Audi of America and global hospitality nonprofit MAD name six recipients of The LA Scholars Award

HERNDON, Va.Audi of America and MAD announce the six recipients of the LA Scholars Award presented by Audi. This scholarship award is part of the brand’s collaboration with Copenhagen-based Restaurant Noma, and with the food and hospitality nonprofit MAD, reinforcing a shared passion for innovation, focused on sustainability and commitment to driving a positive change.

* Six scholarship recipients from the LA hospitality community to attend MAD Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark

* LA Scholars Award presented by Audi will prepare emerging leaders in hospitality to shape food systems of the future

* Recipients selected based on their ambition and passion for positive change

The L.A. Scholars Award, MAD’s most comprehensive scholarship to date, is a pivotal program that will provide a remarkable opportunity for six recipients from the Los Angeles Hospitality community to attend the innovative MAD Academy in Copenhagen and learn how to adopt more sustainable practices that can impact and inspire others when they return home.

Each scholarship recipient will receive full tuition to one of MAD Academy’s 2022 five-day programs including: Leadership & Business, or Environment & Sustainability. The award also provides roundtrip airfare to Copenhagen, six nights’ accommodation, meals, and program materials. In addition, the six LA Scholars will become part of MAD Academy’s global alumni community-a network of driven change makers and peers within hospitality.

‘We are thrilled to work with the food and hospitality nonprofit, MAD, reinforcing a shared passion for innovation, a focus on sustainability and a commitment to driving a positive change,’ says Tara Rushchief marketing officer, Audi of America. ‘We can’t wait to see the ideas these hospitality scholars bring back home to Los Angelesand witness how they will illuminate the future of sustainability for us all.’

More than 500 hospitality professionals from over 35 countries have attended the MAD Academy in Copenhagento acquire the tools, inspiration, and skills they need to pursue innovative solutions and transform the status quo.

Melina Shannon-DiPietro, executive director of MAD, says, ‘At MAD Academy, we ask ourselves: How might we build a restaurant industry with better working conditions and a more inclusive kitchen environment? How do we create an industry that works to contribute solutions to climate, environment, and biodiversity, while preserving the deliciousness and pleasure of the restaurant experience?’

The LA Scholars Award recipients were selected based on their ambition and passion for positive change, as well as hospitality experience and the ability to implement the lessons learned at MAD Academy.

LA Scholars Award recipients include:

Jacque Pinto-Brickhouse is the incoming Executive Chef at The Overland in Redlands, California, and an advocate for Black, Latinx, and indigenous farmers. His goal is to empower other young people of color in hospitality to make decisions that will impact their own communities and the planet for the better.

Jason Lee is the Beverage Manager at n/soto and is actively involved in LA’s mutual aid scene, advocating for fair housing and labor practices and humane services for unhoused people. He hopes to use his Academy experience to gain insights and skills toward creating more equitable hospitality businesses for workers and communities.

Jennifer Clausen-Quiroz co-owns Tocumbo Ice Cream, a small-batch Mexican-style ice cream store in Anaheim founded by her immigrant parents, and is seeking ways to grow and strengthen the business with her brother as her parents transition into retirement. She wants to lead by example as an entrepreneur in the local Latino community.

Laura Hoang is Chef de Cuisine at Pearl River Deli, one of the most exciting culinary destinations in LA’s vibrant Chinatown. They hope to use their deep engagement with the LA food community to spread learnings from the Academy and create their own programs to promote sustainable change.

Sarah Brown is part of a worker-owned co-op, Proof Bakery Cooperativeone of the first cooperative food businesses in Los Angeles. Her goal is to share what she learns about leadership and sustainable business practices with her team to fuel collective growth.

Zumi Izumi Mizokami is a lead cook at Yang’s Kitchen, an organizer, and an artist. They are currently strategizing ways to weave political education into the everyday workplace, to personalize the food industry culture, and evolve toxic power dynamics. They aim to create a work environment where mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual healing can unfold.

At Audi of America, we believe the Future is Electric. By 2025, our US model lineup will be 30 percent electrified, including fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Globally, we are committed to net CO2 neutrality by 2050. In 2021, Audi sold 196,038 vehicles in the US and more fully electric models than ever before, with electric vehicle deliveries up by more than 50% over 2020. Learn more about who we are and how we’re working to create a more sustainable, innovative, and inclusive future at or


MAD (Danish for food) is a nonprofit organization that empowers the global hospitality community with the tools, inspiration, and knowledge to make a difference in their restaurants and the world. MAD was founded in Copenhagen, Denmarkin 2011 by Rene Redzepichef and owner of restaurant noma, with the ambition of transforming hospitality and driving change in food systems.

Since the very beginning, MAD has led important conversations about how the restaurant community can contribute to the health of the planet and positively contribute to the lives of those working in food. MAD’s programs include a Symposium; a series of public talks in major cities around the globe; media shared through books, publications, and online videos; and VILD MAD, free resources to explore nature through foraging. In 2019, MAD launched its most ambitious project yet: an Academy supporting the food and hospitality industry with tools and knowledge for change makers.

Media contact

Amanda Koons

Email: [email protected]


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