Chefs' Manifesto Podcast Season 3

Crop Series

The Crop Series

On the 25 January, the Chefs' Manifesto in collaboration with the Crop Trust and Food Forever will launch the 3rd Season of the Chefs' Manifesto Podcast and Case Study Series! The Chefs’ Manifesto Podcast is a resource for chefs to share stories of action on sustainable development tied to the UN SDGs through the Chefs' Manifesto community.

Each of the six episodes in this season – to be launched weekly for the next two months – will feature one particular crop, taking listeners on a journey to different parts of the world, with chefs and experts sharing their insights and stories, discussing the history and significance of the crops, and how each of them has the potential to support the transformation of our food systems.

Get excited for the accompanying Case Studies, to be launched in two packs in a few weeks!

The Podcast Hosts

Podcast Hosts

This season will be hosted by three chefs from the Chefs’ Manifesto network:

Each chef is hosting two episodes: Chef Alejandra episodes 1 and 2, featuring potato and sorghum; Chef Lorna episodes 4 and 5, featuring sweet potato and millet; and Chef Tom Hunt episodes 3 and 6, featuring coffee and wheat.

Our partner for this season – The Crop Trust/Food Forever

LogoWith more than 15 years working globally to safeguard our agricultural biodiversity, the Crop Trust has been a strong advocate for greater long-term resilience in our food systems. Through an endowment fund, the Trust is working with partners to secure the most important international, regional and national collections of crop diversity in perpetuity, as well as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the world's backup facility for seeds. Crop diversity is a prerequisite for food security. Without the plethora of strains and varieties of our crops safely stored in seed banks, our food systems will have lost essential genetic traits and therefore, valuable options to face the enormous challenges of a growing population, a rapid process of land degradation in the most vulnerable and food insecure areas of the world, and of course, a changing climate. Within this agrobiodiversity we can find crops with the most astounding traits, from greater resistance to drought, strong winds or salinity, to higher nutritional content. In short, the Crop Trust's work comes down to one simple vision: ensuring the basis of our food is safeguarded, forever. 

Guests and Episodes

Episode 1 - Potato: the prolific tuber (Release: 25 January)

The Chefs' Manifesto · Episode 1 S3 «The Prolific Tuber Potato»


PotatoEpisode 1 provides insights and stories on the prolific tuber potato. The history of this crop is discussed from country-specific perspectives, with Ireland represented by Chef Janice Bracken and Peru by Chef Diego Oka. The chefs explore how to best prepare and cook potato, to preserve its nutrients, make use of its wide diversity, but also how to present them in an attractive and healthy way on the plate. Alejandro Argumedo, Andes Amazon Lead for the Swift Foundation, shares his thoughts at the end of the podcast on the benefits of potato for alimentation and agriculture.



  • The top five producers of potato are China, India, Russia and Ukraine. The top five importers of potato are the USA, the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia and the UK. 
  • Late blight (which caused Ireland’s potato famine in the 1840s) causes around seven billion euros worth of potato losses every year in the developing world, where the majority of potato farmers live.
  • More than 7’000 samples of potato are held in the genbank at the CIP in Lima, Peru, containing enormous amounts of genetic variety and potential.

Chef Janice Bracken... the Head Chef at the luxury boutique hotel Dunbrody Country House Hotel in Co. Wexford Ireland. Janice is also a member of Euro Toques Ireland, having undertaken an oath to help to preserve the culinary heritage of Ireland by supporting traditional cooking methods and promoting producers of local and seasonal artisan produce. In 2019 Janice was awarded the title of "Food Hero" in County Louth by the Restaurant Association of Ireland. 

Chef Diego Oka...

...was born and raised in Lima, Peru and so has first-hand experience of growing up in one of the world’s most exciting culinary destinations. With influences including his grandmother’s cooking, his Japanese-Peruvian heritage and the foods he discovered whilst living in Mexico and Colombia, Diego brings a unique and innovative talent to La Mar, where he works as Executive Chef.

Alejandro Argumedo...

...has over 25 years of international experience working with indigenous peoples, small scale farmers, NGOs, research organisations, government institutions and UN bodies, as well as other intergovernmental organisations in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. He now works for the Andes Amazon Lead for the Swift Foundation.


Episode 2 -  Sorghum: the camel of crops (Release: 1 February)

The Chefs' Manifesto · Episode 2 S3 «The Camel of Crops Sorghum»

SorghumEpisode two focuses on sorghum, an under-appreciated crop that is mainly grown in Africa. Chef Ali Mandhry, a sorghum champion, shares recipes and his passion for this crop working from his home in Mombassa, Kenya, whilst Meymuna Hussein shares a narrative about her journey from East Africa to America and the importance of sorghum in her culture and cooking. Expert Eva Weltzien, pre-breeding consultant from ICRISAT wraps us up by championing the sustainable impact sorghum can have if we produce and use it as an alternative to more pollutant crops.



Chef Ali Mandhry...

...popularly known as Chef Ali L’artiste, is a Celebrity Chef, TV/Radio personality, culinary instructor and food stylist. Through his career, Ali has worked both nationally and internationally to champion Kenyan cuisine. In 2011, he started a project that trained young chefs at Kenya Utalii College on pastry presentation as well as developed the “Basic Food Presentation Skills Course” that refined the presentation skills of hotel industry chefs in Kenya. Recognising his work, Ali has been named among the top five reigning chefs of African cuisine by Africa Style Daily.

Meymuna Hussein-Cattan... an executive, entrepreneur, and world traveler. For the last decade, Meymuna has been the CEO of The Tiyya Foundation, an award-winning grassroots organisation that supports families of immigrants, refugees, and displaced Americans. In her work, she has been helping to transform sentiments and narratives around refugees in Southern California.

Expert Eva Weltzien...

...has devoted her research career over the past 35 years to the improvement of dry land cereals in tropical and subtropical regions. She has focused on the effective use of sorghum, pearl millet and barley genetic resources to develop varieties that meet the specific needs of farm families, with an emphasis on targeting gender specific production systems and constraints by building multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams.


Episode 3 - Coffee: the diversity of our daily grind (Release: 8 February) 

The Chefs' Manifesto · Episode 3 S3 «Coffee – the diversity of our daily grind»


coffeeIn the third episode you will learn about the famous crop coffee! Chef Daniel Kaplan and Chef Aylin Yazıcıoğlu talk about how coffee is an integral part of their respective cultures but explain how it can be produced and consumed in a more sustainable and careful way along the production chain. Experts Rolando Cerda and Sarada Krishnan in the last part of the episode address the urge to act on the coffee production chain in order to produce better and in a respectful way for people and planet, and most importantly, to safeguard biodiversity.



  • Geisha - a plant collected from a forest in Ethiopia in the 1930s, was forgotten about because of its low production levels. Decades later, in South America, the plant nurtured by a higher altitude and volcanic soil, produced a unique spectacularly aromatic coffee. At a recent auction, one batch sold for an unprecedented USD803 per pound!
  • If 25 million people paid $1 to secure permanent, sustainable funding for the world’s coffee genebank collections, coffee would be safe forever.
  • Coffea Arabica, which accounts for 70 percent of global coffee production, is one of the least genetically diverse crop species in the world.

Chef Aylin Yazıcıoğlu...

...showcases Turkish ingredients with French techniques and emphasises how training as a sociologist has helped her in the kitchen. She champions gender equality and equal opportunity at Nicole, which has recently been awarded best restaurant by Turkey's ‘La Liste 2019’. Chef Yazıcıoğlu emphasises that her restaurant is not just about luxury food, it is about feeling good and creating sentimental memories around food. She wants to empower young women to cook and ensure that there is equal opportunity for the next generation in the culinary field.

Chef Daniel Kaplan... one of the Executive Chefs for TAKAMI Hospitality Group, running the kitchens for several restaurants, including La Fama Barbecue, The Ugly American and La Fama Barbecue. Currently, Daniel helps building up and spreading the word about the Chefs’ Manifesto in Colombia. He has also been involved over the last 12 years in efforts to increase the sustainability of cattle raising in Colombia and Latin America more broadly. 

Rolando Cerda... a researcher and professor at CATIE, specialist in agroforestry systems with perennial crops (home gardens, coffee, cocoa). He has worked on several research and development projects and coordinated the development of field schools, with the aim of reaching more than 10,000 rural families in Central America. In recent years, he coordinated studies for the identification, evaluation, prioritisation, and promotion of climate-smart agriculture practices (production, adaptation, mitigation) for home gardens, agroforestry systems, basic grains, and pastures.

Sarada Krishnan... the Director of Horticulture and Center for Global Initiatives at Denver Botanic Gardens, where she is responsible for directing the design and maintenance of the horticulture displays and collections, and for developing and leading global projects. She has published numerous papers and chapters on coffee genetic resources, botanic gardens, and sustainable agriculture in peer reviewed journals and books.


Episode 4 - Sweet potato: the root to health (Release: 15 February)

The Chefs' Manifesto · Episode 4 S3 «Sweet potato – the root to health»


sweetpotatoThe fourth episode is all about sweet potato! Given its rich nutritional content, the sweet potato is one of the most consumed crops in Africa. Chef Kiran Jethwa and Chef Yi Wen share recipes and stories about this fantastic healthy crop from their respective parts of the world. Maria Andrade from OFSP then joins the discussion and reinforces the importance of sweet potato for many people and communities around the globe and particularly in Africa where this crop often becomes a substitute for meat.



  • Known locally as “al fendal,” sweet potatoes have a rich history in the Emirates. Largely cultivated in the northern areas of the country, Emirati sweet potatoes come in red and white varieties and can be found in fruit and vegetable markets all over the UAE. This local sweet potato variety, adapted over time to the UAE’s unique environment, is only a piece of the natural diversity in sweet potatoes, the world’s seventh most important food crop.

  • Sweet potato is the seventh most important food crop in the world after wheat, rice, maize, potato, barley and cassava. In 2011, about 8 million hectares of the world’s agricultural land were used to grow sweet potato, and over 95% of the world’s sweetpotato output was from developing countries.

Chef Kiran Jethwa...

...was born and raised in Kenya to an Indian father and English mother and today is recognised as East Africa’s first international celebrity chef. He is the Chef and owner of one of Nairobi’s premier restaurant companies, Seven Restaurants Ltd. This comprises Seafood & Grill, and Seven Lounge & Grill. Within four years, the restaurants have become the most popular eating destinations in the cosmopolitan Kenyan capital.

Chef Yi-Wen... a Plant Forward Whole Foods Chef Educator and a key initiator for many global food education programs. She is a world citizen with 17 years of fashion marketing experience in New York and China who in 2012 started a transition to the world of whole foods education. She is also a co-founder of The Plant Forward LLAB with the mission to educate, collaborate and initiate real actions and positive changes using food as a social lubricant for a sustainable human health and planetary well-being system. 

Maria Andrade... a scientist at the International Potato Center and advocate of Food Forever. She’s specialised in African agriculture, crops and works with a few organisations in these areas. She has more than 30 years of working experience in Agriculture in Africa and released more than 30 biofortified drought tolerant Sweetpotato varieties.


Episode 5 - Millets: climate smart seeds of the future (Release: 22 February)

The Chefs' Manifesto · Episode 5 S3 «Millets – climate smart seeds of the future»


milletThis week's episode features everything you need to know about the great crop millet! Chef Vanshika Bhatia and Chef Mokgadi Itsweng share their experiences cooking and experimenting with millets in their kitchens and make listeners fall in love with this fantastic ingredient. A discussion with Shivali Sharma from ICRISAT follows on how many sustainable benefits millets can bring to the table.



  • The world’s top producers of millets: India, Nigeria, Niger and China. The World’s top importers of millets: Pakistan, Belgium, Germany, Nepal, South Korea (Crop Trust).
  • The adaptations of pearl millet to withstand extreme heat and drought are truly extraordinary. When there is a little moisture available, the seedling germinates and rapidly extends its roots far down into the soil to where water is available. Meanwhile the surface temperatures can climb above 50°C. In drought, the plant can stay dormant for long dry spells, bursting into growth once the rain returns (Crop Trust).

Chef Mokgadi Itsweng...

...has worked in the food industry for more than 17 years. A self-taught chef, she acquired further culinary training in New York City at Peter Kump cooking school and the New School in 2000, upon returning, Woolworth’s snatched her up and she worked as a food works chef. Following her engagement for the Chefs’ Manifesto at the Eat Lancet report launch in Rome, she has created a platform called “The Plate with Chef Mokgadi”. Chef Mokgadi is proudly South African and hopes to foster passionate pride in others.

Chef Vanshika Bhatia...

...trained formally in 2012 in culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu. Not only is she a pioneer in contemporary French cooking within her kitchen, using local produce, zero waste and community style food, but Chef Bhatia has also been a key part of the ‘ActNow’ climate campaign, the United Nations’ global call to individual action on climate change. Chef Bhatia also stresses biodiversity and that there are 30,000 plant species that are edible. She believes that every kitchen can follow the same zero waste practices that she has pioneered at ‘Together at 12th’.

Shivali Sharma...

...has rich post-doctoral research experience of more than 15 years in diversified areas like doubled-haploid (DH) breeding, germ plasm conservation, and enhancement through pre-breeding in collaboration with public and private sector organisations in about 10 countries. She currently works as Theme Leader for Chef Pre-breeding at the ICRISAT in India. 


Episode 6 - Wheat: our great grain (Release: 1st March)

The Chefs' Manifesto · Episode 6 S3 «Wheat – our great grain»

wheatThis last episode is all about the probably most famous crop: wheat! Pastry Chef Sahar Parham Al Awadhi and Chef Eduardo Garcia will share their simple, healthy and tasty recipes involving this great grain and expert Filppo Bassi from ICARDA then joins the discussion to give more context and knowledge on wheat.



  • Over 600 million tons of wheat are produced each year from about 210 million hectares, making it the world’s most widely grown crop (Crop Trust).
  • Though there are over 100 varieties of wheat currently cultivated, global production is almost entirely based on two varieties, Triticum aestivum and Triticum durum, the former accounting for about 95 percent% of world production (Crop Trust).

Chef Eduardo Garcia... a Mexican chef who owns four restaurants in Mexico City. In the last few years he has been recognised as one of the most innovative and influencing chefs in the Mexican cuisine. He works with his wife and business partner Gabriela Lopez Cruz. His cuisine is inspired by French, Mexican and new American cooking, from the best that Mexico’s farms and fishermen have to offer.

Chef Sahar Al Alwadhi... alongside a team of 34 pastry chefs in a kitchen that operates 24 hours a day, creating memorable dishes for guests at Burj Al Arab in Dubai. As well as continuing on her constant learning journey of gastronomy, Chef Sahar is hugely passionate about sustainability and the ways in which we choose make a difference. One way how to achieve this is to create dishes that allow people to look at ingredients in a different way, and create a meaningful experience.

Filippo Bassi... a senior scientist, durum wheat breeder at ICARDA and based in Morocco, where he leads the durum wheat breeding team to deliver varieties adapted to dryland agriculture. In 2017, he received the OLAM Prize for Innovation in Food Security for his team effort to deliver heat tolerant varieties to farmers along the Senegal River. He is a strong believer in the use of wild relatives and landraces to achieve better stress tolerance. 


Previous Podcast Seasons

Season 1 Season 2In September 2020, we launched the 2nd Season of the Chefs' Manifesto Podcast with Chefs' Voices on COVID-19. In four consecutive episodes, chefs and experts from across the world discuss with Host Chef Tom Hunt how food production has been affected by the pandemic, what inequalities have been exposed and what the future holds: how chefs can stay strong and build back better? The first series, which was launched in March 2020 featured a total of 9 episodes, each covering one of the 8 thematic areas of the Chefs' Manifesto. Check out the first season here