Plants, Cuisine and Culture Series

Plants are intimately linked to our cultural identities and food traditions. Plants tell us where we are, and who we are in how we use them to feed ourselves. When we migrate, we carry our culture and cuisine with us. In this series, renowned chefs, culinary historians, and authors from cultures around the world discuss how plants shaped their foodways.

Webinars are offered as as synchronous (live) online programs.


Native American Cuisine with Sean Sherman

Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 7 – 8 pm EDT

A member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, Sean Sherman is renowned nationally and internationally in the culinary movement of Indigenous foods. Sherman opened The Sioux Chef in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area in 2014 and now operates Owamni by The Sioux Chef, which won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in June 2022. Author of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, Sherman currently serves on the leadership committee of the James Beard Foundation Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans.

Learn More and Register

Hawaiian Cuisine with Sheldon Simeon

Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 7 – 8 pm EDT

Sheldon Simeon was born in Hilo, Hawaii, and his culinary journey focuses on showcasing the authentic flavors of his homeland to a global audience. He has competed on “Top Chef,” has been nominated twice for James Beard awards, and is author of Cook Real Hawai’i, which showcases 100 recipes that embody the culturally diverse flavors of the islands. He operates three restaurants in Hawai’i, where his menus reveal a mix of innovative modern cuisine and adherence to tradition.

Learn More and Register

Indian Cuisine with Simon Majumdar

Monday, May 8, 2023, 7 – 8 pm EDT

Simon Majumdar is a broadcaster, food writer, speaker, author, and cook who has dedicated the second half of his time on this planet to fulfill his ambition to “Go Everywhere, Eat Everything.” He’s written three books and is the creator, writer, and host of the food history podcast, “Eat My Globe: Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know About Food.”

Learn More and Register

African American Cuisine with Toni Tipton-Martin

Tuesday, July 25, 2023, 7 – 8 pm EDT

Toni Tipton-Martin is a culinary journalist and author using cultural heritage and cooking to build community. She is editor in chief of “Cook’s Country by America’s Test Kitchen,” two-time James Beard Award winner for her books on African-American cooking, and recipient of the prestigious Julia Child Award for making a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks.

Learn More and Register

Series Host Organizations

Justin Fornal program sponsor organizations

Chicago Botanic Garden and Franklin Park Conservatory

Active Network Registration Account

Create an account or sign in to register, view current registrations, payments & course history

Create/Manage my Account