TikTok Star Alexis Nikole Nelson is Nominated for a James Beard Award

Columbus' 'Black Forager' continues her bid for world domination.

Dave Ghose
Columbus Monthly
Alexis Nikole Nelson is behind the popular TikTok and Instagram videos based on her experience and advice on foraging. (Photo by Tim Johnson)

Alexis Nikole Nelson has added another major honor to her growing list of accolades, which already includes internet fame, national magazine profiles and a TV commercial with Martha Stewart. The James Beard Foundation announced Wednesday that the Columbus TikTok star is a finalist for one of its prestigious Media Awards.

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Nelson was nominated in the Social Media Account category in the broadcast division of the awards. Other nominees are KJ Kearny (@BlackFoodFridays, on TikTok and Instagram) and Aleya Zenieris (@Buzzfeed Tasty, on TikTok and Instagram). 

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Over the past year, Nelson, @AlexisNikole on TikTok and @BlackForager on Twitter and Instagram, has attracted millions of followers to her funny and informative posts that offer advice on how to identify and cook edible plants that can be found in the wild and in backyards. She's been featured in The New York Times, Bon Appétit and Rolling Stone, as well as segments on The Kelly Clarkson Show and The Drew Barrymore Show. She also is writing a cookbook for Simon Element, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is scheduled to be released in 2023.

"My only friend who has read any of the manuscript so far, his biggest critique is that I made too many jokes about acorns wearing tiny hats," she told Columbus Monthly in January. "And honestly, I feel like if that doesn't mean it's written in my voice, I don't know what does."

The James Beard Foundation is best known for its awards bestowed on chefs and authors. Previous local media honorees are ice cream maven Jeni Britton (2012 winner, books), Kitchn editor Faith Durand (2015 winner, books) and Little Eater founder Cara Mangini (2017 finalist, books). In 2020, two other locals, barbecue master James Anderson and pastry chef Spencer Budros, were semifinalists in chef categories. But the foundation's Media Awards program also honors broadcasters, journalists and even online digital creators like Nelson. 

This year's nominees were announced in real time on the foundation's Twitter feed. Winners will be revealed during a June ceremony in Chicago. 

MOM, IM JAMES BEARD NOMINATED 😭💗🙌🏾 @beardfoundation https://t.co/1YeH4vfHM6

— Alexis Nikole Nelson (@blackforager) April 27, 2022