Nashville VegFest

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Guest Speaker Information

Guest Speaker Information

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Jess Rice - DEMO


Jess Rice is a dedicated advocate of the plant-based lifestyle and has created gourmet, organic cuisine across the United States. In her former career, Rice worked in public relations and marketing. She was drawn to experiment with plant-based foods in response to the toll late nights spent networking and long days sitting at a desk eventually took on her health. She experienced life-changing results once she eliminated animal-based foods, GMOs and gluten from her own diet. Gradually, she began helping others do the same and decided to pursue formal training as a chef and health coach.

Leaving her sedentary office job, Rice focused on her business full-time, supplying local eateries (The Wild Cow, Juice Bar, 8th & Roast) with healthy raw foods and began teaching plant-based nutrition classes independently and with Metro Nashville’s Community Education Commission. Between 2013 and 2014, Rice completed culinary training at celebrated chef Matthew Kenney’s Culinary Academy in Santa Monica, California, and obtained detox coaching certifications and holistic chef certifications with Naturopath Dr. Amy Rachelle in Indonesia.

In 2015, Rice opened Avo and made waves in the vibrant dining scene in Nashville; Avo is the first plant-based restaurant to win “Best New Restaurant” in the annual and highly-anticipated Nashville Scene’s Reader’s Poll. Rice’s taking a completely health-focused and locally-sourced approach to preparing plant-based cuisine has set her ahead of the pack. Jess was also named one of the “Hottest Plant- Based Chefs” in the country in Thrive Magazine in 2016 before she appeared as the keynote speaker at the inaugural Nashville VegFest in 2016. Rice sold Avo in February of 2016. The restaurant is still open on Charlotte Ave in West Nashville.

Most recently, Rice has toured with Neil Young as his personal chef. Jess has cooked for a number of other artists including Depeche Mode, Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, Wayne Coyne, and Kellie Pickler. Jess will be appearing on Trisha Yearwood's Food Network show, "Trisha's Southern Kitchen" on March 17th, 2018 at 9:30am CT.

Photo by Hope Anderson, Edible Nashville Magazine.

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