Toni Tipton-Martin is an award-winning food and nutrition journalist and community activist who is busy building a healthier community through her books, classes, and foundation. She is a James Beard Book Award winner and recently appeared as a guest judge on Bravo’s Top Chef. In 2016, Toni was featured on CBS Sunday Morning’s annual Food Show; in the anthology, Best Food Writing of 2016; and in Aetna’s 35th Annual African American History Calendar. She received Notable Mention in The Best American Essays of 2015.
First Lady Michelle Obama invited Toni to the White House twice for her outreach to help families live healthier lives, and in 2014 she earned the Southern Foodways Alliance John Egerton Prize for this work. With the Egerton Prize as seed money, Toni hosted Soul Summit: A Conversation About Race, Identity, Power and Food, an unprecedented 3-day gathering that invited writers, scholars, authors, chefs, students and anyone interested in food justice to come together and celebrate African American Foodways.
Toni is the author of The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks (University of Texas), a widely-acclaimed, annotated bibliography that tells the story behind her rare collection. The Jemima Code also is the title of a traveling exhibit, featuring larger-than-life images of black cooks at work, curated from Toni’s gallery of authors. In 2005, she published an historic reprint of an early 20th century cookbook, The Blue Grass Cook Book, by Minnie C. Fox (University Press of Kentucky). Blue Grass contains the first known photographs of African American cooks and presents a new portrait of a role model working women can respect and learn from today. Toni also is co-author of A Taste of Heritage: New African-American Cuisine (Macmillan) and wrote the chapter on the South for Culinaria: The Food of the United States (Konemann).
In 1991, Toni became the first African American woman to hold the position of food editor at a major daily newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Prior to that post, she was the nutrition writer for the Los Angeles Times and a contributing editor to Heart and Soul Magazine (a health and fitness book for African-American women).
Toni has been a guest instructor at Whole Foods Culinary Center, and has appeared on the Cooking Channel’s Foodography and the PBS feature Juneteenth Jamboree. She has been a featured speaker at the Library of Congress, Duke University, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and Charlotte; Austin History Center; the Longone Center for American Culinary Research, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan; Roger Smith Cookbook Conference; Foodways Texas; Culinary Historians of Southern California; International Association of Culinary Professionals; Les Dames D’Escoffier; Webster College; Prairie View A&M University; Women Chefs and Restaurateurs; the College of Charleston; Mississippi University for Women; and Austin Foodways. She has shared her passion for cooks and the community as a freelance writer for Epicurious, the Local Palate, UNC Wilmington’s Ecotone Journal, the Austin Chronicle, Edible Austin Magazine, Texas Co-op Magazine, Gastronomica The Journal of Food and Culture, and Cooking Light Magazine.
In 2008, after 30 years teaching cooking in the media and demonstrations, Toni founded The SANDE Youth Project as a grassroots outreach to improve the lives of vulnerable families. The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit is dedicated to combating childhood hunger, obesity and disease by promoting the connection between cultural heritage, cooking, and wellness. Through community partnerships with universities, private and public entities, including Oldways Preservation Trust, the City of Austin, Edible Austin Magazine, and others, Toni’s foundation presents two community events, Soul Summit: A Conversation About Race, Identity, Power and Food and the Children’s Picnic A Real Food Fair.
Toni is a member of the James Beard Awards Committee, Oldways African Heritage Diet Pyramid Advisory Committee, Les Dames D’Escoffier Austin Chapter, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and Jack and Jill of America, Inc. She is a co-founder and former president of Southern Foodways Alliance and Foodways Texas. Toni is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Journalism and splits her time between Austin and Denver with her husband. She is the mother of four.