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The Karola Saekel Craib Excellence in Food Journalism Fellowship

"I’m so grateful to be recognized by this community of women who appreciate the power of good food and good journalism and work to support them both. Especially in times like these, your encouragement to continue writing about food—something that brings us together and connects us so uniquely—means so much." --Tienlon Ho 2021 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

"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

Photo by Judy Doherty

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

2021 Recipients are:

Tienlon Ho writes about food, history, and science, and often where these intersect. She’s the co-author of Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown (Ten Speed Press, 2021), a narrative cookbook about the groundbreaking restaurant and how San Francisco’s Chinatown changed the flavor of America. She’s written for publications including San Francisco ChronicleLucky Peach (RIP), California Sunday (RIP), Slate, GQ, and The New York Times, and traveled around Asia and the Americas for Lonely Planet. Her work is anthologized in Best Food Writing and earned the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Gold Award for culinary-travel writing and the 11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children and works full-time as an attorney. Read more about Tienlon and her writing at tienlon.com.

Esther Mobley is the wine critic at the San Francisco Chronicle. Since joining the paper in 2015, she has reported on all the movements of California’s $40 billion wine industry, from wildfires to undocumented vineyard workers to climate change to the rise of natural wine. Since 2018, she has published a weekly email newsletter called Drinking with Esther. Previously, Esther was an assistant editor at Wine Spectator magazine in New York, and she has worked as a harvest intern at wineries in Napa Valley and Mendoza, Argentina. She was named Feature Writer of the Year in the 2019 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards. The previous year, she won first place in the California News Publishers Association Awards Print Contest for feature writing for a story about a winery owned by a California cult, and first place for agricultural reporting, for her writing on Napa Valley's land-use controversies. Her work was recognized as the Best Writing on Beer, Wine or Spirits by the Association of Food Journalists in 2017 and 2019. Find her portfolio of work at esthermobley.com.

Previous recipients are:

2020 Ruth Gebreyesus is a writer and producer based in the Bay Area. Her work centers cultural products and their movement across physical and digital margins. She's currently working on a documentary project about food consumption and production with chef and writer Tunde Wey. Previously, Ruth served as the food reporter and columnist at KQED. Outside of the food realm, she has presented on Black digital production at the Oakland Museum of California and at the New Museum in New York. She is also currently a co-curator of Black Life, a multidisciplinary film and art series at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.

2019 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 has appeared in two anthologies: The Best American Food Writing 2019 and Women in Food.

2018 Rachel Levin has written for the New York Times, Outside, the New Yorker, Eater, as its San Francisco restaurant critic, and the San Francisco Chronicle, as an occasional columnist about restaurant regulars. 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 (Ten Speed), which the Wall Street Journal called “a nifty idea carried out with humor and a deft touch.” She is also the coauthor of Eat Something: A Wise Sons Cookbook for Jews Who Like Food and Food Lovers Who Like Jews (Chronicle Books, 2020), which publications including Eater, Forbes, and Canada’s National Post named a best cookbook of 2020, and Steamed: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings on the Table (Running Press 2021), which was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.

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, and the Baghdad swim team for California Sunday, The New Yorker, Pop-Up Magazine, The New York Times, and more. 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 book, Why We Swim, is a national bestseller, a TIME Magazine Must-Read Book of 2020, and an NPR Best Book of the Year. The New York Times Book Review selected it as an Editors’ Choice, calling it "an enthusiastic and thoughtful work... glorious." Her first children's book, Sarah and the Big Wave, was published in 2021 and was praised by KirkusBooklist, and Outside.

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 relocated in the last year from San Francisco to Portland, Maine, where she continues to write, mostly about food. Despite the move, she still authors a bimonthly cooking column for the San Francisco Chronicle and is currently at work on a second solo cookbook, to be published by Norton in 2023, which will join her first, Repertoire, published in 2018.

2013 Emily Kaiser Thelin is associate creative director at Apple and was previously content director at Blue Bottle Coffee and 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 a senior editor at Civil Eats, a daily news source for critical thought about the American food system. 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 (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.

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Les Dames d' Escoffier Int'l-San Francisco

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