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"Thank you so much for the amazing honor. I will take it as a vote of confidence at a time when writing is all too under-valued. And I feel immensely lucky to have my work taken seriously by such an important group of inspiring women." --Twilight Greenaway, 2012 Fellowship Recipient

“It’s such a crazy honor to be recognized by such a talented group of women whose work I’ve so long admired.  Thank you -- for cooking and writing and producing ... and for reading. I’ll definitely be carrying your encouragement with me.” --Rachel Levin 2018 Fellowship Recipient

About the Karola Saekel Craib Excellence in Food Journalism Fellowship

The San Francisco Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier Board voted unanimously in 2010 to create The Karola Saekel Craib Excellence In Food Journalism Fellowship, in recognition of Karola’s more than fifty-year career in journalism and immeasurable contributions. Her reporting and writing excellence helped define food journalism at the time. Karola, who sadly passed away the spring of 2011, was greatly honored by our creating the fellowship. She helped us formulate the criteria and reviewed last year's nominees. This fellowship is given annually to a promising Bay Area woman food journalist (not a Les Dames member) and has no application process or strings attached. The monetary award is presented as an acknowledgement for good works, and as encouragement to keep writing, to stay in journalism. It is a surprise award in the style of the MacArthur Genius Awards. Nominations are confidential submitted by members and previous recipients. Nominations are received throughout the year, reviewed in the summer and awarded in the fall.

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Bay Area women food journalists whose writings show talent and promise
  • Demonstrates a commitment to a career in food journalism
  • Excellence and range of writing (subject, genre in a variety of food subjects)
  • Not more than ten years in the field of food journalism and not a Les Dames Member

2019 Recipient is:

Soleil Ho is the current restaurant critic of the San Francisco Chronicle. Before her tenure at the newspaper, she worked in restaurant kitchens in Portland, Ore., New Orleans, Minneapolis and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. In 2018, she was the recipient of a Smith Symposium Fellowship from the Southern Foodways Alliance and an 11th Hour/UC Berkeley Food and Farming Journalism fellowship. Her work will also appear in two anthologies: The Best American Food Writing 2019 and Women in Food.

Previous recipients are:

2018 Rachel Levin is a freelance journalist who has written for such publications as the New York Times, the New Yorker, Lucky Peach, and Eater, as its ex-San Francisco restaurant critic. She recently launched a new column, in the San Francisco Chronicle, called "The Usual," about regulars and the role restaurants play in the lives of the people they feed. She is a member of the editorial committee for La Cocina’s F&B: Voices from the Kitchen and the author of LOOK BIG: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds (Ten Speed, 2018) — which has little to do with food other than the fact that raccoons are raiding our trash cans and seagulls are swiping our pizza. And she is currently at work on her next book, which has everything to do with it: EAT SOMETHING, a pop culture look at Jews and food, co-authored by Wise Sons Deli (Chronicle Books, Spring 2020). A member of the Writers Grotto and the Ruby, she occasionally posts restaurant musings @offmenusf, which features non-food photos, as Instagram has enough of those. Plus, hers are never very good.

2017 Bonnie Tsui is the author of the award-winning American Chinatown. She has written about Michelin street food, Hong Kong’s rooftop farmers, the world’s first surf film, shark fin soup, the Baghdad swim team, and more for California Sunday, The New Yorker, Pop-Up Magazine, and The New York Times, among other publications. She has appeared a talking head in the documentary The Search for General Tso, to explain the curiously foreign-yet-familiar quality of Chinese-American food, and helped to launch "F&B: Voices from the Kitchen," a storytelling project from La Cocina that seeks to share stories from cooks and kitchens that are less often heard. Her next book, Why We Swim, will be published by Algonquin Books in spring 2020.

2016 Lisa Morehouse is an award-winning public radio reporter, producer and editor. She is currently at work on California Foodways, a county-by-county exploration of stories at the intersection of food, culture, economics, history and labor. For that series, she won national Edward R. Murrow and SPJ NorCal awards, and was named an 11th Hour/UC Berkeley Food and Farming Journalism fellow and nominated for a James Beard Journalism Award. She holds a Certificate in Documentary Arts from Duke University’s Center For Documentary Studies, and helps run workshops there each summer.

2015 Rachel Khong published her novel Goodbye, Vitamin in July 2017, and it was named the winner of the California First Book Prize from The Commonwealth Club. She continues freelance writing for The New York Times and more. She’s the founder of The Ruby, a women’s work and event space, which debuted in early 2018 in San Francisco.

2014 Jessica Battilana continues her freelance food writing career. Her first solo cookbook, Repertoire, was published by Little, Brown in spring 2018. She writes a bimonthly home cooking column by the same name for the San Francisco Chronicle and has just completed a cookbook collaboration with Michelle Polzine of San Francisco’s 20th Century Cafe scheduled for publication in Fall 2020.

2013 Emily Kaiser Thelin is content director at Blue Bottle Coffee and previously was editorial director for recipes at the organic meal kit delivery company, Sun Basket. Her biographical cookbook about culinary legend and Alzheimer’s advocate Paula Wolfert, Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life was published in April 2017, continues to receive accolades and critical acclaim.

2012 Twilight Greenaway is the former managing editor of Civil Eats, a daily news source for critical thought about the American food system, where she continues as contributing editor. She has been writing and editing for the web since 2000. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Salt (NPR’s food blog), the Guardian, the Bay Citizen, Food & Wine, Mother Jones, Gastronomica, Modern Farmer, TakePart, and on Grist, where she was the food editor in 2011 and 2012.

 2011 Sarah Henry is the author of Hungry for Change (Berkeley Food Institute, 2018), which showcases 20 emerging California food systems leaders, and Farmsteads of the California Coast (Yellow Pear Press, 2016), which profiles a dozen Golden State growers farming on the edge. She teamed up with chef Preeti Mistry to co-write her memoir The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook: Indian Spice, Oakland Soul (Running Press, 2017). She continues to cover culture through the lens of food for a variety of media outlets including The Washington Post, Plate, and Edible San Francisco.

2010 Novella Carpenter is the author of two memoirs, Farm City and Gone Feral. She is now the Director of the Urban Agriculture at the University of San Francisco, where she teaches in the environmental studies department, exploring the connections between race and gender in agriculture. She is on hiatus from writing while she finishes her doctorate.

Donate to the Karola Saekel Craib Excellence in Food Journalism Fellowship

Les Dames d' Escoffier Int'l-San Francisco
lesdamessf@gmail.com | ‪(650) 762-5504‬

Les Dames d’Escoffier International, San Francisco Chapter, is a 501 (c)(3) (EIN 20-5941764) Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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