Curiosity in indigenous culinary practices, combating the effects of a sedentary lifestyle to taking steps to rise above homelessness, these determined chefs have used the power of food to enhance their lives and the lives of others.

Jason Mercado

Cookie maker and baker extraordinaire Jason Mercado’s love for baking is matched only by his love for helping others which is how his company Sweet Mission came to be. Sweet Mission’s long-term goal is to train and employ individuals from vulnerable backgrounds, including the homeless, to deliver superb products while offering hope and a foundation to those in need of a second chance.

Carmen Melgozas

Carmen Melgoza had a successful accounting career, but a sedentary lifestyle took its toll. She founded the Latino Fit Club, an online publication with an emphasis on health, nutrition, fitness and well-being for the Hispanic community. For herself and her social media following, Melgoza transforms “unhealthy” Latin dishes into healthy ones by simply swapping out fatty or high-salt content ingredients for nutrient-rich ones.

Shannon Kring

On Chef Shannon Kring’s pursuit of discovering quality ingredients worldwide, she became a global advocate for sustainable farming practices and the rights of indigenous people who till the land. Now an Emmy-winning documentarian, Kring is currently producing the television series “Sacred Foods” and recently released the feature film “End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock.”

Read more about these chef’s incredible journeys and how they’ve positively impacted others through their taste-making prowess.

By Eva Barrows