Adrian Lipscombe


A panel discussion about the need for diversity in the baking industry.

The first breadmaking machine was invented by Joseph Lee, a son of slaves. So, it’s a bit surprising that today’s bread-making industry presents such a stark lack of diversity. Award-winning author and renowned food historian, Toni Tipton-Martin will lead a frank discussion with well-known Chefs Adrian Lipscombe and Erika Council about the homogenous nature of the industry. What is it about the history and traditions of bread baking that have yielded so little professional diversity? Are the barriers to entry systemic at this point? What will it take to attract more young bread bakers of color? How do we reveal to them the economic viability of the profession, when so few bakers look like them? The distinguished women will share perspectives and insights based on their own pioneering careers in food & beverage. Their opinions are informed by first-hand experience and their vision for the future is enlightening as well as encouraging.

Adrian Lipscombe, a native Texan, is the owner of Uptowne Café.  She opened Uptowne Café restaurant on the Northside of La Crosse, WI to create a catalyst of urban change, and at the same time she works with the community to help revitalize the area. Uptowne is a hearth for the community and also a community impact space. It carries an open-door policy and provides a safe haven to everyone in the community.  Adrian’s food focuses on southern cuisines by using local ingredients and working with farmers in the Coulee Regional and Organic Valley area. Being a Southerner and using Midwest ingredients has provided a wonderful synergy of exploring cultures, foraging, and creating innovative dishes. Adrian draws her inspiration and storytelling through experiences from life and African American culinary history to tell the story of African American influence in our food culture today. She combines her experience in Southern food and desserts to bring honest food to the table to feed friends, family and the community.


Currently, Adrian is working on the 40 Acres Project. 40 Acres Project mission is to preserve the legacy of black agriculture and black foodways by the purchase of black owned land to practice traditional Black agriculture methods to provide resources for the food industry, create education opportunities, safe haven for historical archive information on traditional Black agriculture and foodways and provide partnership with organizations, Black farmers and the hospitality industry. 


Adrian also holds a Masters in Architecture and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin concentrating on the behavior of minorities to land use and transportation.