[Longtime Center for Culinary Enterprises Client] Chef Kurt Evans Is Fighting for Criminal Justice Reform—One Dinner at a Time

Chef Kurt Evans

Media Outlet


Avalon Hinchman

Kurt Evans, born and raised in Southwest Philadelphia, is a chef by trade. His career aspirations were nurtured by the intimate relationship between food and family he experienced growing up. “I got involved in cooking at an early age through my grandmothers,” whom Evans affectionately dubs “cooking machines.” 

With over a decade's worth of experience in the culinary field under his belt, Evans has earned himself the nickname “cheftivist”’—a nod to his penchant for using food and cooking as a method of activism. He sees food “as a vehicle to be able to talk about mass incarceration, food insecurity, [and] racial systemic issues.” 

Specifically, Evans is passionate about criminal justice reform. Watching several of his own family members go to prison added a personal dimension to his fight against mass incarceration. The ethos that drives Evans’ work is simple: He wants to help his community, using his skills as a chef to organize for justice.

“There have been so many issues that have been compounded on society... How can we educate people in ways where they [know where] to get help?”   - Chef Kurt Evans

...The most recent EMI dinner was held on Sept. 10 at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises in West Philly. Alexandra Hunt, who ran for Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District this year on a progressive platform, was already seated at a table, chatting enthusiastically with the person sitting next to her. Past iterations of Evans’ EMI dinner series have drawn several other local politicians, including District Attorney Larry Krasner and Councilmembers at–large Kendra Brooks, Isaiah Thomas, and Helen Gym.