The fifth Let's Talk About Food Festival returns to Copley Square on Saturday, October 1—this year as part of the city's second HUB Week celebration. This festival lets participants dive into the most important food conversations and debates happening in society today. Through hands-on cooking demonstrations, edible gardens, and more, participants can also explore how to take advantage of the food around them by cooking better and eating healthier. Check back often for more details.

Festival Schedule



The Let's Talk About Food Festival returns to Copley Square on Saturday, October 3. To help prepare your palate, you'll find the full list of all the programs, guests, and activities expected at this year's festival below.

From how to have a healthy sweet tooth to making tomatoes last all year, this year's lineup of special guests and informative demos will inspire culinary minds and whet food lover's appetites. As the festival approaches, we'll continue to provide regular updates on this year's programming schedule, so check back soon. Bon appétit!

Plus, to learn even more about this year's presenters, click here.

10:00-10:25 a.m.

Welcome to the Let's Talk About Food Festival

10:25-11:20 a.m.

Fixing School Food: Celebrity Chef School Lunch Challenge

Many of our kids get over half their daily nutrition at school. Can’t we do better for them? We've asked award-winning chef Jody Adams of Rialto and Trade, chef Eric Brennan of Post 390, and chef Andy Husbands, owner of Tremont 647, to try. They’ll recreate a kid-friendly meal that could be made on a public school cafeteria budget. The tasting panel? Boston Public School students. Plus, childhood obesity scientist PK Newby, Boston Public School parent Ann Chinchilla DeGeorge, and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley will all be on stage to discuss the realities behind major school food reform. Laurie Donnelly, executive producer of lifestyle programming at WGBH, will act as emcee, and high school students from Future Chefs will assist the chefs on stage in the demonstration kitchen.

11:25-11:55 a.m.

Loving Lamb

Lamb is the other “red meat.” It's delicious, economical, often local, and easy to prepare. So, why does lamb play second fiddle to beef when we put together our home menus? Join chef Jason Bond of Bondir and Bondir Concord for a demonstration all about lamb. Chef Bond will walk us through the basics of a properly braised lamb shoulder while Annie Copps, chef and food educator, talks about selecting and preparing the best lamb cuts for terrific meals.

12:00-12:30 p.m.

Cheese Globally, Cheese Locally: Building a Better Cheese Plate

Join us for a celebration of all things cheese. 80 Thoreau chef Carolyn Johnson will join cheese-industry experts Robert Aguilera, Lynn Giacomini Stray from Point Reyes Cheese, and Rodolphe le Meunier to guide us on a cheese journey around the world—highlighting the cultures and traditions that have shaped the world of cheese—before landing in our own backyard with instructions on how to build a diverse and dynamic cheese plate for the holiday season. Plus, chef Johnson will discuss and demonstrate how to make your own quick condiments to pair with holiday cheeses.

12:35-1:05 p.m.

What's Next for New England Seafood?

Legal Sea Foods’ CEO Roger Berkowitz and Executive Chef Richard Vellante will present a hands-on seafood demonstration while having a thoughtful conversation about the complex challenges facing New England fisheries today. They'll also experiment with native sea vegetables from Maine as a sustainable ingredient of the future alongside seaweed expert Sarah Redmond. WBUR's Bob Oakes will moderate the discussions.

1:10-2:10 p.m.

When Sweet Is Too Sweet

Overconsumption of sugar is THE health topic of the moment, especially concerning our children. With the rise of childhood obesity and diabetes, there’s no question we are facing a major cultural and political problem. But what’s the solution? Well, let’s talk about it. Marion Nestle, James Beard Award winner, expert on food politics, and author of the new book Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning), takes the stage with Ricardo Salvador, director of the Food & Environmental Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Brian Mercury, award-winning pastry chef at Harvest in Harvard Square. These three experts will discuss sugar from all angles and show how much it affects our lives. Eminent food writer Corby Kummer moderates this important conversation.

2:15-2:45 p.m.

Embracing Invasives: Learn to Love Unusual Fish

Sheila Bowman from the Monterey Bay Aquarium will discuss the state of New England fisheries and what’s really out there with James Beard Award-nominated chef Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi in New Haven. Chef Lai will speak about his experience sourcing “unusual fish” for his menu and will be joined by Lula Luu and RCB Fishing Co., who are spreading the word about invasive carp. Also on stage as moderator will be James Beard Award-nominated chef Michael Leviton of Lumiere. Michael is an active member of Chefs Collaborative and spokesperson for sustainable seafood.

2:50-3:50 p.m.

Pasta, Olive Oil, and Tomatoes: A Culinary Trifecta

If you want to know about this culinary trifecta, ask Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who has spent her life living and cooking in the Mediterranean. With the launch of her new book, The Four Seasons of Pasta, co-authored with her daughter, chef Sara Jenkins of Porsena in New York City, Nancy, and Sara, will demonstrate pasta-making using high-quality extra virgin olive oil and tomatoes. Plus, since it’s time for the tomato harvest, we’ve invited chef Jose Duarte of Taranta and chef Joe Gatto, creator of the TV show From Scratch, to share their favorite tomato recipes—all while the Jenkinses continue the conversation about how to match the right ingredients with the right dish. Also, food activist Edith Murnane from The Tomato Project will unveil a cutting-edge technology for testing the perfect tomato.

3:55-4:40 p.m.

Meat: What About Those Other Cuts?

Rack, loin, forequarter, chuck, chump, flank, brisket, shank. What? Nose-to-tail butchering has certainly had its day among restaurant chefs, but do you know where to find these cuts, or what to do with them once they're in your kitchen? That’s what we thought. Learn about great “secondary” cuts of beef, pork, and lamb from the people who know these animals best. Chef Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks joins Nick Zigelbaum from Longest Acres Farm, butchers from Dole & Bailey, and Dr. Scott Barao of Hedge Apple Farms to discuss raising, breaking down, and turning less-expensive cuts into flavorful dishes. Personal chef and Boston food writer Richard Chudy will moderate.

4:45-5:15 p.m.

Fermentation: DIY Kimchi Class

Got science? Fermentation is an ancient, low-tech, scientific process that is sure to draw the eye of the everyday food nerd. Not only is fermentation a way to preserve your food (cabbage, pickles, tea, etc.), the “good bacteria” produced in the process can help a multitude of health issues. Ceramicist Jeremy Ogusky has made his mark on this emerging trend by crafting clay fermentation crocks for at-home projects, and chefs are following suit in their kitchens. Ogusky and Chef Jeremy Kean from Whisk will demonstrate the process and how to set up your own experiment.

In addition to everything being served up on the Main Stage, you'll find a smorgasbord of other food-centric discussions and activities going on throughout the day.

Kitchen Conversations

Everyone has a food story. A kitchen disaster? A family moment around food? Thinking about your most memorable meal and who shared it with you? Worried about where your next meal is coming from? Visit the cozy Kitchen Conversations audio recording booth, whimsically set in a vintage kitchen, and share your story with our hosts. We’re collecting our community’s stories about food because we believe food is the secret sauce that explains us and connects us to each other.


Nutrition is so confusing! But our team of expert RD’s are a resource to get current and trustworthy answers to your nutrition questions, one-on-one. A popular aspect of Let’s Talk About Food, we’ve asked nutritionists from all our area clinics and hospitals to spend the day consulting with our community about what to eat and why it matters.


We’ve recruited a dozen top Boston chefs to answer all your cooking questions, one-on-one. Just step up to the Ask-A-Chef booth and get the advice you need to turn ingredients into stupendous meals.


Boston is a city of writers and readers. And our food-writing community is second to none! We’ve invited a host of celebrated cookbook authors and food writers to join us, sign their new books, and share advice on how to read and write about food. Plus, the delightful South End food-centric bookstore, Farm and Fable, will be selling books on-site!

Endless Table presented by Blue Apron

The Endless Table is an open-air, all-are-welcome seminar that invites experts and the community to learn and share information and views on the important food issues of today. This year there will be three topics:

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. School Food and How We Change It, hosted by the Healthy Foods For Boston Schools Parent's Action Network
12:30-2:30 p.m. Taking Stock: Ingredients for a Regional Food System, hosted by New England Food Vision Consortium
2:30-4:30 p.m. What to do About Sugar, hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists

Everyone is invited to come, learn, and share.

Edible Garden

A large spot of green and garden know-how in the middle of Copley Square. Come see the magic of Green City Growers as they turn brick into edible greens. They will answer questions and give advice about how to grow beautiful, edible plants wherever and however you live.

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