Advisory Board President
Jay Oglesby lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where he is president of Capstone Lifestyle Communities, a developer of resort-inspired residential communities designed for active seniors. Jay earned an undergraduate degree in Journalism and English from the University of Mississippi and is the first alumnus to serve as SFA Board President. After working as a junior high school teacher and line cook, he earned MBA and Masters of International Management degrees from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Born in Columbus, Mississippi, Jay lived and worked in Texas, California, Florida, and North Carolina prior to returning to his adoptive hometown of Birmingham. Jay and his wife, Jackie, have a son at the University of Mississippi and a daughter at Belmont University in Nashville.
Geetika Agrawal first started play dough hosting dinner parties when she was four years old. Later, with a Computer Science degree from Stanford, Geetika launched a software incubator at IBM, which got her hooked on entrepreneurship. She focused her MBA on Social Impact and Innovation, while working with investors and entrepreneurs around the globe. She’s managed agriculture portfolios, defined investment strategies to help small holding farmers in India, and co-launched the New York Times notable Dalston Roof Park. She also helped start Kitchenette, a London incubator inspired by La Cocina. She’s currently Program Director at La Cocina in San Francisco, where she loves working alongside entrepreneurs to support their businesses, leading growth initiatives for the organization, and, of course, and sharing delicious food.
W. Ralph Eubanks
W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past, which the Washington Post named as one of the best nonfiction books of 2003. He has contributed articles to the Washington Post, WIRED, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and National Public Radio. A graduate of the University of Mississippi (B.A.) and the University of Michigan (M.A., English Language and Literature), he is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has been a fellow at the New America Foundation. Ralph lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and three children. From 1995 to 2013 he was director of publishing for the Library of Congress and is the former editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia. Currently he is a visiting professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. He is at work on a book on the literary heritage of his home state of Mississippi.
Diane Flynt, president of Foggy Ridge Cider, grows heirloom apples in Dugspur, Virginia, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. A Georgia native, Flynt worked for over twenty years in banking before returning to her farming roots. In 2004, she founded Foggy Ridge Cider, the first farm winery in the South to focus full time on growing cider apples and making craft cider. Each year Foggy Ridge Cider has sold its complete production. In 2017, Diane retired from cider making, but continues to grow cider apples. Flynt has also played a leadership role in promoting Virginia wine and is active in national cider initiatives.
Alba Huerta moved to Houston when she was six and, except for a brief stint in Las Vegas, where she moved to refine her service skills, she’s been there ever since. She’s managed Anvil Bar and Refuge, and opened establishments including The Pastry War, a mezcaleria that mirrors her quality standards for agave production, and Julep, the bar that she describes as the culmination of her career as a bartender. Huerta is a successful business owner who has been named one of 10 rising star female mixologists by Food & Wine in 2015, as well as Imbibe magazine’s Bartender of the Year in 2014.
Scott Jones lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where he’s Head of Content at eMeals, America’s leading meal planning service. He also travels the country teaching folks about wine through his company Jones Is Thirsty. Scott graduated from the University of Mississippi with a B.A. in Magazine Publishing. After working for several years in Los Angeles as a motion picture development executive, he and his wife, Deanna, relocated to New York where he earned an A.A. in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America. Scott worked at Food & Wine before moving to Birmingham in 1999 to join Southern Living (he was the first man to work in the Food department) where he was Executive Editor until 2011. Deanna was walked down the aisle and given away by an Elvis impersonator when she and Scott were married at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in 1994. They have two daughters—one who attends the University of Mississippi and another who’s a junior in high school.
Corby Kummer is executive director of the Food and Society policy program at the Aspen Institute, editor-in-chief of Ideas: The Magazine of the Aspen Institute, a senior editor of The Atlantic, and senior lecturer at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science. He is the author of The Joy of Coffee and The Pleasures of Slow Food, the first book in English on the Slow Food movement, and has been restaurant critic of New York, Boston, and Atlanta Magazines and food and food policy columnist for The New Republic. Every week he is a featured commentator on food and food policy on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio. He has received six James Beard Journalism Awards.
Francis Lam is the host of The Splendid Table, produced by American Public Media. He is the former Eat columnist for The New York Times Magazine and is Editor-at-Large at Clarkson Potter. He was also a judge on Top Chef Masters. Lam’s publications have appeared in a number of publications, including Gourmet, Bon Appetít, Food & Wine, and Saveur. He has degrees from the Culinary Institute of America and holds a B.A. in Asian Studies and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. Francis and his family call New York City their home.
A graduate of Duke University, Ann Marshall built a career out of marketing natural products for some of the most creative companies in the industry, most notably Immaculate Baking Co. where she served as Director of Marketing (and assisted in baking the World’s Biggest Cookie). In 2013, Ann co-founded High Wire Distilling Company, a Charleston, South Carolina, distillery producing regionally inspired, small batch spirits. Ann was named a finalist for the James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Wine Beer or Spirits Professional in 2019.
Katie McKee is the director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and McMullan Professor of Southern Studies and Professor of English at the University of Mississippi. She earned her B.A. from Centre College, and an MA and PhD from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She is the author of Reading Reconstruction: Sherwood Bonner and the Literature of the Post-Civil War South (2019) and co-editor with Deborah Barker of American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary (2011). She teaches American literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, specializing in postbellum writing of the U.S. South.
Alison Bethel McKenzie
Alison Bethel McKenzie is a veteran journalist who currently serves as Director of Corps Excellence for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. A native of Miami, Bethel McKenzie served for five years as executive director of the INternational Press Institute (IPI), the world’s oldest global press freedom organization, in Vienna. She was the first American, first woman and first African-American to hold the position since IPI was founded in 1950. In addition, she has worked as a visiting professor of print and investigative journalism at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media in Bangalore, India. Most recently, Bethel McKenzie served as executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s oldest journalism society. She was the first African-American to serve as SPJ’s executive director in its 110-year history and only the second woman. Bethel McKenzie was a Knight International Journalism Fellow in Ghana in 2008-09, managing director of the Nassau Guardian in the Bahamas in 2007 and executive editor of the Legal Times in Washington, D.C., in 2006-07. She has also worked at The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, the Boston Globe, and The Detroit News.
A bank examiner gone astray, Andrea Nguyen is living out her dream of making impactful books, reporting compelling food stories, and teaching others how to cook well. She has worked on numerous food publications, including authoring The Pho Cookbook, a 2018 James Beard Award winner, and editing Unforgettable, the biography cookbook about Paula Wolfert. Her mother is extra proud that Andrea was a Jeopardy! clue.
Tom Rankin is Professor of the Practice of Art and Documentary Studies at Duke University where, among other things, he teaches photography, films, and documentary practice in a range of mediums. He lives on the bank of the Eno River in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his wife, Jill McCorkle.
Drew Robinson, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, graduated from the New England Culinary Institute. In 1997 he moved to Mendocino, California, where he expanded his knowledge of technique and ingredient-driven food. In 2001, he returned to his hometown to work with Frank Stitt at Highlands Bar and Grill, where he rose through the brigade to become chef de cuisine. In 2003, Robinson decided to apply his formal training to traditional foods when he began working with Birmingham-based Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q. In that capacity he has served the SFA for nearly a decade, beginning with the 2004 Birmingham Field Trip. He now works as business director at Sprouthouse Agency and founder of Third Car Consulting.
Eve Troeh first learned of the SFA and its work after Hurricane Katrina, when evacuation took her from New Orleans to Oxford for several weeks after the levee failure. A journalist working primarily in audio, Eve has been a reporter, editor, and producer for local and national public radio and podcasts, and was founding news director at New Orleans Public Radio. Eve is Senior Producer at Marketplace, the public media business and economics programs based in Los Angeles, where she oversees Marketplace Tech and the weekly podcast Make Me Smart. There are few things she loves more than dark roux seafood gumbo.
Jennifer Jensen Wallach
Jennifer Jensen Wallach is Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of North Texas. She is the author or editor of nine books, including, most recently, Every Nation Has Its Dish: Black Bodies and Black Food in Twentieth-Century America and Getting What We Need Ourselves: The Significance of Food in African American Life. She also coedits the University of Arkansas Press book series, Food and Foodways. When she’s not writing about food history, she can be found in the Dallas suburbs where, along with her partner and collaborator Michael Wise, she sets a mean, plant-based table. Southern fried tofu, anyone?