We do things a little differently.
We are food experts who believe in the power of storytelling.
We create awesome experiences that are fun, informative, and delicious.
We connect history, culture, and community with food.
We support exceptional local restaurants and food vendors.
We foster curiosity by spotlighting unexpected places and underserved neighborhoods.
And, above all else, we believe that the world is a good place with good people in it.
Akila McConnell Founder/Chief Eating Officer
kila McConnell is the founder, owner, and Chief Eating Officer of Atlanta Food Walks. She is also a food and travel writer who focuses on making local food in unexpected neighborhoods accessible to all.
Much to her delight, a lot of people like to call her a “food and travel expert,” including Conde Nast Traveller, USA Today, Yahoo.com, and About.com. She has written for numerous print and online publications, including National Geographic books, Wandr’ly, the Food Traveler’s Handbook, Atlanta Parent magazine and her own blog The Road Forks.
Akila grew up in Alabama and has lived in Atlanta for almost 20 years. In between, she spent three full years traveling across the world, eating and writing about the world’s best markets, restaurants, and food tours. Akila spends most of her free time meandering through farmer’s markets and cooking with her 4-year-old micro-foodie (who refuses fish nuggets in favor of locally smoked North Georgia trout).
Jennifer Hubbard Culinary Storyteller
ennifer has taken the advice and encouragement from family and friends to expand her passion for food beyond cooking classes, new restaurant finds and menu recommendations. She’s fully embraced the idea by becoming a culinary storyteller. Usually seen as the adventurous one for her food choices, she enjoys helping others step outside their comfort zone and discover things they never imagined they’d like, or even try.
Originally from Chicago, but having called Atlanta home for many years, the world’s busiest airport makes it convenient for Jennifer to indulge her passion for travel, as well. During the day, she advocates for underserved communities, developing programs that help them gain access to justice. As a food tour guide, she participates in community building in a different way, exposing people to unexpected hidden gems and bringing people together whose paths might not have otherwise crossed. Jennifer loves the fact that a simple meal can often become an experience to connect people and create great memories.
Lauren Owens Culinary Storyteller
auren calls herself a Georgia Apricot, because though she was born in Denver, Colorado, she has lived in Georgia since 1995. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Lauren has experienced the transformation of Atlanta’s foodie culture first-hand since her college years in Downtown Decatur.
Lauren grew up in the kitchen helping her mother and grandmother cook from the first moment she knew how to walk. She is passionate about feeding friends with reimagined classic Southern-inspired dishes and new recipes she thinks up on a daily basis. She currently resides in Midtown with her hilarious but handsome husband and their daughter, the newest foodie addition to their family.
Alaina Shapiro Culinary Storyteller
laina Shapiro is a native Georgia peach. She was born in Dekalb County, raised in Gwinnett near Stone Mountain Park, and graduated from Georgia State University in Atlanta with a degree in Journalism, Public Speaking, and Public Relations. She has been an events planner and consultant for over 10 years working with Emory University and many other charitable organizations, including helping raise over $150,000 for local non-profit organizations to bring awareness for childhood cancer.
Alaina joined the Atlanta Food Walks team because she loves being a local expert for food and fun in her city. She is always on the go, exploring all the attractions Atlanta has to offer, from sporting events to new restaurants to wine tastings and concerts.
Margaret Spencer Culinary Storyteller
argaret grew up in Minnesota but fell in love with the city of Atlanta when she moved here in 2010. She is a chiropractor by day, professional belly dancer sometimes, and food lover always. She is happy Atlanta is so dog friendly because she has two dogs, named Gryffindor and James Potter, that bring her much love and joy.
Margaret’s passions include good food, good wine, and good people, and she believes that food tastes better when it is made with love. She likes just about every food except black licorice.
Jennifer Tyler Culinary Storyteller
ennifer Tyler loves bringing people together while sharing great food and great stories, with stories involving food being especially welcome.
She was born in England but grew up in Lawrenceville, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, and has made her home in the city. In addition to being a Georgia girl, she is a classically trained Chef and a University of Georgia alum with degrees in Culinary Arts and a degree in Communications. She is always trying a new recipe, or trying out a new restaurant on her never-ending list. Jennifer believes that good company and good food are some of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures.
Joy Warren Culinary Storyteller
oy Warren lives up to her name because she exudes joy in life, food, and people. She is an inspirational author of the recently published youth inspirational book “Kingdom Star”, and singer/songwriter from Virginia where she attended Hampton University. As a musician, she has worked with Grammy Award-winning producers and artists from all over the country. However, she attributes the majority of her passion and growth as a person to her time serving in her family’s church as worship leader and youth pastor for a combined total of 18 years. Joy also founded the local social activism organization called The iForgive Movement, a movement to help relieve injustice through the simplicity and foolishness of forgiveness.
Joy grew up in Virginia Beach but loves the energy, opportunity, and history of Atlanta. She enjoys meeting new people, and making people laugh and feel loved, because hospitality is not just a southern thing: it’s a way of life!
Ashley Young Culinary Storyteller
shley Young is a small town girl with city slicker swagger! Originally from Maysville, North Carolina, she moved to Atlanta in 2014 and is happy to make Georgia her home away from home. Growing up, her parents taught her that food is always best with a generous heaping of love and she is thrilled to share her love of food and people as a Culinary Storyteller for Atlanta Food Walks.
After earning her Master’s Degree in Education at Clemson University, Ashley went on to live her dreams as a servant leader to advance the lives of others. She is currently a College Counselor and has been helping first-generation college students prepare for and transition to college for the past eight years. When Ashley is not busy leading food tours, you can find her training for a road race, finding a new kale smoothie recipe, or exploring local restaurants in Atlanta.