2020 John Egerton Prize Winner: Ashtin Berry
Drawing on a two-decade track record in the hospitality business, a sociology degree from the University of Chicago, and a drive to make equity-fueled progress, Ashtin Berry of New Orleans, Louisiana, changes the way people think about hospitality.
A sommelier, bartender, educator, and activist, Berry founded RadicalxChange, a content agency that places marginalized people at the center of hospitality work. She also conceived and now stages Resistance Served, an annual food, beverage, and hospitality symposium that celebrates and contextualizes contributions of the African Diaspora through seminars, discussions, and experiences that inspire community and encourage nuanced conversations.
The John Egerton Prize, endowed by SFA member contributions, awards $5,000 each year. To share the story of the Egerton Prize winner, SFA also produces a film. The 2020 film, Radical Vision, directed by Zaire Love, premieres digitally on October 11 via a partnership with the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee. (In addition to being one of the founders of the SFA, John Egerton was one of the founders of the Southern Festival of Books.)
To mark the many ways that Egerton’s work engaged the South, that October 11 digital film premiere and award ceremony will include remarks by Alice Randall, author of the novel Black Bottom Saints; Connor Towne O’Neill, author of Down Along with That Devil’s Bones; and Berry. SFA managing editor Sara Camp Milam will moderate. On October 24, SFA will broadcast the film, the ceremony, and the remarks as part of its 23rd Fall Symposium.
John Egerton Prize winners live or work in the American South, exhibit exceptional creativity, apply the rubric of food and drink to their work, and show the potential to make a genuine difference in one or more fields.
Winners are elected by a jury that includes:
—Ashley Graham, nonprofit leader, New Orleans, LA
—Edward Lee, chef and nonprofit leader, Louisville, KY
—Chuck Reece, writer and editor, Atlanta, GA
—John Simpkins, nonprofit leader, Durham, NC
—Judith Winfrey, farmer and entrepreneur, Atlanta, GA