Alumni in Food Discussion Panel

Six alumni visit Williams on November 15th to discuss their careers in food.

Alumni in Food discussion panel:

November 15, 7:00 p.m., Griffin Hall, Room 3

The Alumni in Food panel features the theme of sustainability within the world of food, seen through the eyes of Williams alumni. The five panelists and moderator represent diverse professions, including journalism, the culinary arts, retail marketing, tourism, and agriculture. The resulting discussion will highlight the diversity of sustainability concerns in food. This is a tremendous opportunity for current Williams students to learn how graduates have developed careers in food and agriculture.

David Fowle ‘76

David Fowle graduated in 1976 from Williams with a major in Economics, and a focus in Environmental Studies. While stumbling through life, he came across a “buying club” (cooperative without bricks and mortar) and delighted in its structure and function – offering what at the time was hard-to-find high quality food at very affordable prices. That was the beginning of a now 30-year career working with various cooperatives. David was a founding manager of Wild Oats Co-op in Williamstown, where he became general manager and worked for 24 years, helping bring the co-op to a financial position where it purchased and outfitted its present location. He also served as a board member and president of Northeast Cooperatives (a 2nd tier cooperative natural foods distributor) and was a founding board member of both the Cooperative Grocers Information Network and the National Cooperative Grocers Association, where he now works as the Eastern corridor advisor. NCGA is also a 2nd tier cooperative owned by 123 cooperative corporations operating 162 stores in 35 states, with total annual sales of over $1.4 Billion. He now lives in Pownal Vermont, and has two grown sons.

Mari Omland ‘89

Mari Omland grew up in the hills around Rutland. In 2007, she returned to Vermont with her partner Laura Olsen to establish Green Mountain Girls Farm. They seek to provide authentic Vermont farm experiences (day visits/overnight stays/events) and food, utilizing ecologically-designed methods to provide excellent products and experiences while stimulating profit, learning, and fun with a minimized human footprint on the natural world.

Johanna Kolodny ‘01

Johanna Kolodny is the forager for PRINT. Restaurant, a seasonally sourced restaurant situated in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. Kolodny has turned the quest for fresh food into a full-time job, providing the important link between the farm and table for PRINT. Seeking out famers and artisans inside the region and out, she establishes relationships that serve to supply ingredients for the restaurant’s globally inspired and locally sourced menu. Mornings are often spent in the greenmarket and during peak growing season, you’ll find her scoping out local farms in pursuit of a sustainable balance between the needs of the farmer and the standards of PRINT.

Kolodny has a Bachelors of Arts from Williams College in Williamstown, MA and a Master of Arts in Food Studies from New York University.

Peter Platt ‘80

Peter Platt, a graduate of Williams College, learned his craft at the Parker House Hotel in Boston under the guidance of Jasper White and Lydia Shire. This beginning was notably followed by a twelve year stint as executive chef at Wheatleigh in Lenox, Massachusetts, the renowned Lenox property well known for its exceptional cuisine. Peter accepted the position as executive chef at The Old Inn on the Green in 2002, transforming the restaurant into a top destination for diners in the region. In 2005, Peter and Meredith purchased the Old Inn from former owner Bradford Wagstaff and Leslie Miller. Peter and Meredith then went on to purchase the Southfield Store from Tim Newman in order to have a dedicated baking kitchen and continue to operate the store as a café serving breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner.

Peter has attracted significant national press attention over the years and earned a list of accolades in publications including The New York Times Magazine, Wine Spectator, Town & Country and Departures. He is a board member and supporter of Berkshire Grown, an organization promoting organic farming and sustainable agriculture working to connect local farmers and area chefs.

Jessie Price ‘95

Jessie Price is the deputy editor of food for EatingWell Media Group, where she directs all food content. Jessie grew up in a family full of great cooks and food fanatics. After graduating from Williams College, she cooked in restaurants in California and Colorado, including the Relais and Chateaux, Home Ranch near Steamboat Springs. She started out testing and developing recipes for EatingWell and joined the editorial team full time in 2004 when she moved from San Francisco. She is the author of seven EatingWell cookbooks including the James Beard Award Winning The Simple Art of EatingWell and most recently, EatingWell One-Pot Meals. She lives in Charlotte, Vermont where she stays busy growing her own vegetables in the summer and tracking down great Vermont food products when she’s not working.

John Kessler ‘83 (Moderator)

John Kessler is a dining editor and writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A graduate of Williams College, he attended L’Academie de Cuisine culinary school near Washington, D.C. and worked for several years as a restaurant cook and chef in Washington and Denver. As a food and travel writer, his worked has been in many publications, including Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, the Oxford American, Cooking Light and Garden & Gun. His work has been honored four times by the James Beard Foundation, and he has also received the National Headliner Award for Best Single Subject Columnist. His essays, columns and food features have been anthologized four times in “Best Food Writing.” He has authored or co-authored two books, “Culinaria: The United States” and “The Atlanta 50: Where to Eat.” His eldest daughter is in her senior year at Williams. (Go WUFA!)