Board of Trustees
Mashama Bailey (Chairwoman)
Mashama Bailey is the Executive Chef and a partner of The Grey restaurant in Savannah, GA. While she was born and raised in New York City, her maternal roots hail from the South and as a result Mashama attended grammar school in Savannah and spent many summers with her grandmother in southcentral Georgia. She attended the Institute of Culinary Education and has studied in France and travelled far for food. Chef Bailey spent a dozen years cooking throughout New York City, the last four of which were at Prune on Manhattan’s Lower East Side under the tutelage of her friend and mentor, Gabrielle Hamilton. In 2018 Chef Bailey was named a James Beard Award finalist in the “Best Chef: Southeast” category.
Lolis Eric Elie
Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans born, Los Angeles based writer and filmmaker. Most recently, he joined the writing staff of the Amazon series “The Man in the High Castle.” Before that, he wrote for the OWN series “Greenleaf” and the HBO series “Treme.” Working with the award-winning director Dawn Logsdon, he co- produced and wrote the PBS documentary, Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans. His essay, “America’s Greatest Hits,” is included in Best African American Essays: 2009.
A former columnist for The Times-Picayune, he is the author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country and co-producer and writer of Smokestack Lightning: A Day in the Life of Barbecue, the documentary based on that book. He is editor of Cornbread Nation 2: The Best of Southern Food Writing. A contributing writer to The Oxford American, his work has appeared in Gourmet, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Downbeat and The San Francisco Chronicle.
Osayi Endolyn’s writing explores food, culture and identity. Her work appears in the Oxford American, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Eater, and the anthology You and I Eat the Same, among others. She’s featured on programs like the Splendid Table and Special Sauce, and she appears on Mashama Bailey’s episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix. From 2016-2018 Osayi was deputy editor of Gravy, where she broadened the quarterly’s editorial scope and contributor diversity. During her tenure, she received the James Beard Award for column writing and Southern Living named her to their list of 30 Women Moving Southern Food Forward. Osayi has an MFA in writing from SCAD, and a BA in French from UCLA. A proud California native, she’s lived in the South for more than a decade, and she’s often on the road seeking good food and drinks—she’s visited 36 states and 13 countries.
Born and raised in Jasper, Indiana, Paul Fehribach’s small-town upbringing instilled in him a passion for heritage recipes and appreciation for fresh, seasonal ingredients and a love for traditional cooking. In 2008 he opened his restaurant, Big Jones, in Chicago, Illinois, where his regionally-inspired fare with Cajun, Creole, Lowcountry and Appalachian influences has garnered both local and national acclaim, including Best New Restaurant by Chicago Magazine. In 2013 and 2014, Fehribach was honored as a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Great Lakes” award.
Sara Franklin is a writer, teacher, oral historian, scholar, and avid eater, cook and gardener. Her first book, a collection of essays on the renowned southern chef and food writer, Edna Lewis, was published by UNC Press in 2018 to wide acclaim. She is trained in history and public health and has experience in sustainable agriculture and community development, as well as working both independently and collaboratively as an interviewer, co-writer, and journalist.
Ms. Franklin received a PhD in Food Studies from NYU, with her dissertation based on a series of oral history interviews she conducted with the legendary editor, Judith Jones. Ms. Franklin teaches courses on food culture, writing, and oral history at NYU’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study and via the NYU Prison Education Initiative at Wallkill Correctional Facility.
Nina Williams-Mbengue is the daughter of Edna Lewis’s younger sister Naomi. At the age of 12, she lived with her mother and Miss Lewis in New York City and subsequently typed the manuscript for ‘A Taste of Country Cooking,” Miss Lewis’s seminal cookbook based on her childhood.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, she holds a BA in Latin American Studies and has worked as a grant writer with Care International, as a Resource Assistant with American Humane Association and with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) as a Program Director. She currently manages NCSL’s Child Welfare Project where, for the past 23 years, she has conducted legislative research and policy analysis on child welfare issues, and also provides and develops technical assistance programs, educational sessions, national legislative meetings, publications, research and testimony.
Johno Morisano (Treasurer)
Johno Morisano is the founding partner of The Grey, and a principal at SLAAM Ventures, a start-up focused investment fund, located in Savannah, GA. A CPA and graduate of Pace University, Mr. Morisano has spent nearly 30 years of his career working to build and grow a variety of startup companies across a broad cross-section of the entertainment, media and arts landscapes. His passion and focus with The Grey is food and wine and he attacks it with a child-like enthusiasm. Mr. Morisano has served as an officer of the National Arts Club in New York City and United Nations Women.
Chris Poe (Secretary)
Chris Poe is a management and marketing consultant specializing in the financial services category. He is a past Managing Director and Head of Brand Marketing for The Hartford, responsible for leading development and growth of the firm’s brand through strategic brand management, advertising and public relations and previously was a Managing Director and Head of Global Brand Management & Advertising for BlackRock, where he was responsible for managing the Firm’s portfolio of brands and coordinating advertising activities of the business globally. During his tenure he also served as Head of Retail Marketing and managed communications planning for the Firm’s mergers and acquisitions. Before joining BlackRock, Mr. Poe spent 12 years at JPMorgan Chase managing a variety of marketing functions. Mr. Poe is President Emeritus of The National Arts Club in New York City.
Georgia native Nicole Taylor spent her early twenties trying to distance herself from her Southern cooking roots, until a move “up” to Brooklyn gave her a fresh appreciation for the flavors of her childhood.
Her publication, The Up South Cookbook is a bridge to the past and a door to the future, featuring recipes in a deeply personal volume that offers classic Southern favorites informed and updated by newly-discovered ingredients and different cultures. From smoked trout in her deviled eggs to fresh hibiscus flowers in her punch, Ms. Taylor’s recipes honor tradition while reinterpreting them. Along the way, she tells the story of her generation of home cooks, who are reclaiming their culinary heritage in a whole new way. Ms. Taylor has hosted Hot Grease, a food culture podcast, and is the principal of NAT Media. She has contributed to Esquire, Good Company, Epicurious, The New York Times, Edible Manhattan, Saveur, The Bitter Southerner, Extra Crispy, The Undefeated, Wine4Food, Civil Eats, Sheknows, First We Feast, Cherry Bombe, Amtrak, Gravy Quarterly, and Travel Noire.