of The Virginia Quarterly Review and author of Exiles in Eden: Life Among the Ruins of Florida’s Great Recession.


Iliana Rocha won the AWP Donald Hall Prize for her debut book, Karankawa. She teaches at the University of Central Oklahoma and is featured in Vinegar & Char, the SFA’s 2018 poetry collection, edited by Sandra Beasley.


Mario and Maria Rojas serve Mexican and Cuban fare at their Memphis restaurant, Sabrosura.


Diep Tran is the chef and owner of Good Girl Dinette in Los Angeles. Along with Lolis Elie, Gustavo Arellano, and other SFA folk, she participated in the 2016 Rivendell Congregation, focused on food system inclusion.  


Louis Velasquez is the head brewer at Quick Trigger Ale in Ahoskie, North Carolina. A former Coast Guard officer and physician assistant, he has been making beer for a decade.


San Antonio native Miguel Vidal owns and directs Valentina’s Tex-Mex Barbecue in Austin with his wife, Modesty Vidal, and his brother Elias Vidal.


Yancy Villa-Calvo, a frequent collaborator with Latino Memphis,  paints passionate scenes in acrylic on wood. She is part of the Green Machine team, which runs a mobile fruit and vegetable market. 


Joe York is a documentary filmmaker with a degree in archeology and a deep appreciation for cornbread. Joe has made over 40 short films for the SFA, as well as the feature documentary Pride & Joy.