Author, activist, entrepreneur, educator and global citizen are just a few titles that describe Connecticut-born Chef Jay Lewis.
Lewis was recently hosted by Webster University’s Ghana Campus in a food-centric workshop themed, “Going Beyond Sustainability.”
Familiarly known as “Chef Jay,” the executive chef is a member ambassador of the United States and African Development Organization (USAADO) and was featured on CNN this past January for initiating the #ShutDownHunger movement, which helped provide free meals to federal workers during the 2019 government shutdown. Lewis is also affiliated with the African Renaissance Diaspora Network (ARDN), of which Webster University is a proud partner.
During his inspirational talk, the chef – a food entrepreneur and champion for social justice — engaged students on the relevance of environmental social governance (ESG), showing them the power they wield as culturally diverse and educated consumers and soon-to-be investors, to encourage companies to “do the right thing.”
Lewis challenged the students to understand the philosophy behind the concept of sustainability beyond just veganism, growing non-GMO foods and doing away with the wasteful splendor that defined wealth and status in the past. He taught how humanity and ethics lie at the very core of sustainability and how we all have the influence to make this a priority in life, be it through reducing meat consumption and/or collaborating for the greater good.
The energized and interactive session encouraged students to think critically and identify ways in which young Africans across the continent can make a difference. One way is by supporting ESG-compliant companies who are focused on closing the gender gap on equal pay, fair wages, care for the environment and hiring women and people of color.
Chef Lewis presented Campus Director, Christa Sanders, a citation from the General Assembly of Connecticut, Lewis's home state, as a show of gratitude for bringing him to Ghana and working towards a better tomorrow.
Students were excited at the end of the talk when Lewis tossed across the room a number of his spice products to sample, which will hopefully hit shelves at Whole Foods across the country in the future.
The event concluded with a heartfelt show of appreciation to the Campus Director, Christa Sanders, and the Ghana Campus staff by handing over of a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly in recognition of Webster Ghana’s “unwavering commitment to education and social justice.” Chef Jay promised that though his visit was brief, he hoped that this was just the very beginning of his work in West Africa as well as future collaborations with Webster University.