About

The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) are Peabody Award winning independent producers. Their non-profit 501c3 production company is dedicated to creating public media and educational programs that work to build community through storytelling.

The Kitchen Sisters are the creators of hundreds of stories for public broadcast about the lives, histories, art and rituals of people who have shaped our diverse cultural heritage. They are the producers of the duPont-Columbia Award-winning NPR series Hidden Kitchens, the two Peabody Award-winning NPR series, Lost & Found Sound and The Sonic Memorial Project, with Jay Allison. They are also the producers of The Hidden World of Girls, a series on NPR that explored the lives of girls and the women they become and The Making Of…, about what people make in the Bay Area and why, a production with KQED and AIR.

Hidden Kitchens heard on Morning Edition, explores the world of secret, unexpected, below the radar cooking across America—how communities come together through food. The series inspired their first book, Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes, and More from NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2005 and nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Writing on Food.

Lost & Found Sound, a national collaboration that went on air in 1999 chronicles American life through recorded sound. In 2001-2002 The Kitchen Sisters created and spearheaded The Sonic Memorial Project, a collection of radio stories and audio artifacts, a website and archive (www.sonicmemorial.org) commemorating the life and history of the World Trade Center and its neighborhood. This nationwide cross-media collaboration was awarded the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York Award for most innovative use of archives and the NFCB Golden Reel for Best Hour-Long Radio Documentary.

Other recent work includes the radio special Hidden Kitchens Texas, narrated by Willie Nelson, which was nominated for a James Beard Award and the inspiration for their second book, Hidden Kitchens Texas: Stories, Recipes and More from the Lone Star State, and Cry Me a River, a portrait of three pioneering river activists and the damming of wild rivers in the West, that aired as part of the series, Stories from the Heart of the Land.

The Kitchen Sisters began their radio lives producing a weekly live radio program in the late 70’s on KUSP-FM in Santa Cruz, California. Their early interest in gathering oral histories greatly influenced their style of production. Their radio documentaries have been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition, the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Smithsonian, California Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, Soundprint, and others.

Some of The Kitchen Sisters noted stories include: Waiting for Joe DiMaggio; The Nights of Edith Piaf, Carmen Miranda- the Life and Times of the Brazilian Bombshell; WHER—1000 Beautiful Watts-The Nation’s First All-Girl Radio Station in the World; Guillermo Cabrera Infante: Memories of an Invented City; Tupperware; The Road Ranger; and War and Separation.

The Kitchen Sisters are involved in educating and training new voices for public media in an imaginative, artistic and creative approach to storytelling. They have taught at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, University of California Santa Cruz Social Documentary Graduate Program and frequently lecture and provide training at universities throughout the country and abroad. They have an active internship program and work with emerging producers, college students, and youth radio apprentices.

The Kitchens Sisters give public presentations and conduct live onstage interviews at festivals, conferences, radio stations, public forums, universities and events throughout the country (see calendar). They conduct regular workshops in San Francisco and around the country, most recently at WNYC in New York City and KUOW in Seattle.

In addition to producing radio, Davia Nelson is also a screenwriter and casting director. She lives in San Francisco. Nikki Silva is also a museum curator and exhibit consultant. She lives with her family on a commune in Santa Cruz, California.

Nathan Dalton, Producer, began working with the Sisters in 2006. He is The Kitchen Sisters’ web master, multimedia/video guru and go-to music guy. He spent much of his youth touring the country and playing music with a variety of bands, but these days can usually be found haunting the farmer’s markets and shuffling through the library stacks of Berkeley, CA, where he lives with his beautiful family.
Laura Folger, Associate Producer and Designer, began working with The Kitchen Sisters in 1999 at the beginning of Lost & Found Sound. As a longtime friend, she jumped on board to help launch the series and never looked back. She collaborates as a photographer and graphic designer for The Kitchen Sisters visual materials and online sites.
Jim McKee, our kitchen brother, has been our sound designer and engineer for Lost & Found Sound, The Sonic Memorial Project, Hidden Kitchens, Hidden World of Girls and beyond. He is co-founder of Earwax Productions voted best sound design team in San Francisco.

The Kitchen Sisters Productions Board of Directors:
Alan Acosta
Mara Brazer
Marc Hand
Frederic Marienthal
Davia Nelson
Nikki Silva
Marlene Saritzky

The Kitchen Cabinet:
Jay Allison
Paul Auster
Joe Boyd
Eleanor Coppola
Andrei Codrescu
Mark Danner
Susie Franklin
Angelo Garro
Sandra Wong Geroux
David Giovannoni
Peter Guralnick
David Isay
Phil Kaufman
Cindi King
Robert Krulwich
Tom Luddy
Michael Ondaatje
Anne Pasternak
Bonnie Raitt
Joshua Robison
Cristina Salas-Porras
Ellen Sebastian Chang
Chris Strachwitz
Michael Tilson Thomas
Alice Waters
Barbara Wollner
Howard Wollner

CONTACT INFO:
The Kitchen Sisters
916 Kearny
San Francisco, CA 94133
415-788-0290
kitchen [at] kitchensisters [dot] org