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Good Food Awards will be given to farmers, millers and producers working with grains grown from open source seeds planted with soil health in mind. Cereal grains, legumes, pasta and tortillas that meet the standards for entry are grown in the USA under fair labor practices and do not incorporate synthetic inputs.


The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the grains community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the grains standards are and who will be judging this year.



Viola Buitoni

Independent Chef Instructor & Food Writer

Viola was born in Rome and raised in Perugia, Italy. With stories and knowledge from six generations, her dishes cross the best of California agriculture with the finest Italian food imports. After moving to the US to attend NYU, Viola started Buitoni & Garretti, a catering kitchen and Italian fine foods shop in New York City. She later moved to San Francisco where she began lecturing and teaching Italian food tradition workshops at the SF Italian Cultural Institute and Italian Consulate. She teaches Italian cooking at Milk Street, 18Reasons, and The Civic Kitchen year-round and at the Puglia Culinary Center in the summer. In October of 2021 she will lead an immersive fall foraging workshop in Le Marche. She is a regular contributor to La Cucina Italiana US. In 2020 the President of the Italian Republic awarded her the the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia for her work to further the culture and business of Italian food. She lives in SF’s Mission District with her husband, son and tiny dog.

Jen Nurse

Co-Founder of The Civic Kitchen S.F.

Jen is the co-founder of The Civic Kitchen cooking school in San Francisco, where she enthusiastically fosters self-sufficiency and joy in the kitchen, and civil discourse and connection around the table. She is a lifelong avid home cook, a pastry chef and former bakery owner, and an evangelist for the life-changing power of education. Jen is honored to serve as co-chair for the Grains category.


Linda Esposito

Linda Tay Esposito is a food business consultant with a focus on building equitable food systems. Linda’s work centers around helping food businesses flourish through the intersectional lens of food, sustainability and equity. Most recently she led the development of La Cocina Municipal Marketplace – using food as a creative approach to economic development by offering affordable, healthy food options and safe spaces while providing accessible business opportunities for low income, immigrant, women food entrepreneurs. Her past experience includes growing Hodo Foods from an artisanal producer to nationwide distribution, as well as a long career in product development and marketing in consumer technology, banking and CPG. To keep herself rooted in the kitchen, Linda teaches Asian culinary classes at 18 Reasons and Milk Street Kitchen. Linda has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and did undergraduate studies in economic development at Smith College. In her free time, she plants hard-to-find Asian herbs at the community garden at Fort Mason.

2024 Judges

Carolyn Insley

Editor, Hardie Grant Publishing

Saeeda Hafiz

Wellness Policy Grants Manager, San Francisco Unified School District

Uli Maybach

President, Maybach Foundation

Jim Dodge

Chef, Author & Educator, Chef Jim Dodge

Michael Kalanty

Principal, Michael Kalanty, R&D Bakery

Brian Hogan Stewart

Host; Director, Salt + Spine; Bread & Butter

Claudia Carter

Executive Director, California Wheat Commission

Rosemary Mark

Owner, Culinary Consultant

Brandon Buza

, The Fermented Life

Zoé Mclaughlin

Chef, Zoé Mclaughlin


In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, grains entries must meet the following standards:

  • Grown in the USA or US territories.
  • Grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.
  • Grown from seeds that are:
    • Free of genetic modification
    • Open Source/Non-Patented Seed
  • Grown and milled using fair labor practices.
  • Grown with soil health in mind, including:*
    • Conservation tillage.
    • Cover crops.
    • Crop rotations.
    • Promotes biodiversity.
    • Rotational grazing.
  • Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity and inclusion in all levels of their business,** as exemplified through integrating these practices:
    • Creating a safe and healthy work environment where employees receive a fair wage, are safe and respected at work and have access to the resources they need to keep themselves healthy.
    • Offering a diversity, equity, and inclusion training to staff members and/or leadership annually.
    • Thoughtfully acknowledging the heritage of culturally-specific food on websites, packaging and/or marketing materials.
    • For the small percentage of Good Food community that operates on a significantly larger scale, meeting additional criteria related to board diversity, maternity leave and employment practices.**

Additional criteria for pasta and tortillas:

  • If made with inclusions and flavorings that are grown domestically, they are locally sourced wherever possible; traceable; and grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.***
  • If made with inclusions and flavorings that are not grown domestically on a commercial scale, they are farm-direct, certified organic or Fair Trade certified.***

* The Good Food Foundation will refer to Regenerative Agriculture guidelines to define “Soil Health” should there be any questions as to eligibility based on this criterion.
***Check if you are in the 2% of companies meeting the Good Food Foundation definition of large scale, and review the addition criteria on the Rules & Regulations page.
***If less than 2% of ingredients in the product do not meet this stipulation, the entry will not be disqualified.


Additionally, grains entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:

  • Flatbreads (Lavash, Naan, Pita)
  • Cereal Grains- Uncooked and dry (e.g., rice, barley, oats, wild rice, grits, cracked wheat, quinoa)
  • Legumes – Uncooked and dry (e.g., beans, lentils)
  • Pasta  (Fresh, Dry and Filled)
  • Tortillas

Cooking and Preparation Specs

Entrants will be able to specify cooking instructions including sorting, rinsing, soaking, water content and cooking time.

  • Grains, Legumes, and Pasta will be cooked in water with 1 tbsp. of sea salt per quart.
  • Legumes will be introduced in salted boiling water (105 to 110˚C) then the flame will be reduced to medium low to achieve a bubbly simmer for the time indicated by producer/packager (75 and 85˚C)
  • Pasta will be introduced in salted boiling water and stirred. Subsequently the pot will be covered until the water comes back to boiling then the temperature will be reduced to medium high to just below boil (90 to 95˚C)
  • Grains will be cooked based on the instructions indicated by the entrant.
  • Grains, Legumes, and Pasta will be cooked with San Francisco tap water in All-Clad cookware, on a gas stovetop.
  • Grains and Legumes will be cooked the day before selection and served to judges at room temperature.
  • Pasta will be cooked right before the tasting.
  • Tortillas will be heated on a dry, high heat cast iron skillet.