Aramark’s Workforce Gets Educated with Beyond the Plate Series, Led by Dr. Jessica B. Harris

Aramark, the largest U.S.-based food service company, is rolling out a new educational series for its workforce called “Beyond the Plate.” This series aims to provide continuous insights into cultural celebrations and related foods. The inaugural session, led by renowned culinary historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris, delves into the significance of foods associated with African American communities, aligning with Black History Month in February. The Beyond the Plate series aims to equip Aramark employees with knowledge to plan and offer meals that resonate with the diverse communities they serve.

Fenimore Fisher, Aramark’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, conducted a conversation with Dr. Harris, exploring the historical importance of African continent-related foods in shaping American culinary traditions. This discussion serves as the foundation for the series and will be accessible to all Aramark management to foster a deeper understanding of the foods they provide.

Dr. Harris, a highly regarded authority on the food of the African Diaspora, is a New York Times bestselling author with 18 books to her name, including 12 cookbooks documenting diverse foodways. Her acclaimed book, “High on the Hog,” inspired the Netflix series of the same name. Dr. Harris, who consults internationally and leads the Culinary Institute of America’s team in establishing an African Diaspora concentration, has contributed to conceptualizing the cafeteria for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.

Fisher expressed gratitude for Dr. Harris’s insights, emphasizing the importance of history in driving innovation and equity. Dr. Harris will further share her expertise as the keynote speaker at Aramark’s LEAD (Leaders and Employees of African Descent) Summit in February, where she will engage in a question-and-answer session and book signing.

Aramark’s commitment to a culture rooted in fairness and respect is evident in its educational initiatives, such as the Chef Spotlight launched in 2021. This program, celebrating the diversity of Aramark’s culinary talent, highlights chefs making a positive impact on the organization and its guests by honoring culinary traditions.

Acknowledged by various organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, Black Enterprise, Disability Equality Index, and Fair360 in 2023, Aramark remains dedicated to inclusive leadership, service, and recruitment practices. The launch of “Beyond the Plate” and the engagement with Dr. Harris underscore Aramark’s ongoing commitment to its Be Well. Do Well. strategy, emphasizing its dedication to people, the planet, and the community.

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