Log in

The Karola Saekel Craib Excellence in Food Journalism Fellowship

"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

The Karola Saekel Craib Excellence In Food Journalism Fellowship was created in 2010 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 and she helped us formulate the criteria.

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

2020 Recipient is:

Ruth Gebreyesus is a writer, editor and producer based in the Bay Area. Her work centers cultural products and their movement across physical and digital margins. Currently, she serves as a food reporter and columnist at KQED. She's also working on a docu-series about food with chef and writer Tunde Wey and filmmaker Theo Schear. Outside of the food realm, Gebreyesus has presented on memes and black digital production at the Oakland Museum of California and at the New Museum in New York. She is also currently serving as the co-curator of Black Life, a multidisciplinary event series at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.

Previous recipients are:

2019 Soleil Ho is the current restaurant critic of the San Francisco Chronicle and a co-host of the Chronicle’s food podcast, Extra Spicy. 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 has also appeared in two anthologies: The Best American Food Writing 2019 and Women in Food.

2018 Rachel Levin has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Outside, Lucky Peach, and Eater, as its ex-San Francisco restaurant critic. She writes an occasional column for the San Francisco Chronicle called "The Usual”—about regulars and the role restaurants play in the lives of the people they feed, and is a member of the editorial committee for La Cocina’s live storytelling series, "F&B: Voices from the Kitchen.”  She is the author of LOOK BIG: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds, which has little to do with food other than the fact that raccoons are raiding our trash cans and humans keep feeding bears. Her new book, published spring 2020, has everything to do with it, EAT SOMETHING: A Wise Sons Cookbook for Jews Who Like Food and Food Lovers Who Like Jews, co-authored by Evan Bloom. Her next book, STEAMED: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings on the Table, with recipes by Tara Duggan, will be out next year. 

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 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 newest book, Why We Swim, published by Algonquin Books in April 2020, was a Los Angeles Times and a Boston Globe bestseller; The New York Times Book Review selected it as an Editors’ Choice/Staff Pick, calling it "an enthusiastic and thoughtful work... glorious."

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 edited a book with Lucky Peach called All About Eggs, published in 2017. Her novel Goodbye, Vitamin, published in 2017, received the California Book Award from the Commonwealth Club. She continues freelance writing and editing. She the founder of The Ruby, a work and event space for women and nonbinary artists and writers. She's currently at work on her second novel.

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, Civil Eats and all of these: 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 (2018) and Farmsteads of the California Coast (2016). For Running Press, she teamed up with chef Preeti Mistry to co-write her memoir The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook: Indian Spice, Oakland Soul (2017). She has written about food matters for The Washington Post, Plate, Eater SF, San Francisco Chronicle, and Edible San Francisco. Her work has also appeared in the anthology Best Food Writing (2014 & 2015).

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 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.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software