Cooking for Change: Chef Kurt Evans on Creativity, Community, and Justice

Cooking for Change: Chef Kurt Evans on Creativity, Community, and Justice

Join us on 'The Truth in This Art' podcast, where your host, Rob Lee, leads the way. Our Today’s guest Chef Kurt Evans, an acclaimed Philadelphia-based chef, artist-activist, and social entrepreneur, combines his culinary expertise with a deep commitment to social change. From his early roots cooking southern dishes with his grandmothers, Kurt has grown to refine his skills in renowned Philadelphia kitchens. With over 14 years of culinary experience, he continually innovates and crafts distinctive recipes. Beyond the kitchen, Kurt is a catalyst for change, leveraging his culinary skills to advocate against mass incarceration through his End Mass Incarceration (EMI) Dinner series. His transformative impact extends to his establishment of Down North Pizza, providing equitable workplaces for those formerly incarcerated. As an activist, author, and dedicated advocate for criminal justice reform, Chef Kurt Evans is at the forefront of using food as a powerful tool for social transformation, recognized with various awards for his impactful work.

In this episode, we delve into:

  • How Chef Kurt Evans is leveraging his culinary expertise to catalyze social change and drive criminal justice reform through food.
  • The transformative impact of EMI dinners, where voices affected by mass incarceration converge to raise awareness and initiate conversations around reform.
  • Delve into the power of social capital with us as we discuss how connections, relationships, and networks can serve as invaluable assets, often outweighing monetary wealth.
  • Tune in to our podcast episode where we discuss the art of perspective-shifting and problem-solving, learning from our guests how taking a broader view can unlock innovative solutions and overcome challenges.

Chef Kurt discusses his background and his work in criminal justice reform. He shares his journey from growing up in Philadelphia to becoming a chef and how his passion for cooking led him to use food as a way to address social issues. Chef Kurt talks about his organization, End Mass Incarceration (EMI), and the EMI dinners he hosts to raise awareness and funds for organizations that support those affected by mass incarceration. He emphasizes the importance of storytelling and empathy in creating meaningful connections and understanding the experiences of others. Chef Kurt also discusses the obstacles he has faced and offers insights on how to approach challenges with a broader perspective.

Mentioned in the episode
Chef Kurt Cooks

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This program is supported in part by a grant from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

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Original music by Daniel Alexis Music with additional music from Chipzard.

Episode illustration by Alley Kid Art.

About "The Truth In This Art"

Hosted by Rob Lee, "The Truth In This Art" podcast dives into the heart of creativity and its influence on the community. This arts and culture podcast from Baltimore highlights artists discussing their ideas, sharing insights, and telling impactful stories. Through these artist interviews, listeners gain a deeper understanding of the creative economy and artistic life in Baltimore. 

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Creators and Guests

Rob Lee
Rob Lee
The Truth In This Art is an interview series featuring artists, entrepreneurs and tastemakers in & around Baltimore.
Kurt Evans
Kurt Evans
a Philly-based chef and artist-activist who is also a social entrepreneur