Welcome to the the Taste Talks Food & Drink Awards.

We're thrilled to raise the curtain on The Taste Talks Food & Drink Awards: A celebration of what's inspiring the new generation of eaters, drinkers, and innovators. 

We’re pushing the boundaries of what a food awards program can be, putting our focus on culture, innovation and diversity. With over 25 award categories including best food startup, best food Instagram account, and best non-profit, we're toasting chefs, restaurants, innovators and food media for their great taste. 

This isn't your regular golf-claps awards ceremony, either: our live show hosted by Mo Rocca is bringing fresh energy to the format with musical performances, engaging cooking demos with top chefs, comedians, and live storytelling — not to mention your favorite chefs and cultural influencers all in attendance. 

The first Taste Talks Food & Drink Awards were hosted live at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn on September 26, 2016. Discover the winners here

Live Music 

In addition to honoring the most notable names in food and drink, the awards ceremony will also include musical performances by distinguished rising artists.

Himanshu Suri is an Indian-American rapper, writer and activist from Queens, NY. After starting his career as one-third and manager of alt-rap trio Das Racist, he released his solo debut Eat, Pray, Thug last year to critical acclaim. Born and raised in Queens, in 2012 he released a mixtape that brought attention to the need for redistricting in Queens and subsequently led to an end of the gerrymandering of Richmond Hill. Suri has spoken at universities such as Princeton, Stanford, and Amherst and toured across North America, Europe and Asia. 


The original.  The tastemaker. The first.  All of these are terms that have been applied to DJ Justine D more than once by the media and nightlife royalty.  As the consummate professional she is often thought of as one of the best female DJ’s working in New York City. While keeping active in music, Justine pursued her passion for baking by studying Classic Pastry Arts at the French Culinary Institute. With recipes featured in Martha Stewart Living, Food and Wine, and Cherry Bombe magazine she tested out several avenues of baking but decided in late 2015 to pursue her love of cake making and decorating by creating bespoke cakes for an impressive clientele in music, fashion and film.  

Cooking Competition

Taste Talks has partnered with Stay Hungry to present a live onstage cooking competition during the awards. Teams of high school students will partner with experienced chefs to prepare a culinary creation for a panel of esteemed judges.



Stay Hungry is a community-based cooking experience program that bridges the worlds of food and hip hop in order to teach high school students about the culinary world. Founded by Syreeta Gates, Stay Hungry aims to provide a creative outlet to local youths. It seeks to merge the two culturally rich spheres of food and music and foster new, lifelong passions. Stay Hungry recently launched a community fellowship program to provide interested students with insider access to the food and drink world and hands-on experience that will help them long after graduation.

Culinary Pioneer Award

The Taste Talks Culinary Pioneer Award honors an up and coming leader in the food world — someone that embodies the Taste Talks Food & Drink Awards values of culture, diversity and innovation. The recipient will be interviewed live at the awards show.



Michael Twitty is a culinary historian, historic interpreter, and food writer who aims to discover and bring to life the foods of his ancestors--enslaved African Americans in colonial and antebellum America. Michael's research and interests also range into the wider African Diaspora, continental African food traditions, Jewish foodways, and heirloom and heritage breed foods and wild edible resources. As a growing champion of local eating in both the African American and Jewish communities, he actively reaches out to help all generations share the traditional knowledge that weaves beautifully with the the sustainable, eco-friendly principles of the locovore movement. Through writing, teaching, and cooking, he dreams of sitting all of us down at the "welcome table.”


Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actress whom Vulture.com, Essence, and Esquire have named one of the top comedians to watch. She has appeared on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and Last Call with Carson Daly; Comedy Central’s Broad City, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and @midnight with Chris Hardwick; as well as TBS’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Most recently, she created and starred in Refinery29’s web series Woke Bae and, alongside Jessica Williams of The Daily Show, she is the creator and costar of the hit WNYC podcast 2 Dope Queens as well as the creator and host of the new WNYC podcast Sooo Many White Guys. Robinson lives and performs stand-up in Brooklyn, NY, and you can read her weekly musings about race, gender, and pop culture on her blog, Blaria.com (aka Black Daria).



Esteemed Academy members and food industry notables will announce the winners at The Taste Talks Food & Drink Awards.