Organization: BCA Global
Location: New York, NY
In his words…
“I know the power of being mentored by someone who looks like you. Most of the individuals who mentored me did not look like me. I often ponder how that could have increased my confidence and made me feel more whole as a person. My personal mission is to correct this — not only by mentoring more people of color, but to encourage other professionals of color to assume this responsibility as well. My end goal is to become a better leader, while creating more leaders and fewer followers in food, race and social justice.”
What gives him hope…
“Right now is the time that empowerment and social change work will have the most impact. This is the time to build collective power among Chefs and People of Color in the food space. Together, we can create a model that will result in individuals, families and communities collaborating together to find a way towards health.”
After working for decades to bring people of color into the culinary arts, Chef Alex Askew is transforming his culinary pedigree and expansive professional network into a social change project with a spiritual side. Mindful Eating for the Beloved Community was created by Alex and a diverse group of 13 chefs, nutritionists, and food activists ready to rebuild the connections between diet, culture, faith, the environment, and community well-being, with a focus on the deep connection between mindful eating, social justice, and sustainability. His path to this work began at age 14 when he accepted an offer to work as a personal chef. After six years of restaurant gigs in and out of New York City, he enrolled in New York’s Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. Unfazed by the curriculum, thanks to his years of experience, he nevertheless ran up against a cultural barrier: he and his fellow African American students did not feel welcome in the institution. Right there, the seeds for his first collaboration were planted.
Upon graduating in 1989, he built his career in food research, development, and consulting for corporations including General Mills, Hilton Hotels, and Aramark, Specialty Restaurants, and a host of private clients. He investigated and mastered different cooking styles as well as cuisines including Cajun and Creole, holistic, Latin, and American fusion. Now firmly established, in 1993 he co-founded BCAGlobal (formerly the Black Culinarian Alliance) to build a professional support system for young students of color and women seeking culinary and hospitality industry careers. He is a 2001 Doctorate of Foodservice recipient from the North American Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers, a Distinguished Visiting Chef for Sullivan University, the 2011 Business Leader of the Year from the Marcella Brown Foundation, a 2012 New York Institute of Technology Global Leadership Award, serves on the board of the American Culinary Federation, and is a member of the newly formed Certification and Accreditation Commission. Alex continues to use his knowledge and experience as a foundation for further growth and development in the world’s best industry.