31 / Los Angeles, USA
The Chinese-American chef changing the world one conversation at a time
Jenny Dorsey is many things – a chef, an artist, a culinary consultant and the social entrepreneur behind Studio ATAO, a non-profit in Los Angeles that creates educational tools, resources and spaces to inspire, promote and accelerate social transformation in the gastronomy industry in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion. Founded in 2017, ATAO stands for All Together at Once and believes that social change happens one relationship at a time. Through educational platforms and community-based research, the non-profit empowers people and organisations to advance systems-based change through a social-justice lens. Jenny says that often “activism doesn’t happen because there is no vocabulary or energy for it,” so she has created workshops and cultivated a sense of trust, giving people the space to talk about social justice by giving it both importance and a voice.
A Chinese-American, Jenny was born in Shanghai and grew up in Seattle. She worked as a management consultant in the fashion industry and was an MBA candidate at Columbia Business School, but felt this path was unfulfilling. During a sabbatical year, she decided to give cooking a try and studied at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. She later worked at top restaurants in New York and San Francisco before finding her voice by using food as a form of social activism and artistic expression. She now has her finger in many pies, working as a culinary consultant to a wide range of companies, writing cookbooks and appearing as a public speaker, with a 2020 Tedx Talk on how food can be a source of intimacy, identity and vulnerability. She was a finalist in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition and has competed on TV shows including Beat Bobby Flay
Despite the accolades, Jenny recognises that resumé achievements “do not make us truly happy,” and such recognition has driven her to pursue a more fulfilling career. With her commitment to driving equity and change through food via a non-traditional path, she provides inspiration to others and paves the way for future generations of trailblazers.
“Sometimes my food or the environments I create make people uncomfortable, and that's the point. I don't plan on being complicit with the way things are. I want to change the world with my art, even if it's just one honest conversation at a time.” – Jenny Dorsey
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