Awesome Community Chefs – Noah Kantrowitz

The Chef community is full of many awesome individuals who contribute and do exceptional things every day. Each year at ChefConf, three individuals are awarded the Awesome Community Chef award. The Awesome Community Chef awards are a way for the community to recognize a few of the individuals who have made a dramatic impact and have helped further the cause.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • We ask the Chef community for nominations
  • We tally the nominations
  • The previous winners make the selection with total nominations as a guide but not the only deciding factor
  • We announce the winners at ChefConf
  • The winner must not work at Chef Software, Inc.

Rules are sometimes meant for breaking

From time-to-time it’s necessary to break the rules. Today is one of those times.

I am delighted to announce that Noah Kantrowitz (aka coderanger) is the first of our Awesome Community Chefs for 2015. Noah is a long-time Chef community member who’s helped countless people on IRC, the mailing list, StackOverflow, and in-person. Wherever there’s a Chef in need, Noah has been there. This year Noah has helped revive our RFC process and has been extremely active helping us define and start implementing our new governance and maintenance policies. In short, Noah is awesome!


When I polled the previous Awesome Chefs there was universal agreement that we should break the rules and not wait for ChefConf to announce Noah’s award. Not surprisingly, there were others in the community who had already nominated Noah. Here are just a few quotes from some of the nominations:

  • “In times of need and confusion, Noah is there to help you. It doesn’t matter if they are just installing Chef for their first time, or working on a patch to Chef core. Noah is there to help. His efforts go beyond just Chef.”
  • “Noah has done more than anyone to make Chef more community driven. He’s present every day, he communicates clearly, and he really works hard to be inclusive of everyone.”
  • “He’s saved my bacon multiple times in the IRC chat as well as anyone else who has come in search of the way.
  • “Noah was there on IRC helping me through struggles with my very first Chef server installation.”
  • “Noah has done so much; I don’t think I would have gotten to where I am without his help. <3”
  • “Noah has been incredibly active in responding to beginner questions.”

Noah will receive all the prizes and benefits awarded to this year’s Awesome Community Chefs. Since we’re breaking the rules, we don’t yet know what those prizes and benefits will be this year, so he’ll receive them at ChefConf (at the latest).

Next time you see Noah on twitter, in IRC, or in person, please give him a #hug and thank him for being an Awesome Community Chef!

[Addendum 31 Jan 2016]

Why now? Why break the rules?

This question has come up in various forms since this post was originally published so I’m adding this information to the post.

Noah recently announced his intent to wind down some of the work he’s been doing in the Chef community. We truly appreciate everything Noah’s done to support and grow this community.  The previous Awesome Chefs and I agreed that Noah should be recognized immediately, before he winds down.  So, we broke the rule and announced his award.

Nathen Harvey

As the VP of Community Development at Chef, Nathen helps the community whip up an awesome ecosystem built around the Chef framework. Nathen also spends much of his time helping people learn about the practices, processes, and technologies that support DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and Web-scale IT. Prior to joining Chef, Nathen spent a number of years managing operations and infrastructure for a number of web applications. Nathen is a co-host of the Food Fight Show, a podcast about Chef and DevOps.