Spring Symposium: The Future of the Restaurant

SFA explores the future of the restaurant at the March 28 Spring Symposium in Birmingham.

2020 SFA Spring Symposium: Future of the Restaurant
March 28, 2020
Birmingham, Alabama

Food & Wine magazine restaurant editor Khushbu Shah and editor-in-chief Hunter Lewis discuss the future of restaurant criticism.  We screen a new film that profiles Rodney Scott and Roscoe Hall and 21st century barbecue legacies. And chef John Hall hails Birmingham as a bold American food city.

If you are a curious eater who wants to see and hear stories about the dynamic American South, food, and labor, join us. If you are a food professional and you wish to track the latest cultural trends, sign on. If you work as a content creator or editor and aim to gain new perspectives on how stories frame understandings, this event is for you.

Official event registration and breakfast will be Saturday morning at the Haven (2515 6th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233), beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Tickets for the 2020 Spring Symposium, priced at $150 per person include the Friday reception, and all lectures, food, and drink on Saturday. Tickets are on sale now. Check your calendar before purchasing a ticket, as refunds are not available for this event.

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SFA’s Spring Symposium will take place at The Haven (2515 6th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233)

We recommend these area hotels:

SpringHill Suites Birmingham Downtown at UAB

2024 4th Ave. South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233
(205) 322-8600

Hotel Indigo Birmingham Five Points

1023 20th St. South, Birmingham, AL 35205
(205) 933-9555
808 20th St. South, Birmingham, AL 35205
(205) 933-9000

Event Presenters

Ben Barker is an award-winning chef whose acclaimed restaurant, Magnolia Grill, was a favorite in Durham, North Carolina, for over 25 years. Many chefs he trained have gone in to open their own successful restaurants.

Gabe Barker is chef and owner of Pizzeria Mercato in Carrboro, North Carolina. After working in San Francisco kitchens, he returned home to open a restaurant with his parents, Ben and the late Karen Barker.

Edgar “Dooky” Chase IV is the grandson of Leah Chase, and he learned how to cook standing beside her in the kitchen of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans. He now helms the stove at Leah’s Kitchen, a restaurant named in her honor.

Jose Camacho has worked at several of Birmingham’s favorite bars. These days, the native of Michoacán, Mexico manages the craft cocktail and wine programs at Automatic Seafood & Oysters in Birmingham.

Lauren Darnell is executive director of the Made in New Orleans Foundation (MiNo), an organization that provides resources for aspiring chefs of color. She is also a proud native of New Orleans.

John Hall is chef and co-owner of Post Office Pies in Birmingham. He earned a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales in Charleston, South Carolina, and has worked in some of the nation’s best restaurant kitchens.

Kristen Farmer Hall is the executive pastry chef and co-owner of The Essential and Bandit in Birmingham, Alabama. In a former life, she was known to bake and dash, anonymously leaving treats on neighbors’ doorsteps

Roscoe Hall is an artist and chef who hails from barbecue royalty—his grandfather opened Dreamland Bar-B-Que. These days, you’ll find Roscoe firing the pits at Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Birmingham.

Patrick Kuh is the author of The Last Days of Haute Cuisine, a history of the American restaurant business which won the James Beard Foundation’s award for writing on food. His career started in restaurant kitchens.

Hunter Lewis is editor-in-chief at Food & Wine magazine. Lunch at Saw’s Soul Kitchen may be partly responsible for his decision to make Birmingham his home.

Camilla Marcus is founder of west~bourne cafe, a socially conscious, mission-driven restaurant.  Employees are cross trained for every position, receive the same rate of pay, and working to make the café the first certified zero-waste restaurant in Manhattan.

Jason McCall is an award-winning poet, an Alabama native who teaches at the University of North Alabama, and a 2-time spelling bee champion. His poetry collection Dear Hero won the 2012 Marsh Hawk Press poetry prize.

Khushbu Shah is restaurant editor at Food & Wine magazine. Previously, she was senior food editor at Thrillist.

Feizal Valli and Rachael Roberts own The Atomic Lounge, a Birmingham bar known for crazy costumes, provocative drinks, and temporary tattoos.