The TikTok Star Who Just Won A James Beard Award

At one point in history, chefs dreamed only of Michelin stars. However, these days, some famous chefs don't want Michelin Stars; instead, they'd rather be honored with something like a James Beard Award.

According to the James Beard Foundation, the awards highlight "exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system," and also honor individuals who are committed to "racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive."

This past weekend, the James Beard Foundation awarded more than three dozen books, broadcast media, and journalism pieces for their efforts (via Eater). Under the broadcast media category, Alexis Nikole Nelson — perhaps better known as "Black Forager" — won a James Beard Award for her TikTok account.

Yes, that's right, a TikToker won a James Beard Award for promoting a foraging lifestyle while also educating the internet about history, race, and culture. And she might just convince you to try foraging, too. 

Changing the food community one TikTok at a time

Alexis Nikole Nelson, aka Black Forager, first started posting about foraging when the pandemic hit in early 2020. According to Food & Wine, her first videos demonstrated how to forage within urban locales.

Nelson's TikToks cover a variety of topics, from making mulberry makeup to identifying edible plants, to reteaching the history of food in America. In one of her videos, she talks about how acknowledging responsibility and the cultural context of food is one of her favorite things about foraging.

"When you're responsible for how something ends up on your plate," she says in the TikTok, "you start thinking about who else is responsible for what ended up on your plate, whether it's the person who picked it or the person whose knowledge led to us having it today." To date, Nelson has over 3.8 million followers on TikTok, and another million on Instagram. And now, she also has what the Columbus Dispatch dubs "one of the top honors" for those in the food community. We couldn't be prouder of her.