Creativity, social justice, and a dash of queer culture are on the menu today.

Food is often more than sustenance. It’s sharing, care, memory, and comfort.

For many of us, food is the only reason we stop during the day. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when we want to spend time with someone (dinner date, anyone?) and the easiest way to take care of ourselves.

Family, friends, dining experiences, and social media influence the way we see, cook, taste, and experiment with food.

The food industry wouldn’t be the same without people dedicated to the science, pleasure, and feel of food. Many of these creatives who are sharing their passion and talent hail from the LGBTQIA community.

Here are some of the LGBTQIA chefs, cooks, and food activists bringing their unique flavor to the food world.

Nik Sharma is a gay immigrant from India whose background in molecular biology became a vehicle for his love of food.

Sharma is a food writer at the San Francisco Chronicle and author of the award-winning blog A Brown Table. He shares heritage-inspired recipes like coconut chutney and Punjabi chole, along with creative treats like lemon rosemary ice cream.

Sharma’s first cookbook, “Season,” made the New York Times bestselling cookbooks list in fall 2018. His forthcoming book, “The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking,” explores how flavor is birthed from the visual, aromatic, emotional, audio, and textural experiences of food.

Sharma is just as attentive to the basics. He proves it in this list of pantry essentials to keep around for a rainy day. Find him on Twitter and Instagram.

Soleil Ho is a restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and, according to her Twitter bio, an ethno-food warrior.

Ho is the co-writer of “MEAL,” a culinary graphic novel and queer romance rolled into one. She was previously the host of the award-nominated podcast “Racist Sandwich,” which explores the political dimension of food.

Ho also appears in the anthology “Women on Food,” a showcase of radical female voices in the food industry.

She’s recently tackled the food media’s race problem and the way we’ve been talking about weight gain during COVID-19 lockdowns, and is committed to building a queer Vietnamese American community.

Ho doesn’t just love food. She’s prepared to tackle the issues within the industry. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Joseph Hernandez is a research director at Bon Appetit who lives with his husband and hedgehog in Brooklyn, New York.

Hernandez focuses on the relationship between food, wine, and travel, and is interested in creating inclusive food and wine spaces.

Take a look at his Instagram: Hello, duck fat tortillas with eggs, pepper jack cheese, and Cholula! And a hard yes to the perfectly imperfect chocolate zucchini cake.

Hernandez shares deeply personal and relatable meditations on his blog. His short essay, “On Citrus Season,” illustrates his lyrical approach to food, using phrases like “squishing falling suns beneath [your] feet” and “capturing a bit of sunshine under [your] claws.”

Catch him on Twitter.

Asia Lavarello is a queer woman specializing in Caribbean-Latin fusion on her website and YouTube channel, Dash of Sazón.

Lavarello’s husband and daughter join her in creating short videos showcasing the cooking process with delightful, danceable music. Every video includes recipes in the notes and on the website.

Dash of Sazón is all about flavor. How about Peru’s national dish, lomo saltado, for dinner?

Catch Lavarello on Twitter and Instagram.

DeVonn Francis is a chef and artist committed to creating uplifting spaces for people of color. He does this in part through the New York–based culinary event company that he founded, known as Yardy.

Francis looks to marginalized farmers to source ingredients, focuses on hiring women and trans people for Yardy events, and provides livable wages to his employees.

As the son of immigrants from Jamaica, Francis is ultimately interested in creating a food and agricultural design school there.

On his social media, Francis seamlessly mixes food and fashion. One moment he’s showcasing melon and white rum shaved ice. The next, stunning photos of Black people in ensembles that communicate confidence and power.

Francis brings bold and creative to another level. Follow him on Instagram.

Julia Turshen is a food equity advocate with an Instagram feed of unique food combinations you’ll want to try. Her writing prompts encourage her followers to think more deeply about food, like when she asks, “How can I make food speak to my experiences and serve as a vehicle for communication and change?”

Turshen has published several books, including “Feed the Resistance,” a handbook for practical political activism complete with recipes.

She’s been named one of the 100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time by Epicurious, and founded Equity at the Table, a database of women and gender nonconforming–professionals in the food business.

One of the beautiful things about food is the way it can be molded by instinct, culture, and creativity.

These seven LGBTQIA food influencers bring their backgrounds and interests to their work in ways that are generative and inspiring.

Creativity, social justice, and a dash of queer culture are on the menu today.

Alicia A. Wallace is a queer Black feminist, women’s human rights defender, and writer. She is passionate about social justice and community building. She enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, traveling, and talking to everyone and no one at the same time on Twitter.