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Queer as Food? Let's Have a Chat...


In anticipation of the forthcoming Queer Food Conference in Boston and online, we have thrown down a rainbow tablecloth and are welcoming a wonderful panel of conversationalists to learn more about food from a queer perspective. This conversation will be moderated by Megan J. Elias and Dr. Alex Ketchum and joining us will be :

Tobi Abdul (they/she) a Nigeria-born, Toronto-based documentary filmmaker and farmer dedicated to food sovereignty and storytelling as social action. Tobi operates small-scale farm Eager Bee Gardens and advocates for a stronger farmer-chef-diner relationship. With her production company Little Andro Media, Tobi produces authentic works that champion the underdog, challenge the status quo, and uplifts people who look and love like her. They are currently working on a short documentary, In the Hands that Feeds Us, that follows a group of chefs pushing for a people-centered approach to food sustainability and a reimagining of the Ontario food system.


John Birdsall is a writer working at the intersection of food and Queerness. He’s the author of The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard (Norton, 2020), which looks at the iconic American celebrity chef’s complicated sexuality and public identity. It was a finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Award and the Publishing Triangle’s Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfictionand an Amazon Top 100 Best Book of the Year. Birdsall has received two James Beard Awards for food and culture writing, and is the co-author, with chef James Syhabout, of Hawker Fare (Ecco Press, 2018). He’s currently at work on What Is Queer Food?, scheduled to be published by Norton in spring 2025. His bylines include The New York TimesFood & WineSaveurBon Appétit, and more. He publishes a newsletter, Shifting the Food Narrative, and is on Instagram . He lives in Tucson, Arizona


Sal Dhalla, is an intuitive chef specialising in delicious vegetarian and vegan cooking. She works primarily as a retreat / private chef, teacher and workshop leader. Her food focuses on a love of approachable and flavour led veg-centric dishes and takes inspiration from both her life in London and its diversity of food as well as (and increasingly) her South Asian / East African heritage. She left a corporate job to pursue a dream of becoming a chef and baker over a decade ago, and is keen to help to support diversity and inclusion in UK hospitality especially for queer POC. As well as cooking for events around the UK she develops and shares recipes, most recently in her ebook, Veg Out - a collection of her favourite plant-led recipes.


Fatima “Fatti” Tarkleman is a zero-waste migrant chef of mixed African-Asian descent. They have special interests in fermentation and flavourful cross-cultural cooking. Fatti prioritises sustainability, inclusivity, and local produce, while representing the flavours of their heritage and their London upbringing. Fatti works as a freelance development chef, workshop facilitator, speaker, and content creator. They embrace innovative ways of using age-old techniques to make delicious food, putting care for people, their stories, and nature at the heart of their practice. Fatti is currently working on a collaborative cookbook, Kin~spiration, which will feature recipes to waste less by chefs and the special people who inspired them to cook. Kin~spiration will spotlight women chefs, and chefs outside the gender binary, showcasing the breadth of their work from across the UK diaspora. “Fatti is also the co-founder of “Eat Cute”, a queer dating supper club for single and/or polyamorous people


Megan J. Elias is  Director of Food Studies Programs at Boston University. A historian of American foodways, she is the author of five books about food history. Her most recent book was Food on the Page: Cookbooks and American Culture (Penn Press 2017). At BU Elias teaches courses in food history, food and gender, and food voices and  Introduction to Gastronomy. She is currently working on a book about the hospitality industry.


Dr. Alex Ketchum is an Assistant Professor at McGill University's Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF) and the co-organizer of the Queer Food Conference. Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the trailblazing restaurant Mother Courage of New York City, Ketchum's second book, Ingredients for Revolution: A History of American Feminist Restaurants, Cafes, and Coffeehouses (November 2022), is the first history of the more than 230 feminist and lesbian-feminist restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses that existed in the United States from 1972 to the present. As key sites of cultural and political significance, this volume shows the essential role these institutions served for multiple social justice movements including women’s liberation, LGBTQ equality, and food justice, as well as for training women workers and entrepreneurs. Ketchum has curated a physical and virtual exhibit on queer cookbooks, produced a podcast on lesbian and queer women's restaurants, and written numerous publications about queer identity and food



Introduced by David Matchett

Zoom Event Details

March 13th
5:00 pm GMT
Free – £15


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