Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Forward 50 2013

Mitchell Davis

Unless you are a professional foodie, there’s a good chance you aren’t familiar with Mitchell Davis. But you have surely tasted his impact. As executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation — America’s foremost culinary organization — Davis is one of the most influential individuals on the nation’s foodways.

Davis is the weekly host of “Taste Matters,” on the food-focused station Heritage Radio Network; chair of the Eastern North America Region judges panel to choose The World’s 50 Best Restaurants; a cookbook author, and a frequent public speaker, all of which encourage his ideas to spread and strengthen. This year, he moderated or spoke on 11 Jewish food panels, including one on gefilte fish and another on the state of the deli.

Davis’s food career started with a high school job at a kosher-style butcher shop in Toronto, where he made 24 quarts of chicken soup and delivered them before school started. He went on to join the Beard Foundation in 1993 and to help found the food studies program at New York University, where he received his doctorate. In October, a pavilion he helped design was chosen to represent America at the 2015 World’s Fair, in Milan.

Throughout it all, Davis, 45, has remained deeply committed to Jewish food. His 2002 book, “The Mensch Chef: Or Why Delicious Jewish Food Isn’t an Oxymoron,” which he wrote with his mother, highlighted a theme in Jewish food that wouldn’t be realized by restaurant chefs and diners for close to a decade. And despite his frenetic schedule, Davis still found time to make a vat of chicken soup for this year’s James Beard Foundation Seder — and yes, it was better than your bubbe’s.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.