Monday, March 13, 2023

Kendall Vanderslice

It’s just by chance (or the humor of God) that I ended up in a field so fitting. I’m a baker and writer, whose best thinking occurs as I work dough between my hands; I scribble down thoughts on pieces of parchment dusted in flour, until I can parse them out later before my keyboard. When I embarked on a career as a pastry chef, I found that my love of bread transformed the ways I read scripture. Fascinated by God’s use of food throughout the arc of the Gospel, I merged my work in the kitchen with academic study of food and theology.

I founded the educational nonprofit Edible Theology as an outlet for further research and public engagement in this sphere. You can get a taste for our work by listening to our weekly podcast Kitchen Meditations.

I’m a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois (BA Anthropology), where I began engaging questions of food and faith. Interested in commensality—or, the social dynamics of eating together—I studied food at Boston University (MLA Gastronomy). My thesis on church meals sparked a range of theological questions, leading me to Duke University where I wrote a thesis on the theology of bread (MTS). In 2018 I was named a James Beard Foundation national scholar for my work on food and religion.

Reflection questions for further engagement:

-What was your relationship to bread growing up?
-When have you seen God provide for you in simple ways, like praying for daily bread?
-Have you ever experienced a meal that led to deep community?