Annual 2022 - 2023 Issue: Empowerment

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Ancestral Drink Reclaimed in Colombia Kimberly Prince Honors Family Recipe Legacy in LA

Dwyane Wade Expands Passion for Wine


Annual 2022/2023

All for

C H IC K E N FOR A L L . More crispy chicken. More family faves.



V. Sheree Williams ART DIRECTOR


Tarik Assagai COPY EDITOR


Phyllis Armstrong, Ashia Aubourg, Margo Gabriel, Rekaya Gibson, Wanda Hennig, Ruksana Hussain, Angela P. Moore, Mia Nicole, Stephanie Teasley, Kalin Thomas CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Wes Naman, V. Sheree Williams RECIPE DEVELOPMENT & TESTING

Marta Rivera Diaz, Bianca Dodson, Brittany Fiero, Adrian Lindsay, Stefani Renee Thibodeaux Medley, Aline Shaw, Shani Walker ADVERTISING SALES


4100 Redwood Road, #20A-124 Oakland, CA 94619 CONNECT WITH US ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM (@CUISINENOIRMAGAZINE). Cuisine Noir is published by the multimedia nonprofit, The Global Food and Drink Initiative. Any views expressed in any advertisement, article or photograph are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Cuisine Noir or its parent company. © 2022 The Global Food and Drink Initiative. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from The Global Food and Drink Initiative.


his past September, I had the honor of traveling to Lisbon, Portugal, to speak at Congresso dos Cozinheiros or Cooks Congress, the country’s largest food and drink event, about our work in connecting the African diaspora through food, drink and travel. It would be my first international engagement and one that I will always remember. During my time there, I met so many amazing Black chefs, restaurateurs and business owners who are also excited and committed to telling their stories and the stories of their ancestors who hail from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and other African nations through food, arts and culture. Unlike here in the U.S., the sharing of their narratives by local media outlets is far less common and this is one of the reasons why Cuisine Noir exists. I came back more energized than before to make sure we continue to connect and amplify the voices and stories of our brothers and sisters around the globe. Last year’s theme for our annual issue was Resilience. This year it is Empowerment. Food is empowerment just as much as it is political and has the power to bring people together as well as separate in a way that does not benefit mankind. With each story in this issue, I continue to marvel in how amazing, tenacious, resilient and wonderfully made we are as people of African descent. This year marks 13 years that Cuisine Noir has been pioneering these amazing stories and I can honestly say that there hasn’t been a better time than now for those in food and drink to fully express themselves and their lineage through their passion and craft. To go deeper into stories, we launched our new podcast, Diaspora Food Stories, which you can listen to on Apple, Spotify and more platforms as well as at We have more than ten episodes available featuring chefs Tiffany Derry and Chris Scott, Food Network host Kardea Brown and the country’s first Black woman winemaker Iris Rideau. In 2023, we will introduce episodes that will be in other native languages that we speak as Black people to include Spanish, French, Portuguese and more, making us the first multilingual food podcast to do so. As we continue to support the important work everyone is doing, I want to thank those who are supporting us through our nonprofit The Global Food and Drink Initiative. Each donation helps us continue our work through Cuisine Noir and Diaspora Food Stories as well as advocate and build inclusive spaces for everyone to succeed and thrive. To support our work, go to to make a donation. All donations are 100% tax-deductible. Lastly, although our print issue is only once a year, you can find more inspiring stories and recipes online weekly at

To donate and support our work, visit www.

Until next year,

V. Sheree Williams Publisher WWW.CUISINENOIRMAG.COM







Since sharing her journey as a vegan five years ago, Tabitha Brown has pioneered success in the food world her way with a new cookbook.




7 OWNERSHIP AND FREEDOM Michael and Kwini Reed are building wealth and enjoying financial freedom through the success of their Los Angeles area restaurants.

21 FOOD THAT EMPOWERS Feel empowered in the kitchen with these recipes by collaborators of Eat the Culture and mixologist Adrian Lindsay.

15 HONORING LEGACY Jackie Summers crafts a childhood memory into an incomparable legacy.

28 FRUITS OF LABOR Urban gardening consultant Dominique Charles sows seeds of success with Plots & Pans.

18 EXPERIENCING BLACK LISBON From arts and culture, nightlife and amazing food, these Afro-Portuguese businesses deliver experiences built on community.

37 LIVING ABROAD Three women find fulfillment living abroad and provide helpful insights for others looking to do the same.






Mariane Oliveira

Brings the Tradition and Taste of Brigadeiros to Toronto BY V. SHEREE WILLIAMS


NEW PLACE, SAME PASSION Going from doing business in Brazil with her mom and becoming an entrepreneur in Canada was not a big step for Oliveira. “So I believe that the basics of being an entrepreneur is the same anywhere in the world. You change by the market, and you change the problem because I truly believe you adapt for the market you are going to, but the basics are the same,” she says. Mary’s Brigadeiro is now a very successful business located in the East End of Toronto. Inside the brown and white brick storefront with a yellow awning is an assortment of Oliveira’s hand-rolled chocolates that she creatively prepares herself. For those trying a Brigadeiro for the first time and liking it to a truffle, Oliveira clarifies, saying it’s a type of truffle but not the same as the one most are familiar with. “It’s a new experience in chocolate if you never try it because of the process.” Four main ingredients go into making Oliveira’s amazing Brigadeiros: sweetened condensed milk, butter, cocoa powder and chocolate. Oliveira places emphasis on having

good butter and good chocolate. From here, ingredients are cooked — not mixed — at the right temperature for a specific time. Cook too long, the chocolate becomes gooey and like caramel. Don’t cook long enough and it will be too soft to roll. Also, another important part of the process is where the ingredients are sourced from. Oliveira sources her chocolate from Belgium and France and cocoa from Brazil, Ecuador and Africa. Mary’s Brigadeiro offers at least 15 selections, with a few extra around the holidays with flavors to include Semi-Dark Pistachio, Passion Fruit & Toasted Coconut with Almonds and Mexican Spice. The shop’s signature Brigadeiro cookie is also a big hit, as is the Brigadeiro spread that is available in chocolate and coconut. Future plans include expanding to another facility that will allow Oliveira to increase production to meet growing demand. In addition to being the first to offer Brigadeiros in Canada, she currently ships all over the world, with the exception of Brazil and Russia due to regulations. To visit Mary’s Brigadeiro, stop by 1912 Danforth Avenue Tuesday through Saturday. Shop online at and follow on social media (@marysbrigadeiro) for updates and more.



hile growing up in São Paulo, Brazil, like most children, Mariane Oliveira watched her mom make the country’s traditional confection, Brigadeiros. The small balls of chocolate carefully cooked and decorated by her mom were synonymous with happiness and joyful moments spent with friends and family. Watching her mom also unknowingly offered Oliveira’s first glance at entrepreneurship. “It’s funny now that I feel like my entire life, I was receiving a free training of being an entrepreneur because when I switched my careers and decided to navigate into entrepreneurship work, it was familiar to me,” says Oliveira, who started Mary’s Brigadeiro in 2014. The Brazilian entrepreneur moved to Toronto, Canada, shortly before starting her business after visiting for two years and deciding to make the new city home. Not knowing anyone and also looking to build a life based on purpose, she noticed something was missing from the diverse culinary scene, Brigadeiros. “I never thought that like one day I would open my own business with something related to food,” she says. However, as the confection maker looks back, all of the building blocks were being laid and it would only be a matter of time. Before leaving Brazil, Oliveira says,” I was not happy with my life. So I took the time to figure things out and then I decided to help my mom formalize her business back in Brazil and pretty much I fell in love with the chocolate, for the Brigadeiro, for the story behind the Brigadeiro.” Oliveira’s full circle moment came while in Toronto and realizing she had the knowledge, know-how and passion to bring something new to the city. “I took the recipe that my mom gave to me and I decided to open a business here.”

Michael and Kwini Reed

Promote Self-Reliance and Purpose with Thriving LA Restaurants BY PHYLLIS ARMSTRONG



he power of ownership means different things to different people. The founders of two thriving California restaurants know exactly what that power means to them. They both laughed and exclaimed, “Freedom!” when asked about owning Poppy + Rose in downtown Los Angeles and Poppy & Seed in Anaheim. “It’s my avenue to release that training and everything else I worked on for so many years. You can do it yourself now and really have freedom,” says Michael Reed, owner and executive chef. His wife values the control it gives them. “Michael and I have worked for a lot of other people who don’t bring the quality of life to their employees. It’s important that we are owners that people want to work for,” Kwini Reed maintains.

I. FREEDOM TO BE Before opening their first restaurant in 2014, Michael and Kwini spent years in the corporate world. From the start, they wanted to make Poppy + Rose a welcoming environment for everyone. In the early years, the breakfast, lunch and brunch spot was not known for being Black-owned. “We’re just doing us and running our race the way that we articulate and visualize food as Black people,” Kwini explains. “We need to normalize that Black food and the expression of Black food is not just soul food or Caribbean food.” When banks turned down their loan applications, the Reeds built Poppy + Rose on sweat equity. Michael did most of the renovations. He then applied his culinary expertise

to serving seasonal and elevated comfort food. “Yes, I can cook all those classic cuisines. But for the restaurants we’re running right now, it’s really about what makes us happy and what makes our guests happy instead of being strictly into a certain cuisine.” Chef Michael graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and has worked at The Modern in NYC and Sona and Osteria Mozza in LA. Food critics have praised Poppy + Rose as one of the best in LA for breakfast and brunch, especially the chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits. “We are very unique in what we do. I’ve worked at fine-dining restaurants for most of my career. Opening our restaurants was necessary for the growth of our boutique catering company,” Michael says. WWW.CUISINENOIRMAG.COM


Poppy & Seed Duo Beef Pastrami NY Short Rib The executive chef started Root of All Food a decade ago. The catering company is exclusive and sought-after for its food service. It offers elevated cuisine and delivers in-home meals. “I’ve always had clients in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and the Pacific Palisades,” Michael acknowledges. “Over the years, we’ve had deliveries to musicians like Herb Albert and Gwen Stefani. We did bar mitzvahs and sold out penthouses in the W Hotel in Hollywood by throwing lavish parties.” II. POPPY & SEED EXPANDS PURPOSE Michael was running the catering company, the H Café, food service at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills and Poppy + Rose when the pandemic shut down restaurants. He and Kwini relocated to Orange County to be closer to her parents, who helped them care for their daughter MacKenzie. In May of 2021, the couple opened Poppy & Seed, fulfilling Michael’s dream of cooking dinner in a restaurant he owns. “I think Poppy & Seed allows us to be ourselves as Black owners and showcase what we want to do.” The chef applies classic techniques to global cuisines at Poppy & Seed. “For instance, the jerk duck leg is a classic French technique but has Jamaican roots. It is one of my favorite dishes on the menu,” he says. Other popular dishes include lobster and shrimp risotto and branzino. Poppy & Seed is surrounded by a lush garden from Heirloom Potager. Michael uses the garden’s produce and herbs on dishes from his kitchen. Kwini comments on how that empowers diners. “Michael’s creation of the garden is bridging the gap of sustainable eating. It’s getting people to think about the vegetables and the ingredients you use.” 8 CUISINE NOIR | ANNUAL 2022/2023

Kwini manages operations, accounting and human resources for the couple’s restaurants. She treasures the freedom to treat employees well and earn their loyalty. “The one thing I am most proud of is that we have employees who have signed on for the long haul and didn’t leave us during the pandemic.” The restaurateurs also help thousands who are hungry and homeless through food donations and fundraising. They teach culinary skills to formerly incarcerated workers and support children’s organizations, hospitals and social justice causes through their nonprofit, UNI (You and I). “It all boils down to whom much is given, much is required,” says Kwini. The Reeds and their staffs continue to hand out 20 to 30 meals daily and make other contributions to the needy, adding to their reputation as generous and caring entrepreneurs. “It’s not by accident. It’s by design. We’re in the places to be a benefit and blessing to other people,” Kwini adds. III. BUILDING BLACK WEALTH Chef Michael’s national recognition grew when he won both rounds of “Alex vs. America” on the Food Network. In an episode that aired in August, he beat out Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and two other competitors with his chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits brunch dishes. “It was stressful but pretty amazing. Win or lose, I stuck to what my restaurants do very, very well.” Michael took home a $10,000 prize. Now, he and Kwini are applying their formulas for success and empowering purpose to other ventures. The second location of Poppy + Rose is slated to open in San Pedro’s West Harbor project in 2024. “We do not have any investors. I’m extremely proud of that. We were able to do it

Poppy + Rose Brassica Salad off our own backs and on merit. We’re fortunate to be able to go to our family and say we’re falling short a little bit,” says Kwini. Michael echoes the importance of financial support from friends and family. “Through the pandemic and moving forward, our family has always been willing to put their money into it.” The couple believes sharing their knowledge and partnering with talented employees will build wealth in Black and Brown communities. “Our chefs are talented. They aren’t going to be with us forever. The difference is either we can compete against you, or we can work together,” Michael says. Kwini expresses why that matters. “We can really create our own destiny by creating our own businesses. If we want to change how people treat us in corporate America, we need to create our own corporate structures. We need to control how companies are run so they make us feel included and everyone else included.” Check out, and for more information on the Reeds. You can also look for their restaurants on Instagram and Facebook (@poppyandseedoc and @poppyandrosela).



hrough her work to document the extensive history and contributions of Black chefs to American cuisine and cuisines around the world as well as set the record straight, author and culinary historian Toni Tipton-Martin holds one of the oldest books published; a manual written in 1827 by Robert Roberts titled, “The House Servant’s Directory: A Monitor for Private Families.” Instructions noted in the table of contents include “To make excellent currant jelly,” “Most delicious lemonade to be made the day before,” “To preserve good wine unto the last” and “How to choose fish.” Another book would be documented as the first cookbook written by a Black author. “A Domestic Cook Book: Containing a Careful Selection of Useful Receipts for the Kitchen” was written by Malinda Russell in 1866, who included the title ”Experienced Cook” on the cover. The book, “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking” by Abby Fisher, who was formerly enslaved and as a free woman would earn culinary success while living in San Francisco, California, followed 15 years later in 1881. Since then, other cookbooks by Black chefs, cooks and mixologists have followed, but not as frequently and with the same resources as their White counterparts. Today’s publishing landscape for Black authors has grown but still lacks mainstream visibility and representation. One online store aims to change that. “It’s important to have a safe space to champion our work and to show our creativity. It’s my way of holding on to history and sharing it with the world, one book at a time,” says Rekaya Gibson, an author who has published several books as well as written over 50 cookbook reviews for Cuisine Noir. She created the Food Temptress Cookbook Store in 2021 as a one-stop online location for those looking to buy Black cookbooks without having to do an extensive search. In addition, the store also “pays homage to the mothers, grandmothers, and ancestors who have created edible, magical moments in the kitchen.” Gibson’s timely updates give visitors a sneak peek at upcoming releases so they can make room on the book shelve or kitchen counter. Staff picks highlight books that you need to pay extra attention to. Cookbook shopping can be a difficult task. But Gibson shares a few favorites to ease the culinary stress. To check out the entire store, visit You can also follow Gibson on Instagram and Facebook (@foodtemptresscookbookstore) for new releases and author talks.

The Food Temptress Cookbook Store Creates Space for Underrepresented Voices in Food

At the Table of Power: Food and Cuisine in the African American Struggle for Freedom, Justice and Equality – Diane M. Spivey, September 2022 A powerful book that details history and how African and African American cooking informed the foundation of American cuisine.

California Soul – Tanya Holland, October 2022 Holland’s third cookbook features more than 80 recipes rooted in a Black Southern cultural repertoire with a 21st-century sensibility using local, sustainable, chef-driven and seasonal ingredients.

Noodle Worship: Easy Recipes for All the Dishes You Crave from Asian, Italian and American Cuisines – Tiffani Thompson and Larone Thompson, October 2022 A curated collection to cook your favorite pasta and noodles at home with simple, straightforward and flavor-packed recipes for beginners and busy families.

Eat Plants, B*tch: 91 Vegan Recipes That Will Blow Your Meat-Loving Mind – Pinky Cole, November 2022 You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy these 91 recipes inspired by Cole’s restaurant success and plant-based lifestyle.


Philly Chef Kurt Evans Champions Change with Food and Storytelling


he power of storytelling can change lives. Just ask a Philadelphia chef whose mission is ending mass incarceration, promoting equal justice, battling systemic racism and feeding the hungry. “People congregate over food, so I definitely wanted to use my talent to bring people together to talk about these issues,” says Kurt Evans, founder of the End Mass Incarceration (EMI) Dinner Series. CHEF TO CHAMPION OF CHANGE

Chef Evans started his career climbing the ranks in restaurant kitchens. Then he saw the TV documentary “Time: The Kalief Browder Story.” The miniseries revealed what a 16-year-old African American went through when he was held at the Rikers Island jail complex for three years without trial for allegedly stealing a backpack. Browder was released in 2013 after charges were dropped. He hanged himself two years later. “He 10 CUISINE NOIR | ANNUAL 2022/2023

spent a lot of time in solitary confinement. He got out of jail and was on top of the world. He killed himself because of the trauma he suffered,” Evans recalls. The Philly native read Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” and watched Ava DuVernay’s Emmy Award-winning documentary, “13th.” The 2016 Oscar-nominated film explores the U.S. prison system and links to America’s history of racial discrimination and injustice. The knowledge he gained inspired the chef to change the course of his culinary career. “I wanted to take my platform as a chef and bring awareness to mass incarceration. The way I feel I can do that is through food and dinners.” Evans adds. EMI DINNERS In 2018, the chef convinced friends who owned restaurants to donate space for the End Mass Incarceration Dinner Series. He invited elected officials, judges, lawyers and activists

to hear former prisoners talk about their experiences. “Storytelling is very inclusive. I learned that people relate to others once they hear their stories,” Evans indicates. EMI’s founder sold tickets and attracted sponsorships. Before long, he made enough to give all of the proceeds to formerly incarcerated speakers, criminal justice reform groups and legal defense nonprofits. “We’ve had people who have been affected by the topics and the speakers, and then raise money for the issues,” explains Evans. The dinners support bail funds, legal clinics, re-entry programs, commutation causes and criminal reform organizations. In over a decade of hosting dinners in Philly, Houston, Miami and even Alaska, Evans and his backers donated more than $50,000. In 2021, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants named him one of its first Champions of Change. He and two other chefs were recognized for creating meaningful change during the COVID pandemic. “That was



amazing. I was the only one from the Western Hemisphere. I was honored,” says Evans. The U.S. justice systems currently hold close to two million people. According to Prison Policy Initiative, about 38% are Black, almost triple the number of African Americans in the country’s general population. A recent report by The Sentencing Project says that Blacks are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly five times the rate of Whites. Incarceration statistics motivated Chef Evans to host more than 20 EMI dinners. “At the regular End Mass Incarceration Dinner Series, we talked about the system as a whole,” says the activist. “Now, I want to highlight individuals who have unique stories and are doing work on the issues.” COOKING FOR COMMUNITY Evans uses some of the money donated by the 50 Best Restaurants and S. Pellegrino for a new cycle of dinners called “Stories of Resilience.” One EMI dinner this year featured Cynthia Alvarado as the storyteller. She focused attention on the abuse of women in the Pennsylvania prison system. The first speaker for the new dinner series

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did not commit the crimes that imprisoned him for 4,606 days. Hassan Bennett used a prison library to represent himself and prove his innocence. He now works for the Defender Association of Philadelphia and is a member of the new Citizens Police Oversight Commission. “What Hassan is doing with the money we raised for him is reaching out to people in neighborhoods to keep them out of jail. He’s really inspiring,” says Evans. The Champions of Change donation also supports Everybody Eats. Evans started the nonprofit with chefs Stephanie Nicole Willis, Aziza Young, Malik Ali and Gregory Headon during the pandemic. They sponsor food giveaways to address the absence of supermarkets and fresh produce in impoverished communities. Evans is revamping a school bus so Everybody Eats can roll into neighborhoods affected by food apartheid. “We’ll pull up and let people take fruits and vegetables.

As chefs, we’ll create recipe cards for culturally relevant foods because a lot of people haven’t learned how to cook produce.” The Philly activist and chef applies the love of cooking he learned from his grandmother to other projects. A cookbook he is writing will pay tribute to the platter food Evans describes as a part of Black culture. “Food has been a liberating tool for us, like the bus boycott movement, paying the rent and going away parties. Platter food is something that has sustained our community really well.” In the future, Evans plans to continue teaching young people the culinary arts for hospitality careers or life skills. “It means a lot, just being able to give people platforms through my social capital and my status as a chef.” Go to to find out more about this champion of change. You can also follow him on Instagram (@kurtcooks).




rom cooking for family, friends and colleagues to packing up and taking the taste of Africa and Nigerian cuisine to Ireland, the enjoyment Edizemi Onilenla, aka Mama Shee, has for cooking expands to new territory. “I have been feeding people all my life. I love cooking and most especially, I love people who love good food. I am not a great eater, but I can feed the world,” says Onilenla. The mother of three left her home country in 2002, hoping to start a new life for herself and her family in Ireland. Longing for a familiar taste of home, Onilenla noticed an absence of Nigerian products on the shelves in supermarkets. Staring at the shelves, she envisioned seeing them filled with African products, which would inspire her business. GOING AFTER THE VISION

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Edizemi Onilenla

Brings a Taste of Nigeria to Ireland BY ANGELA P. MOORE

project which I am so proud. The desire is to spread beyond Ireland and go global with all these varieties of tasty foods,” she says. THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING IN BUSINESS When sharing her entrepreneurial journey that took her from passion to profit, she says, “Going into business can be daunting, as it comes with a lot of sacrifice, truth and the hidden truth. The truth is you desire to own a business, and so all you think of is where to start. For example, the location, your customers, etc. The hidden truth for me is the cost to yourself, the sacrifice of the journey, and above all, do you love what you are doing. So, if you are starting a business, you must face the reality and do your due diligence on both truths.” She adds, “Don’t be afraid and don’t pro-

crastinate. My special focus to women, don’t leave business to men alone. We can do it better. We only need to encourage one another. There are lots of women entrepreneurs in the world, but not many women aspire big. I am not one yet, but I aspire to take my business to the level that I become a billionaire in it. Staying focused at your goal is key, and you must always know your USP (unique selling point). Don’t give in for less; always strive for excellence. Don’t be afraid to fail; failure is good. When you fail, jump up and know that a new door has opened because you have just learned from your mistake. Nothing is easy, but you will get there.” Visit Edizemi Onilenla and Mama Shee online at and follow her journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@mamashee).


“I became curious and began to research and imagine our meals and snacks like jollof rice, suya, kilishi, etc. This imagination soon turned into a passion and a challenge which eventually propelled me to start my food business,” says Onilenla, who started her company Mansion Foods in 2019, which produces the brand Mama Shee. Onilenla took a food course at the recommendation of her local enterprise office before joining the SuperValu Food Academy to take her business idea to the next level. Today, Mama Shee products are stocked in 12 SuperValu stores throughout Ireland. “The main goal is to promote my Nigerian culture through food and to let the world know that we have good food in Nigeria; delicious and organic. I also observed that when we Africans set up a business it is usually among ourselves. We do not extend to our host community, so I was determined to see my jollof rice on an Irish shelf. So, I started my research by looking at what will be most acceptable, stress free and at the same time marketable,” says Onilenla. Mama Shee’s product line includes Onilenla’s spices, kilishi or Nigerian beef jerky and suya. The brand also specializes in jollof rice, rice and beans, plantains, sweet corn and suya spices. Her spices and meals are available in SuperValu, a dream come true for Onilenla and a first in Ireland. “I am proud to say it’s the best in the world,” she says. “It is worthy to note that I make kilishi with 100% Irish beef and my suya as well. Some Nigerians, when they eat it, thought I brought it from Nigeria. It took me over seven years to be able to make kilishi, so that is my baby

Product Reviews

Small businesses are the backbones of our communities. These curated Black-owned products or brand collaborations boast flavor, versatility and a taste of culture. Browse our selection and show your support. - Rekaya Gibson, Product Curator

Mama’s Creation Foods, Baobab Balance & Beauty Blend | $16.50 (7 oz) This superfood blend includes red hibiscus, ginger, banana and of course its main ingredient, baobab, to deliver several benefits including antiinflammatory, skin hydration and support of the immune and digestive systems. Add it to smoothies, acai bowls and more.

Awaze Saba Sauce, Taste of Mekele Authentic Berbere With Basil | $9.99 (1.6 oz) This gourmet spice blend offers a taste of Ethiopia with the versatility to enhance the flavor of other dishes such as pizza, pastas, salads and more. Combine with the sauces for the ultimate palate pleaser.

Burlap & Barrel + Belmont Estate, Caribbean Bay Leaf | $9.99 (1.5 oz) Out of Grenada comes hand-picked Turkish laurel leaves that pack more of a punch when it comes to savory and herbal tasting notes. They add depth and complexity to hearty dishes, marinades, dips and more.

Nouveau Creations, Jalapeño Cheddar Grits | $12.99 (16 oz) The stone ground grits get better with each bite. The subtle jalapeno and cheddar add flavor that everyone can enjoy. The tasty grains are handy and take the guesswork out of cooking. www.nouveaucreations.

The Walnut Tree, Italian Organic Ground Walnut Meat | $14.99 (8 oz) This delicious, plantbased meat alternative will have the house smelling like a pizzeria. The appearance and texture resemble ground beef. The well-seasoned walnut mixture is versatile and convenient with its green peppers, onions and garlic. Available at Union Kitchen in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area only.

Burlap & Barrel + POKS Spices, Jollof Rice West African Seasoning $11.99 (2 oz) Starting with the West African trinity—ginger, garlic and chili—this spice mix brings the tradition of jollof rice right into your home. Adding in tomato powder, paprika and other herbs, the blend goes beyond rice to kick up the flavor of your favorite dishes.

Reelfruit Fruit & Nut Mix $34.12 (3-pack) With ingredients sourced from African fruit farmers, this tasty blend of mango, pineapple, coconut flakes, banana and cashews is perfect for yogurt parfaits, making fruit bars or just snacking.

Brooklyn Brewed Sorrel $54 (2 - 25 oz bottles) Say goodbye to soda and get this non-alcoholic spicy goodness. Based on a 400-year Caribbean recipe, it’s fruity and sweet with a light tartness. The cherry red drink is made with a sorrel flower (hibiscus Roselle) that gives it a magnificent sip.

Tae-Gu Kimchi Classic Kimchi | $11.99 (12 oz) Chef Patrice Cunningham is sharing her mother’s recipe that has been perfected through Tae-Gu Kimchi. This classic rendition is the perfect balance of salty, sweet, sour and spicy and is great when added to vegetables, rice, eggs and more.

Prices shown are at time of publishing.



MORE is always a good idea. Occasionally, we all enjoy more of a good thing. If you like our Original Creole Seasoning, but want a little more spice with a little less salt, this seasoning blend is for you.

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Jackie Summers

Defies Obstacles to Create Liqueur Honoring Family Legacy BY RUKSANA HUSSAIN Summers had, through years of permutations and combinations, created a shelf-stable product ready for mass manufacturing and consumption. “It took me 14 months from committing to the project to getting product on shelves,” Summers shares. Sorel launched in 2012 and right away was a spirits industry darling.


or Jackie Summers, sorrel is a memory from his childhood and a blessing from his ancestors that he has the privilege to encapsulate in Sorel—a hibiscus-based liqueur that took the spirits industry by storm when first introduced in 2012. Summers has taken its humble abode in Brooklyn to its grand reintroduction in the market ten years later, thanks to a welcome investment from one of the leading names in the industry. His path to success is dotted with obstacles many aren’t privy to, but Summers is proof that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”


ACTIVATING MEMORIES “I’m trying to be present. I’m trying to make sure that no matter what happens, I’m in my moment, appreciating all of this as it exists,” says Summers. A conscious choice of words from one who has experienced many struggles. Born in Queens and schooled in Manhattan, Summers comes from a Caribbean heritage—his maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Barbados in search of a better life. His mother was a research scientist and his father a pianist—genes that show in Summers’ research and creativity on the road ahead. Despite a successful 25-year stint in corporate America, a health scare in 2010 had Summers re-evaluating his choices. Though the cancer diagnosis threatened to end his life, Summers beat the odds and knew he wanted to move on to something more meaningful. Sorrel, a drink from his childhood, and a recipe he perfected at home, was the guiding star.

BARRELING AHEAD Moroccan hibiscus, Brazilian clove, Indonesian cassia and nutmeg and Nigerian ginger blended in just the right proportions resulted in a magnificent red liqueur that Summers considers an ode to his ancestors. Sorel artisanal liqueur was produced in a 3,000-sq-ft. micro-distillery and hand-delivered across New York City. Summers thought he was on a winning streak until Hurricane Sandy hit the same year. He lost all his ingredients and equipment, and his space suffered heavy structural damage. With no assistance forthcoming from government agencies, Summers channeled all resources into relaunching in January 2013. Sorel was picked up by its first distributor. But this was followed by two episodes of disappointment. Twice, companies showed interest in partnering with Sorel and then reneged on their offers, much to Summers’ frustration. This significant setback saw Summers lose his apartment in 2016 and remain homeless for almost a year and a half after. Meanwhile, Sorel had attained somewhat of a collector’s item status among bartenders, most saving it as a keepsake for their own consumption, with no news of when the next batch of this brilliant liqueur would arrive and, of course, oblivious to Summers’ travails. The general impression was Sorel was still in the market. CHERISHING SUCCESS It would be 2018 until Summers found a home. Those trying times birthed thoughts and words he framed into speaking opportunities and award-

winning essays. “For five years, I was on the education and writing circuit, teaching about equitable spaces in the industry,” says Summers. It resulted in him co-chairing the education committee with the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. During his three-year term, Summers curated some of the “firsts” for them, including the first ever all-Black panel. When 2020’s Black Lives Matter movement gained traction, Summers did an interview that mentioned he was the first legal Black distiller in the country. That spurred a renewed interest from investors, but Summers hit a roadblock again. Enters Uncle Nearest’s Fawn Weaver, whom Summers turned to for guidance. Not only had Weaver’s premium whiskey brand garnered global recognition, but she had also created the Uncle Nearest Venture Fund to invest in BIPOC-founded, owned and led brands. Sorel’s funding of $2 million was announced in June 2021, and the brand is now available in 22 states. Summers has many plans but most important among them is to tell the story of his ancestors and build a legacy. “This is about telling a story that’s way bigger than me, about the persistence, tenacity, creativity, struggle of the people as far back as I can trace. I stand on a mountain of sacrifice. My job is to make the mountain higher. It is how I honor my ancestors and contribute to the path for whoever is next.” To learn more about Sorel, visit sorelofficial. com and to purchase, visit You can also follow Jackie Summers (@theliquortarian) on Instagram and Twitter. WWW.CUISINENOIRMAG.COM 15

Cover Story

Tabitha Brown

Stays True to Guiding Spirit and Pioneers Success in the Food World BY MIA NICOLE


onning a perfectly coiffed afro she affectionately calls Donna and a smile as bright as the planet Venus, television star and New York Times best-selling author Tabitha Brown has a powerful message for those who try to suppress her bubbly, Southern and genteel personality— her freedom is not for sale. She is enough just as she is and will not change for anyone. You may not be a vegan or even know how to use social media. Nonetheless, you may have seen and heard the sweet and welcoming woman who greets you with an amiable and soft “hello there” as she appears on your mobile, computer or television screen. However, if for some reason you are unfamiliar with the vegan influencer, “that’s your business,” as Brown says.

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stand the correlation between meat and chronic diseases as the filmmaker probed the country’s leading health organizations searching for answers. Hence the word plant-based became the new buzzword due to the film. After she watched the documentary, the mother of two, who had been dealing with a bevy of ailments, such as anxiety, depression and chronic head and neck pain, decided to try a vegan diet for 30 days. With the loving support of her family who joined her, Brown began her journey. Seeing how it transformed how she felt, the lifestyle became a way of life for Brown. And although she is a strict vegan to this day, she admits there are non-plant-based meals that she misses. “Seafood!” she says,

not missing a beat. “I miss crab legs and lobster! I literally count crab legs in my sleep,” Brown laughs. VIRAL VEGAN VIDEO IMPACTS LIVES Like most inspiring actors searching for their big break, Brown set her sights on Hollywood and moved to Los Angeles in 2004. Between looking for gigs, as roles were scarce, she ended up driving for Uber. It was then that Brown began to travel down a road she never saw ahead. In December of 2017, while taking a break from driving, Brown stopped at Whole Foods, recorded a video and posted it to Facebook. In her life-altering video, the new video star


FOOD, FAMILY AND NORTH CARLINA MEMORIES Brown grew up in Eden, North Carolina, and recalls memories of good meals enjoyed with her family. “Thursday nights when I was growing up, we always went to the Mayflower seafood restaurant for dinner then came home and watched ‘The Cosby Show,’” says the vegan queen, who enjoys recreating meals from her childhood for her family. “That was over 35 years ago, and those memories of food and family are still my favorite.” When Netflix released the controversial documentary, “What the Health,” in 2017, consumers around the country began to under-

passionately describes to her followers an out-of-body experience she had eating a TTLA (tempeh bacon, tomato, lettuce, avocado) sandwich. The following day, the video had over 100,000 views. Overnight, Brown became “America’s Mom,” and her career skyrocketed into another orbit. Between delivering delicious vegan recipes and sharing impactful life advice on her social media platforms, the social media influencer is forever grateful to God for her success. And more importantly, Brown is thankful that she gets to help others. “It blows my mind every day that my life changed because I decided to just be me and share my good journey,” Brown says. “I’m just so grateful and thank God every day for the blessing. When people tell me I’ve changed their life, I honestly just thank God for using my life to bless others. I think people are drawn to my brand because I am real and relatable,” the culinary star continues. “My goal is always to make people feel like I am their family or friend and I honestly feel like they do.” VEGAN SUPERSTAR COOKING FROM THE SPIRIT With her New York Times best-selling, inspirational, self-help book, “Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business): Finding Our Way to Joy, Love and Freedom,” released in 2021, the author decided it was time to write her debut cookbook. “Cooking From the Spirit: Easy, Delicious and Joyful Plant-Based Inspirations” was released on October 4, 2022. The cookbook is stocked with delicious,

simple and trustworthy recipes, such as Stuffed Avocado, Jackfruit Pot Roast and Crab-less Cakes with Spicy Tartar Sauce, just to name a few. Meditating on her childhood, Brown is excited about many of the recipes included in her book. “My Angel Eggs are one of the recipes that I’m most proud of and it blows people’s minds,” she laughs. However, some of the recipes have deep, sentimental meanings to Brown. “My momma’s meatloaf is a childhood favorite,” the Eden native reflects. “My mom and granny were my favorite collaborations. They’ve both been gone a long time and I’m still inspired by their recipes.” If you are a fan of amazing, plant-based food, this book is for you. Putting her heart and soul into this project, Brown shares that this book is for everyone. “The book is for anyone who is curious about plant-based eating or long-time vegans wanting to try some new things,” Brown smiles. “It’s literally for everyone. I want people to trust themselves in the kitchen. Trust their spirit. Don’t worry about measurements honey,” she adds. “Cook from the spirit and I will be right there with you to help guide you.” TAB TIME ALONG WITH DONNA’S RECIPE Never one to leave anyone out, the television star is happy to announce that season 2 of her original YouTube kids’ show “Tab Time,” returns in October. The vegan foodie and mother calls the show “part of her purpose,” which is to heal the world and that healing starts with children. “If we can create better children, then we can create better adults,” Brown says. The author’s Tabitha Brown for Target collaboration offers four limited-time lifestyle collections that radiant Brown’s infectious joy for life. The third installment is due to drop in early 2023. Adding to everything, her wildly successful hair care line, Donna’s Recipe (she is not her hair, but her hair has a life of its own), is expanding its product line to include fun, dessert-inspired products. Want to learn more about the dynamic Tabitha Brown? Visit and follow her on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok (@Iamtabithabrown), Facebook (@TabithaBrown) as well as her Instagram hair page (@Donnasrecipe) and visit

JACKFRUIT POT ROAST INGREDIENTS Red potatoes, cut in half, or quartered if very big Sliced or shredded fresh or frozen carrots Sliced celery Sweet onion, cut into wedges Chopped garlic Canned young green jackfruit, drained Vegan no-chicken broth Coconut aminos, liquid aminos, or soy sauce Vegan bouillon base, such as Better Than Bouillon seasoned vegetable base A dash of liquid smoke Dried thyme, rosemary, and/or sage Garlic powder Salt-free multi-spice seasoning Sea salt Ground black pepper PREPARATION PUT the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in a slow cooker. Add the jackfruit. POUR in enough broth to barely cover the vegetables. Add some coconut aminos, bouillon base, and a dash of liquid smoke. Sprinkle in some dried herbs, garlic powder, seasoning spice, and a pinch each of salt and black pepper. STIR to combine. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours. The stew will be ready to eat after 5 hours, but the great thing about cooking jackfruit in the slow cooker is that it won’t do any harm to leave it longer, if that’s more convenient for you— and it keeps that good aroma in the kitchen. TASTE and adjust the seasoning. Serve very warm. From Cooking from the Spirit by Tabitha Brown. Copyright © 2022 by Tabitha Brown. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.



Naky Gaglo

Lisbon’s Afro-Portuguese Community Delivers Experiences Wrapped in History, Culture and Food BY MARGO GABRIEL

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Ana Sofia Lopes African woman everywhere in the world. I’m a whole African woman. And I am a whole Portuguese woman; both coexist as my reality, ” says Ana Sofia Lopes, Portugal native and owner of Sofia’s Place. “I’m my father’s daughter. He was one of the first Cape Verdean entrepreneurs in Lisbon. He owned a business on Rua de São Bento, which is where Sofia’s Place is located. I’m simply following in his footsteps,” shares Lopes. José Lino Neves, vice president of Batoto Yetu (@batotoyetuportugal), regularly hosts walking tours bridging the gap between the past and present. Batoto Yetu often partners with other organizations to bring arts, theater and dance programming to the youth in

Lisbon and the neighboring city of Oeiras. “We bring awareness to the overall Portuguese society with the statues commemorating African presence in Lisbon and beyond. There are a lot of elements that are strongly linked to African knowledge and presence.” Lisbon offers some of the most diverse lifestyle experiences in Europe. These Blackowned or Black-led businesses deliver experiences wrapped in culture, tradition and community building. FOOD AND DRINK Craving Cape Verdean food? Head to Sofia’s Place ( in Libson’s São Bento neighborhood for pastel de atum, moamba de galinha and shrimp risotto and a personal favorite, West African lamb chops that pair well with their homemade BBQ sauce. Lopes’s grander mission is to bring the African diaspora together via her monthly Diaspora Fridays dinner series, where she invites a guest chef to curate and cook a multicourse meal that serves as a cultural exchange with diners.



ibson is home to a diverse community from around the world. There is also a large Afro-descendant community that often is referred to as PALOP, Portuguese-speaking African nations. The countries that make up this group are Angola, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, GuineaBissau and Mozambique. While the city may now be known as a hub for digital nomads, other citizens from the European Union flock there for the sunny weather, abundant seafood and well-balanced wine. Many from the PALOP community have been born and raised in Portugal and others have immigrated. Both groups have established businesses, foundations and cultural spaces that shape Portugal for what we know it to be. Many creative entrepreneurs of African descent born and raised in Lisbon are candid about the sometimes uphill battle for more visibility and access to opportunities that are at times hard to come by. “Life as an Afro-European in Portugal, I think that it is challenging like being a Black or

Head to Tabernacúlo by Hernâni Miguel (@tabernaculo_by_hernani_miguel) for alfresco dining and try the savory moqueca de camarão, a Brazilian dish with shrimp in buttery coconut milk and palm oil broth. This Lisbon haunt offers the best of both worlds – live music and a fusion of African and Portuguese cuisines. Mikas Morais, a native of Mozambique, is the owner of Social B (@socialb_lisboa), a cocktail and wine bar that features live music on Tuesday nights and a live DJ set hosted by Morais himself on Wednesday evenings. The menu is a mix of African and Portuguese cuisines created by Chef Zola. Be sure to try their matapa, a Mozambican classic made with cassava leaves and coconut milk. Ricardo Maneira is a DJ by trade and now restaurateur at A Viagem das Horas (@aviagemdashoras) in Lisbon’s Arroios neighborhood. With an ambitious menu inspired by Maniera’s love of music, try Everybody Loves the Sunshine (goat cheese, Mainova olive oil and Salmarim salt flower) with a glass of natural or local Portuguese wine. Head chef Mauro Álison swapped a corporate job for a career as a renowned chef in Setúbal at Hotel Casa Palmela (@ hotelcasapalmela). The 17th-century manor house is located near vineyards with an outdoor terrace and views overlooking verdant Setúbal. The fine-dining menu features local Portuguese produce and wine. Café Noivo is another great place for Cape Verdean food located in Cova da Moura and serves fresh seafood and Portuguese wine. It feels more like a diner than fast casual dining. Cantinho do Aziz (@cantinhodoaziz), located in the Mouraria neighborhood of Lisbon, has served up authentic Mozambican food for over 30 years. Chef Jeny Sulemange credits her mother for teaching her how to cook and now shares her Mozambican cuisine throughout Europe and New York in the states. Try her caril camarão, prawns in curry sauce served with coconut rice for a global dining experience. Tambarina (@tambarinarestaurante) is a no-fuss Cape Verdean restaurant with a down-home feel. Try the stewed chicken with okra and white rice or the traditional dish of Cape Verde, cachupa, a slow-cooked stew with meat, potato, beans and cassava. Owner Shay Ola is the mind behind Rove Lisboa (@rove.lisboa), a space that celebrates “urban surf culture, gastronomy and art.” Located in the Bairro Alto neighborhood, experience weekly live DJ sets, take in local art and dine at the bar. Be sure to try their custom Ola cocktail with the salt beef sando.

Shay Ola is also the owner of Queimado (@queimado_lisboa), where “great seasonal and local produce meets fire.” With an everchanging menu, Ola brings quality seafood and vegetables to every plate. He also crafts many cocktails and sodas in-house to round out his seasonal menu. André Magalhães is the chef and owner of Taberna da Rua das Flores (@tabernadasflores), a traditional Portuguese taberna or tavern. Enjoy Portuguese classics with an Asian twist like his green onion and cabbage pancake or the savory grilled prawns. At Mambo (@mambo.lx) located on Green Street in Lisbon, enjoy gastronomy from regions of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde and Senegal. ARTS AND CULTURE Vítor Sanches is the founder of the sustainable clothing brand and bookstore Bazofo Dentu & Zona (@bazofo_dentuzona), located in Cova da Moura. Cova da Moura is home to Lisbon’s largest Cape Verdean community.

Chef Jeny Sulemange

Naky Gaglo, a native of Togo, moved to Portugal over five years ago and noticed no tours available that dove deep into Portugal’s colonial past. He launched the African Lisbon Tour (@africanlisbontour), a 4-hour walking tour through Lisbon. Afrolink ( is a collective of creatives and entrepreneurs that Paula Cardoso spearheads and hosts a market regularly. At the Afrolink market, you can shop for books, food, jewelry and more. WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR African Diaspora Week is an inaugural initiative by Margo Gabriel and Hernâni Miguel to generate awareness and revenue for PALOP businesses. Meet local business owners, enjoy live music, shop local products by artisans and creative entrepreneurs and dine in cafes and restaurants representing Angola, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe and Mozambique. September 18 – 25, 2023. Portugal’s premier culinary event, Congresso dos Cozinheiros (@congressodoscozinheiros) or Cooks Congress hosted by Edições do Gosto, brings chefs and industry professionals from Portugal and beyond together for the largest food, culture and wine conference. Although not Black-owned, Paulo Amado launched this culinary event 18 years ago, and in 2022 hosted the theme African Connections with live cooking demos, music, panel discussions and samples from top-rated chefs, culinarians and wine and spirit makers. September 24-25, 2023.



Wade Cellars

Expands Boundaries in the Wine Industry


wyane Wade is living proof that passion exploration is limitless. The NBA legend is diving into the wine industry and absorbing as much about the culture as possible. In 2014, Wade Cellars, a wine producer and brand, was founded. As the company continues to mature, the team aims not only to make wine accessible but also to build community. Around his late 20s, which is typically when careers start for most people, Wade found himself growing increasingly appreciative of wine. So much so that he would travel to different regions known for their vineyards. “This world of wine wasn’t something that was presented to me growing up as a kid in the inner city,” shares Wade. Growing up in a neighborhood under-resourced in Chicago, he knew he wanted to eventually dedicate his time to the wine industry to make it accessible to more people. So after securing a partnership with a mentor, together they decided to establish Wade Cellars out of Napa Valley.

THE MAKING OF A BRAND Building Wade Cellars, of course, requires crafting a team of like-minded, passionate people. That is why George WC Walker, III became their Brand Ambassador after sending a cold email to the general info address at Wade Cellars. With aspirations of gaining an internship, Walker took a chance and made his case in a message about why he would be a good fit for Wade Cellars. After participating in a couple of interviews, he relocated to Napa Valley to pursue a full-time role. “I still pinch myself every time I tell the story because it feels so surreal and crazy how the opportunity happened,” shares Walker. Despite this dream role, Walker knew he 20 CUISINE NOIR | ANNUAL 2022/2023

still had to put his all into the growth of Wade Cellars. “One of the biggest challenges we have experienced is getting cornered into a box of being another celebrity-owned wine brand,” says Walker. So, the team had to determine what would set them apart from other brands. What felt most natural was doing so by way of curated gatherings that engage Black community experts. “As a wine brand, we’ve been around for eight years, but we’re still so new and young. We’re continuing to evolve into who we’re going to be as a wine brand. We got into this space to make wine more accessible,” shares Wade. In the fall of 2022, Wade Cellars launched When We Gather, a national series of wine and food experiences highlighting celebrated Black chefs and sommeliers paired with wines by Wade Cellars. They decided to host the events in six cities across the U.S. “We understand that we as Black people are not a monolith. So we wanted to amplify that philosophy. Curating the tour with the nuances of the Black experience through foods, wine and conversations is what the tour’s inspiration was all about,” says Walker. The tour has included hosts such as Leslie and LeAnn Jones of 1010 Wine & Events (California), Tammie Scott of Nostalgia Wine & Jazz Lounge (Ohio) and chef Erick Williams of Virtue (Illinois). Walker adds, “We want these experiences to serve as an example that Black people belong in these spaces.” Those attending will enjoy selections from Wade Cellars’ current wine portfolio, which includes a cabernet sauvignon, chenin blanc and rosé. Wines are currently sold online as well as at select retailers Additionally, to further push inclusion in the wine industry, Wade joined UC Davis’

Executive Leadership Board for the Department of Viticulture and Enology. The partnership represents Wade Cellars’ first step toward establishing institutional change in the wine industry. The board’s goals include increasing the percentage of underrepresented students pursuing careers in all parts of the grape and wine industry. When We Gather will convene tastemakers on December 2 in Miami Beach, Florida. The tour is just getting started and will continue in 2023 in more cities to include New York City and chefs such as Serigne Mbaye of New Orleans’ Dakar. Visit and shop Wade Cellars at For future events as well as wine releases, follow along on Instagram (@dwadecellars).



Recipe Corner

Recipes of Empowerment: Storytelling Through Food


ood is more than simple nourishment. The story that precedes ingredients before they find their way onto a plate has historical origins in culture, tradition and language. Food is a connector to the past, present and future. Most importantly, it heals, influences and empowers individuals and communities. “When I think about food and empowerment and what it means to me as a chef, the resounding thought is responsibility. I feel I have a duty as a Black woman to provide my community with wholesome recipes that they can replicate without making them feel as though they are outsiders or interlopers on a culinary journey, as is often the case when people live in underserved communities or food deserts. Through providing recipes that are accessible, I not only feel empowered, I am also empowering my community.” says Marta Rivera Diaz. Diaz and other Black food bloggers who are part of the collective Eat the Culture understand how being intentional with the ingredients they use as well as knowing where they come from pays homage to those before them. “Eat the Culture’s mission is to empower the content creators, storytellers, and tastemakers that champion Black foodways. This theme is one that allows our collective presence to show that we, as Black creators, can come together as one community, despite our varied backgrounds, to highlight the foods of our motherland. As individuals, it allows us to showcase our range of talents and diversity,” shares Diaz. “You will find recipes that range from sweet to savory, or a mix of both, while enjoying dishes that originated in Brazil and Africa and many stops in between.”


Let’s eat.



CHARRED CORN SUCCOTASH Succotash is a comforting and versatile side dish that reminds me of my childhood. My family would serve a warm spoonful of the vegetable medley next to fried fish or pork chops. The vegetables used in our succotash were always dependent on what was accessible and in season. Sometimes my grandmothers used fresh beans, while other days canned beans made do. Brittany Fiero, Her Mise En Place (@her_mise_en_ place)

PREPARATION 1. In a large skillet, fry bacon over mediumhigh heat until crisp. Remove bacon pieces from the pan and set aside. 2. Lower heat to medium and add corn to the skillet. Cook the corn in the hot bacon fat, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes. 3. When corn begins to brown slightly, stir in the onions and butter. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until corn is charred to your preference. 4. Stir in peppers, lima beans, tomatoes, thyme and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently to mix the vegetables well. 5. Pour in the chicken broth, stir lightly and cover. Lower heat and simmer for 10 -12 minutes until the beans and peppers have softened. 6. Remove pan from heat and stir in the bacon pieces and fresh chives. Serve warm.

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BUTTERMILK FRIED CATFISH AND PIMENTO GRITS Buttermilk fried catfish is a staple dish from my childhood home of Jackson, Mississippi. When I think about empowerment, I think of the city that stands resilient and thrives in the face of historically racist Mississippi policies/actions. This recipe is a beautiful representation of the small-town Southern cooking I grew up on and the generations who have blossomed, despite the oppression, to help mold me into who I am today. Shani Walker, Coined Cuisine (@coinedcuisine) INGREDIENTS Fried Catfish 4 catfish fillets 1 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons no-salt Cajun seasoning 2 tablespoons yellow mustard 1 cup yellow cornmeal ¹⁄³ cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning 1 teaspoon garlic powder 3 cups vegetable oil for frying Pimento Grits 2 cups water 2 cups milk 1 teaspoon seafood bouillon powder 1 cup 5-minute grits ²⁄³ cup pimento cheese 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon white vinegar 1 tablespoon heavy cream

PREPARATION 1. Pat catfish fillets dry. 2. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, Cajun seasoning and yellow mustard. 3. Combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, paprika, lemon pepper and garlic powder in another shallow bowl. 4. Dip the fillets in the wet batter, then the dry mix. Be sure to thoroughly pat the coating onto the fish. 5. Let the breaded fillets sit in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. 6. Meanwhile, add vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet. Heat the oil over mediumhigh heat until it reaches 330°F-340°F. 7. Fry fillets for 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove from skillet and set fish on a wire rack over a sheet pan to drain any excess oil. 8. While your fish is cooling, bring the water, milk, and bouillon powder to a boil. Slowly stir in the grits. 9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes until thick and creamy. 10. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the pimento cheese, salt, white vinegar and heavy cream. 11. Serve the hot catfish and grits with chopped green onions and your favorite hot sauce. PHOTOGRAPHY: SHANI WALKER

INGREDIENTS 6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob 1 cup yellow onion, diced 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 green bell pepper, diced 1 orange bell pepper, diced 2 cups of frozen lima beans, thawed and drained 1 pint cherry tomatoes, each halved 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes salt and pepper to taste ²⁄³ cup chicken broth 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

SWEET POTATO BUNDT CAKE Some of my earliest memories baking are with my grandma making her famous sweet potato pie. It was her mom’s recipe which made it even more special. The smell of the spices filling the house is something I’ll never forget. Now while I’m too nervous to even try to replicate my grandma’s sweet potato pie, I have a love for creating other sweet potato recipes using those same spices. It reminds me of how far my great grandma and grandma came with as little as they did and the time period they grew up in. Making similar recipes helps me feel closer to the brave, strong and courageous women who came before me and how they baked with love no matter their situation.

PREPARATION 1. Prepare the glaze in advance. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and milk. Set aside until the cake cools. 2. For the filling, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and softened butter together in a bowl. Set aside until you prepare the cake batter. 3. To prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 1-pound Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray. 4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or an electric hand mixer set to medium-high speed), mix the sugars,


6. 7. 8.

sweet potato puree, oil, butter, eggs and vanilla together until well combined. Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Be sure not to overmix. Pour half of the batter into the Bundt pan and spoon filling into the middle of the cake. Top with the remaining batter. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 20 minutes before turning it out of the pan. Once the cake is cooled completely, cover with cream cheese glaze and top with nuts if you choose.

Bianca Dodson, Lenox Bakery (@lenoxbakery) INGREDIENTS Bundt Cake 2 cups sugar ½ cup dark brown sugar 1 15-oz canned sweet potato puree ¾ cup vegetable oil ¼ cup unsalted butter 4 eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg Brown Sugar Filling ½ cup light brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


Cream Cheese Glaze 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup powdered sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 tablespoons milk ¼ pecans, chopped (optional) nonstick baking spray



COCONUT CORN PUDDING My ancestors used to harvest coconuts from their backyard, or corn from their own patch of the earth; now I rely on the grocery store to supply most of my needs. I feel most empowered when I can walk out to our backyard and break a corn cob off the stalk or crack open a coconut to harvest the meat and milk. This coconut corn pudding is a return to the days of old, when we weren’t so reliant on others for our daily needs. Marta Rivera Diaz, Sense and Edibility® (@senseandedibility)

INGREDIENTS 1½ pounds sliced okra, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw if frozen) 1 teaspoon kosher salt 4 cups water 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, diced 1 large green bell pepper, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons sofrito, green sauce, or epis 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce 1 tablespoon adobo spice blend or seasoned salt, plus more to taste 1 teaspoon sazón con achiote 10 Manzanilla olives, sliced, optional 1 tablespoon capers, optional 1 large bay leaf 2 pounds smoked turkey tails or necks, or smoked ham hocks 4 cups chicken stock 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

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PREPARATION 1. If you’re using frozen okra, skip to step 3. Add the fresh okra slices and kosher salt to a 6-quart mixing bowl. Pour the water over the okra and soak for 30 minutes. This will remove impurities and clean the okra. 2. Drain the okra in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Leave the okra to drain in the sink or over the bowl it soaked in while you begin the stew. 3. In a 10-quart stockpot, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. 4. Once the oil in the pan begins to shimmer, add the onion, green bell pepper, garlic, and sofrito to the pot. Use a spoon to stir the aromatics into the hot oil and sauté them for 3-4 minutes, or until they are glossy and just beginning to turn golden. 5. Add the okra, tomato sauce, adobo seasoning, sazón, manzanilla olives, capers, and bay leaf to the pot with the aromatics. Stir these together to combine. 6. Add the turkey tails and chicken stock to the pot. Give everything a stir and bring the liquid in the pot up to a boil. 7. Once the liquid in the pot begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the stew for 20 minutes. 8. After 20 minutes, add the diced potatoes to the pot. Allow the liquid to come back up to a simmer, occasionally stirring. Once the liquid comes to a simmer, cover the pot and allow the stew to cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. 9. Serve the stew with steamed white rice or freshly baked cornbread.


OKRA STEW - GUINGAMBÓS GUISADOS Empowerment comes from overcoming the systems your oppressors designed for your demise or destruction. Okra has traveled from West Africa to become the symbolic food of a race that has, for centuries, been subjugated to the worst humanity has to offer. This recipe displays the enduring legacy of the African race as it transcends oppression, language, and cultures, to show that what was meant for our defeat only made us more powerful.

INGREDIENTS 5 large eggs, yolks and whites separated and at room temperature ½ stick unsalted butter ½ small yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup all-purpose flour 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk or 1½ cups fresh coconut milk 1½ teaspoons kosher salt ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 1½ pounds sweet corn kernels, fresh or thawed if frozen


PREPARATION 1. Preheat an oven to 325°F. 2. Generously grease a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray or 1 tablespoon of melted butter. 3. In a small mixing bowl, use a whisk to lightly beat the egg yolks, then set them aside. 4. Melt unsalted butter over medium-high heat in a 12-inch sauté pan or skillet. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Sauté the aromatics for 2 minutes, or just until they begin to soften. 5. Add the flour to the pan and cook, frequently stirring with a whisk or rubber spatula, for one minute. 6. Pour the coconut milk into the roux in the pan in a steady stream, whisking constantly to avoid clumps. Season the mixture with salt, thyme leaves, and cayenne. Bring the mixture up to steaming, then reduce the heat to low. 7. Using a small ladle or measuring cup, scoop up a ½ cup of the coconut milk mixture and drizzle it slowly into the beaten egg yolks to temper them. Be sure to whisk constantly as you add the coconut milk to avoid curdling the yolks. 8. Once the yolks are tempered, pour them in a slow, steady stream back into the pot with the rest of the coconut milk mixture. After adding all of the tempered eggs, continue to cook the mixture over low heat until it thickens to the consistency of a loose pudding or sauce. 9. Fold in the corn kernels and turn the stove off. Allow the corn pudding base to sit, while you prepare the egg whites. 10. Using an electric hand mixer with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed for 7-8 minutes, or until they hold a stiff peak when the whip is lifted from the surface of the egg whites and they are glossy. Gently fold the stiff egg whites into the corn coconut mixture until well combined. 11. Scrape the corn mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake the pudding for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy. 12. Remove pudding from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving. The pudding will deflate slightly as it cools. Serve while hot.

SOUTHERN BUTTER ROLL Making something delicious out of nothing has been woven throughout our kitchens and lives. My grandmother, Mama Myrtle, loved baking and her Southern Butter Roll was constantly requested for her to make. Southern Butter Roll, an almost forgotten dish, is the embodiment of how simple ingredients demonstrate our strength, innovation, and power through food. Power to evoke memory and taste, transport you to another place, and fellowship with loved ones. Bake it in one long roll like Mama Myrtle or individual rolls like I’ve done in this recipe. No matter how you have it, you’re sure to enjoy it. Stefani Renée Thibodeaux Medley, Savor and Sage (@savorandsage) INGREDIENTS Dough 2 cups flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 2 tablespoons sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 stick unsalted cold of butter, grated Filling ¼ cup light or brown sugar, packed 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg 4 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature

Sauce 1 can condensed milk 1 ¾ cups half and half 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pinch of salt nonstick spray PREPARATION 1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray. 2. For the filling, in a medium bowl, add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Set to the side. 3. To make the dough, in a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and whisk. Add butter. Using your hand, a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. It should look like small peas. Pour in buttermilk and vanilla and gently stir with a fork until a soft dough forms. 4. Generously flour your work surface. Turn the dough out onto the surface and roll the dough into a thin rectangle that is about 12x15 inches. Spread the softened butter to cover the dough then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Carefully and tightly roll the dough up jelly roll-style and pinch to seal the long edge. Cut the dough into 10-12 even rolls and place them in the prepared dish seam side down. 5. For the sauce, in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, gently heat the half and half, condensed milk and butter until butter is melted and the mixture is combined. Remove from heat and pour in the vanilla extract. Pour over the rolls. 6. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the rolls are puffed and golden brown and the sauce is bubbling and beginning to caramelize. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Serve each roll with a drizzle remaining sauce. WWW.CUISINENOIRMAG.COM


BRAZILIAN BEAN PUREE TUTU DE FEIJÃO When I think of empowerment through food, I always think of beans because they’re affordable, nutritious and delicious. Tutu de feijão or Brazilian Bean Puree is one of my favorite recipes in this context because it highlights how we Brazilians use leftovers to create new dishes to avoid food waste, use cassava flour to make dishes more filling and how resourceful our culture is. Cooking this classic Brazilian dish empowers me to reclaim my Afro-Brazilian roots all the way out here in Dallas, Texas, and hopefully sharing this recipe with the world will inspire my people to do the same from wherever they are too. Aline Shaw, Brazilian Kitchen Abroad (@aline_shaw)

PREPARATION 1. Add beans to a food processor and pulse until smooth and set aside. 2. In a medium pan over medium heat, drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the bacon and fry until crispy. 3. When the bacon is crispy, scoop it out of the pan using a slotted spoon and place it onto a plate lined with paper towels and set it aside. 4. Add the onions to the pan with the bacon fat and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and lightly golden. Add the beans to the pan and stir to combine. 5. When the beans start to simmer, slowly sprinkle in flour and stir over low heat until it thickens into a soft puree consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 6. Serve drizzled with olive oil and the crispy bacon with a splash of your favorite vinegary hot sauce. 26 CUISINE NOIR | ANNUAL 2022/2023


INGREDIENTS 1 heaping cup of leftover beans, cooked and seasoned with at least ½ cup of liquid 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving 1 thick slice of bacon, diced (approximately ¼ cup) ¼ cup onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving 2 tablespoons Brazilian cassava flour salt and pepper to taste

ISLAND HOPPER Hibiscus is a significant plant of the African food, drink and plant diaspora. Combined with Caribbean herbs and spices, it, creates the incredible flavor powerhouse called Sorel Liqueur. The cloves in it remind me of holiday cooking of my beloved grandma and winter family gatherings. Sorel is amazing chilled in a glass and lends great flavor to mixed drinks. In this cocktail, guava is added to further invoke the flavors of the islands. Adrian Lindsay (@adrianlindsay67) INGREDIENTS 1½ ounces Sorel Liquer 2 ounces guava nectar ½ ounce gin ½ ounce lime juice lime slice for garnish PREPARATION Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime.

MISS ROSEMARY Rosemary, a symbol of remembrance, is perfect for fall cocktails as many enjoy homecomings and family gatherings. Cooler weather goes well with the flavors and smells of rosemary. The aromatic herb, when combined with lemon and lime, gives bourbon a lift that awakens the palate. The cabernet casks round out this whiskey and enhances the flavors making it excellent for cocktails or sipping. INGREDIENTS 1½ ounces I.W. Harper Cabernet Cask 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup ½ ounce lime juice ½ ounce lemon juice sprig of rosemary

ROSEMARY SIMPLE SYRUP INGREDIENTS 1 cup sugar 1 cup water 4-5 sprigs rosemary PREPARATION Place rosemary in pot with water, bring to a boil. Strain the rosemary tea into a heat proof container and stir in sugar until dissolved. Always refrigerate leftover simple syrup. Last about five days.


PREPARATION Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Vigorously shake and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with sprig of rosemary.

PEAR MARTINI End of summer through the beginning autumn gives us pears, a childhood favorite. Outside my bedroom window was a pear tree that produced some of the best fruit I’ve ever tasted. I recall pears falling on our tin roof almost nightly; those were bound to the pot for preserves. The “butter fruit” is paid homage in this delicious martini with citrus added to acknowledge the cool crisp air of fall.

INGREDIENTS 1½ ounces Ciroc Vodka ½ ounce Elderflower Liqueur 2 ounces pear juice (nectar) ½ ounce lemon juice lemon or pear slices for garnish PREPARATION Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Vigorously shake and strain into a chilled martini glass or coup. Garnish with pear slices or lemon twist. WWW.CUISINENOIRMAG.COM


Dominique Charles Helps Newbies Start Their Gardens Through Plots & Pans BY KALIN THOMAS


PANDEMIC GROWTH SPURT While everyone was stuck in the house during the pandemic, Charles says her business picked up. “People were interested in doing something different that they could do from home, so gardening got a lot of interest,” she shares. “Then during the George Floyd murder protests, there was a big push by mainstream companies for Black creatives — everybody wanted Black people everywhere,” Charles exclaims. “Someone from TikTok contacted me, so I did a successful partnership with them. Then Martha Stewart’s people contacted me in December of 2020, but I had to respectfully decline because I 28 CUISINE NOIR | ANNUAL 2022/2023

didn’t have the greenspace to produce what they wanted and didn’t want to fake it,” Charles laments. “But then in March of 2021, they contacted me again, and I was just over the moon.” Then D.C.’s local news found her, along with The Weather Channel and NBC’s “Today Show.” “God has really blessed me,” Charles testifies through tears. ONE SEED AT A TIME Charles’ clients are primarily women between the ages of 35 and 50 (about 65 percent African American). She starts them with baby steps. “One of the first things I ask a

client is, ‘What do you like to eat?’” notes Charles. “Because some people will say, ‘Oh, I’d like to grow eggplants.’ But I’ll ask, ‘Do you like to regularly eat eggplant? Because if you don’t, it doesn’t make sense to grow it.’” She continues, “My services are virtual or in-person consultation; a ‘build,’ which starts with the consultation and then my team and I do everything to build your garden; and a ‘plan,’ which includes the consultation and then I sketch out the exact placement of where your garden should be and the number of seeds you’ll need for starter plants.” Pamela Bell Payton is one of Charles’ clients, who is also her sorority sister. “I’m not a ‘play


hen New Orleans native Dominique Charles bought her home in Washington, D.C, her Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. sorority sister brought her a surprise housewarming gift. “She said she needed help bringing my gift in, and I didn’t understand why,” remembers Charles. “Well, she had brought me a starter garden in little terra cotta pots,” Charles smiles. Though she had been outside on the farm with her Louisiana grandparents as a kid, Charles never had a desire to do any farming or gardening. That was until she received that starter garden in May 2014. “Later that summer, I was like, ‘Oh, look at my first little green tomato!’ And I was so excited and so joyful about it that I thought, ‘Maybe I do want to give gardening a shot.’” “I had built a four-by-four bed and I grew corn,” notes Charles. “And corn is something most people don’t see in urban areas, so people were intrigued. And I put lots of social media engagement behind it because I enjoyed sharing the fruits of my labor.” Then two friends/sorors suggested she start a business. “I’m shy by nature, but I decided to go for it! And I named my business Plots and Pans after seeing ‘Plots & Plans’ on the cover of a journal that was lying next to my bed.”

in the dirt’ kind of person, but I love the look of gardens,” she admits. “So when I went to Dominique’s house and saw her little planter boxes, that looked more manageable to me where I didn’t have to be in the field plowing,” Payton laughs. She adds, “Dominique even came back and weeded my garden for me and planted seeds for the fall. I know it’s a small thing, but it feels really good to know that I’m eating a salad with fresh vegetables from my own garden.” Charles agrees and says she always saves the seeds of plants she loves so that she can replant them. “I plant starter plants or seeds,” she notes. “Some I buy local and some I buy online, but I try to buy from Black-owned growers like And I try to use only heirloom seeds [a seed from a plant passed down from one generation to another].” She adds, “I think it’s even good to encourage your neighbors to grow food because there’s a big part of community that comes with that. If I grow all the tomatoes and you grow all the collard greens and another neighbor grows all the carrots, we can share the fruits of our labor with each other.”

even has a pear tree. “Last year I made a pear bread, which was so light and fluffy with a subtle sweetness and so good,” she boasts. “I also found a recipe for old-fashioned cocktails that I’ll make with my pears.” And Charles loves sharing the fruits of her labor. “I’ve been on hiatus from hosting my annual backyard dinner because of the pandemic, which I usually do on the Fourth of July,” she explains. “I do a dinner al fresco and cook most of the food myself, with lots of it coming from my garden, and I have friends bring a dish. It’s a very curated guest list with friends, sorors and neighbors — all women — and it’s really lovely,” she says dreamily. “But when I get the dinner started again, I’ll probably host it for Juneteenth.” Charles also hosts a yearly plant sale at the top of the season, which is another chance to meet some of her followers. KNOW BEFORE YOU GROW Even with all of the positives of gardening, Charles wants people to know that there are challenges. “Gardening is very laborious and strenuous. It can wear on your body,” she admits. “It can also be expensive buying the

seeds and soil,” she adds. But even with its challenges, Charles is seeing an interest in gardening from a more diverse group of African Americans. “In the beginning, it seemed that the only Black people you saw who were urban gardeners were people who were very Afrocentric and earthy in the way that they dressed. And there’s nothing wrong with that,” Charles admits. “But I garden with my nails done and my jewelry on,” she laughs. “And I think we’re seeing more women like that who are gardening.” PLANTING A NEW SEED Charles wants to focus more on her cooking and confides that she’d like Plots & Pans to have its own show. “I believe there are women who want to see me because they see themselves in me – brown skin, plus size, glasses, natural hair,” she says with emotion. “I pray that God guides me in that direction and that I get onto a network like HGTV.” For more information on Plots & Pans, visit the website at And to keep up with Dominique Charles on social media, visit @plotsandpans on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

FROM PLOTS TO PANS “Being from New Orleans, I can really cook,” Charles exclaims. “My best and favorite thing I make is crawfish etouffee. I consider that to be love in a bowl because it’s a lot of chopping and sauteeing things from my garden — the tomatoes, the hot peppers, the bell peppers, onions — and it’s truly a labor of love.” Charles



Preserve Colombian Ancestral Drink with Viche Canao BY STEPHANIE TEASLEY


iche (pronounced “vee-chey,” also called “biche”) is a Colombian drink native to Afro-Colombian communities in the Pacific region, made from fermented sugar cane juice and distilled with local fruits and herbs. On top of being an alcoholic drink, it also boasts medicinal benefits for stomach bugs or parasites, and it’s used as an aphrodisiac to promote fertility. Despite its production and community usage, Viche was banned and illegal in Colombia until 2021. Liseth Martinez and her father, Oswaldo Martinez Chaverra, are from Chocó, a region in Western Colombia known for its large AfroColombian population. Martinez says that the production of viche is a family business. “My father has been doing it for 30 years,” she says. HISTORY OF VICHE Viche originated from the Bantu languages of East-Central Africa, meaning “green” or “raw.” 30 CUISINE NOIR | ANNUAL 2022/2023

It was an ancestral community practice used as traditional medicine by midwives and herbalist masters, as they were called, to treat and heal wounds and colic, control parasites, or ward off evil spirits and fear. On Colombia’s Pacific Coast, viche was created by formally enslaved people and became a trade belonging to the Colombian Pacific’s social structures and family and domestic organization. This practice was inherited through generations and gained popularity due to the government’s monopoly on cane liquor. Martinez says that one company controlled all the alcohol and didn’t want to share profits with the community. Martinez also says they didn’t make it easy for anyone in the community. “Companies and corporations, even the police, went after dad and the community,” she says. “It was controversial; they never gave a reason why they tried to shut down the production sites.”

Martinez says she and her father live in a more rural area, so the focus wasn’t on them as much as on the bigger populations. Another contributing factor to its illegal status was the drink’s reputation because of the process, which is a community effort. The elder Martinez says this used to be something only men did, but women got into it little by little, and viche is now known to be traditionally made by women who are called “sacadoras.” Because so many hands were involved in making viche, it got a reputation for being unhygienic. However, Martinez and her father decided to take an active role, speaking out about the process and garnering support for its legalization. “We were a part of a board to discuss the legislation that led to the law protecting production. It took three and a half years of activism before it happened and created a permit for viche.” The permit,


Liseth Martinez and Community

issued by the National Institute for Food and Drug Surveillance (or INVIMA), created a sanitary registry for producing this drink. The activism of Martinez, her father and their community helped sway the Colombian government to not only lift the ban and legalize viche but also to recognize it as the cultural and ancestral heritage drink specific to Afro-Colombian and Black communities. This was a huge deal. In 2019, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that a law protecting ancestral beverages in Indigenous communities must also apply to Afro-Colombian ones. This kicked open the door for viche’s legalization, which is declared the collective heritage of the AfroPacific people. Viche is considered a symbol of the generational exclusion of Black and Indigenous cultures from Colombia’s national history and narrative and how the country did not recognize all their contributions from the community. Viche is also currently under consideration by UNESCO to be declared a Colombian heritage drink. The legalization allows viche to be produced on a large scale and commercialized by only Afro-Colombians. It restricts production to ancestral communities, like how mezcal and tequila are only made in specific Mexican states. ALL IN THE COMMUNITY Martinez earned a master’s in marketing while studying in Australia. She returned to Colombia before the pandemic because her father was sick and decided to stay. “I started talking to dad about recipes, production process, etc. I started to see a strategy for a sustainable business, an area my dad lacked concerning how to get income. Martinez suggested going from plastic to glass and worked on making the labels and market-

Oswaldo Martinez Chaverra ing more visually appealing. “Dad was the engineer, so he dealt with the chemicals and recipes and works with leaders in the family communities.” These family communities are families that are all involved in the viche process, and there are many. “Fifteen years ago, he decided to ask each family to help with production and be a community industry. So, all the families have a piece of land for the sugar canes; they all help.” With the community collective, the work doesn’t take as long as one would think. “It takes 10-15 days, start to finish,” Martinez says. “A family he works with independently takes and juices the sugar cane; then they ferment it for five to eight days. They are closer to a body of water, so they can do that.” Martinez also says that these sugar cane drinks were once popular in the Caribbean, but the Caribbean lost interest because they weren’t making money. In her area, they didn’t lose revenue. “Viche is only made in places next to a river.” One sugar cane takes one to two inches of water a week to maintain adequate soil moisture. Martinez said that the community has 50 hectares (one hectare is equivalent to almost 2.5 acres, about the area of a Manhattan city block). She points out that it wasn’t just the Afro-Colombians making it. “When we hired lawyers to represent us,” says Martinez, “They were surprised with how our community works. 70-80% of our community is involved in this. Not only Black people but also Indigenous people, and you don’t see these groups working together. We built a sense of community work. We pay competitive wages and have agreements, contracts and independent contractors. Everyone is paid

equally.” She says they are proud of their hard work, and “we bring people into the community to show them our process.” On top of its medicinal benefits, viche also boasts a 35% alcohol content. However, Martinez says, “90% of families in Colombia have it to use for medicine and you don’t get hungover.” GLOBAL GOALS Right now, viche is typically sold near beach fronts or roadside, but Martinez has big ambitions. “In the short term, for INVIMA to define and clarify more about the rules and procedures to assist us with permits,” she says. “Everything is on paper, so we can be 100% sure we’re formally operating and commercializing.” “Long term, it would be getting everything regulated so we can export to open markets like the US, Oceania, and everything else. Our main goal is getting viche to overseas consumers and opening new international markets.” Follow Martinez for Viche Canao product and expansion updates on Instagram (@viche_canao). Orders can be placed in Colombia by calling or texting +57 321 8823512 on WhatsApp. WWW.CUISINENOIRMAG.COM 31

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Vava Angwenyi

Stirs up Kenya’s Coffee Economy in Lamu BY WANDA HENNIG


amu Island, Kenya. A vacation getaway and refuge for artists, filmmakers, writers and celebs. Barack Obama has called the place “magical.” British supermodel Adwoa Aboah’s parents have a home in Lamu. Oscarwinning actor Lupita Nyong’o shared pictures while vacationing there last year. “Lamu is one of my favorite places in the world. It still has a pristine untouched beauty. Also, the rich Swahili culture,” says Vava Angwenyi. “Then there are the quirky, beautiful little villages.” Like Shela, an artsy bohemian seaside hamlet. “I started coming here roughly ten years ago. I’m surprised it wasn’t sooner. With the kind of work I do, to come to a place to kick back without the noise of Nairobi, without cars … Also, perhaps because I’m a Pisces. I like to be near the ocean. It gives me the balance I need in my life.”

Women. Coffee. Education. Independence. The charismatic, tenacious social entrepreneur has been creating positive change and transforming lives and livelihoods in the coffee industry in her native Kenya since 2009. It was then that Angwenyi — by training a mathematician with an actuarial and economics background and degrees from colleges in Canada and the Netherlands — decided to do something to address “the socioeconomic imbalance” she noted in the Kenyan coffee sector, which yields some of the world’s best beans. Vava Coffee is Angwenyi’s certified B Corp export company (where the fundamentals are people, planet, not just profit; and empowering woman growers is key) and what she calls her “mothership” business venture. “With our model, we try to source as directly as possible from the small farmers,” she says.

Educating them about coffee production and their rights. “Demystifying knowledge.” Telling their success stories. Establishing direct relationships with roasters and importers. Creating meaningful change. When Angwenyi and I speak, she is in “what I like to call a coffee school but what is more of a community center and coffee shop” in Lamu Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site — it is the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. Think narrow streets, imposing stone and timber buildings, inner courtyards, verandas WWW.CUISINENOIRMAG.COM


Vava Angwenyi enjoying Lamu Island and elaborately carved wooden doors influenced by a unique fusion of Swahili, Arabic, Persian, Indian and European styles. As she got more under the skin of Lamu, it got under her skin; tweaking her social activist and entrepreneurial consciousness. “Lamu has nice fancy hotels and Airbnbs.” BOUGIE LAMU “However the coffee offering was terrible. It didn’t stand up to what you would expect in a place that is so bougie, for lack of a better word. You look at this place and at the tourists from different backgrounds and different countries. There is definitely disposable income,” Angwenyi observes. At the same time, there are few youth employment opportunities or sustainable jobs. “And, in this community dependent on fishing and the tourism industry, there is this gap for Muslim women who cannot be fishermen, cannot be out hustling tourists to take them on tours, so are often sidelined into cooking jobs or waiting at home to get married.” She says it took her some time to figure out how she, within her sphere of influence and interest, might best invest in the island to make a difference. “I felt there was an opportunity to get a group of young people together and provide a safe environment for them to work and to learn a practical skill not available on the island.” Simultaneously, to do something to right the coffee wrongs. “Whenever I got chatting to visitors, the fact that I am in the business of coffee would come up and they would ask me where they could buy my coffee.” 34 CUISINE NOIR | ANNUAL 2022/2023

La Dulce Toro Café She figured she could best make a difference by opening an educational facility, which would provide both professional coffee industry training options for young people and less formal options for tourists keen to learn about Kenyan coffee culture. Included in her vision was a coffee shop where tourists and locals would find excellent Kenyan coffee, beautifully prepared. LA DULCE TORO “So I set up this coffee school, more like a community center where people can come and learn about coffee.” Or meet, hang out and drink coffee in the café she has called La Dulce Toro. She laughs when she shares that she pushed her 13-year-old daughter to do the foundation brewing and barista course. “She didn’t like me for that at first,” but mom was forgiven “when I told her it would mean great part-time jobs when she’s a student.” What Angwenyi has created has been well received. “It’s the first time the community has had a space dedicated to something so special,” she shares. The “school” and café are showcasing the diversity of Kenya’s different coffee-growing regions. “We are specifically promoting coffee

grown by women in the Central Valley and the Rift Valley.” Also, “celebrating artists who have believed in our vision” and by spotlighting different growing regions, taking visitors on a “coffee journey” through Kenya. Her new venture, including scholarships and intern wages, is financed through Vava Coffee. “If people come, hopefully drink a ton of coffee and purchase the merchandise we’re selling, the scholarship kitty grows,” the pragmatic effervescent visionary asserts. And then there is a “responsible tourism” arm. “If someone wants to volunteer expertise, we’re inviting them to come spend time with us, share this expertise, enjoy the island, and in this way contribute.” A favorite saying of Angwenyi’s is, “You cannot be what you cannot see.” She hopes seeing her, a Kenyan, successfully investing in Kenya will inspire others to dream and to follow their dreams. She also believes that while everything passes and changes with time, “what is real, what is forever, is who you are and what you are meant to share with the world.” It makes one want to say Viva Vava! Connect with Angwenyi, Vava Coffee and La Dulce Toro on Instagram @vavacoffee, @gentefuturo and @ladulcetorolamu.

Kimberly Prince

Spices Up the West Coast With Family’s Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe BY RUKSANA HUSSAIN



he Prince family legacy as the original creators of Nashville Hot Chicken and the drive of her ancestors to open a chicken shack in the deep South in the 1930s was sufficient motivation for Kimberly Prince to want to share that piece of culinary history with a larger audience. As a fourth-generation family member, she took it upon herself to transfer those flavors to the West Coast. That birthed the first iteration of Hotville Chicken in California as a pop-up in 2016. Witnessing the popularity of the menu offerings, Prince opened a physical location in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles in December 2019, all while still managing a day job in the entertainment

industry. But while some might think owning a legacy business might translate to grand success, Prince knows otherwise. THE BEAST THAT IS LOS ANGELES The City of Angels is a monster to conquer, as Prince soon discovered. Of course, she had a few unprecedented events in her way, including a pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, but was able to weather the consequences. “The brick-and-mortar is challenging. To get sales up since the pandemic and to regain that following that we had before, we’re just not seeing the numbers to justify the cost,” she says. Despite a skeletal crew and “making every pivot possible

to stop the bleed,” she shares, “it’s like the debt crater is widening.” Prince isn’t new to the business. Her family still owns and runs Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, Tennessee. But Prince was new to doing business in LA and found it to be difficult, with permits and quarterly fees quickly mounting. The city also had some of the most stringent health mandates in place during the pandemic, which in turn affected Hotville. Add to that the fact that the space is located alongside a mall property but not within the mall itself. Once retail businesses closed due to COVID-19, the little hope Prince held for associated traffic heading her way also diminished. WWW.CUISINENOIRMAG.COM


LOYALTY TO HER FAMILY’S LEGACY A framed image of her ancestors at the entrance to her restaurant provides a sense of pride for Prince as she often gazes at it to renew her passion. “My family are the pioneers. My grandfathers are the OGs of Nashville fried chicken,” says Prince. “My great-great-uncle Thornton Prince and his family started and launched the very first Nashville Hot Chicken Shack in America. I am just one member who has taken it and shared it with the rest of the world with all the authenticity I can muster.” Nashville Hot Chicken is a food genre all to itself, different from regular fried chicken. A proprietary blend of spices is the secret. Chicken is brined, floured, and fried in the said spice mix to give it the signature taste and texture. At Prince’s location, you start by choosing the piece of meat, then your level of heat—which ranges from a West Coast plain all the way to a Nashville hot, along with a mild and a medium option thrown in for good measure—followed by a handful of signature sides. Hotville hasn’t gone unnoticed—the many media mentions substantiate that—but why, then, aren’t they translating to revenues? PANDEMIC-ERA WORRIES AND WOES Hotville is one of many businesses that fell through the cracks and did not receive the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) or the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. In fact, the first round of the PPP loan was also a struggle. The Vermont Slauson EDC (Economic Development Corporation), an area nonprofit, helped advocate for Prince and other small businesses by bringing in a team from CNN to speak with her. That appearance garnered some attention, and anonymous donors helped Hotville stay afloat. When Prince eventually received the first round of the PPP loan, it was spent on back rent, utilities, payroll, suppliers and other expenses. She still had to deal with curfews during the pandemic and the protests, changing indoor and outdoor dining rules, new mandates for masking and social distancing, and more. But then another blow occurred when she applied for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), only to discover her application showed a predetermined amount that she supposedly had received in the second round of the PPP loan funding—the same one that she had, in fact, been denied. Despite appealing to the Small Business Administration, that amount was factored 36 CUISINE NOIR | ANNUAL 2022/2023

in on her RRF application, and she received less than anticipated. EMPOWERING HER COMMUNITY AND OTHERS Meanwhile, little miracles and blessings from community members and others gave hope. Actor Danny Trejo’s team contacted Prince for a month-long collaboration doing hot chicken alongside his Mexican-inspired dishes in his restaurants. She accepted every opportunity presented to her with gusto. Vocal as she is about her own hardships, Prince sees the difficulties experienced by other restaurateurs and especially women in hospitality. She is involved in RE: Her (Regarding Her), a nonprofit organization founded by women restaurateurs in LA in response to the pandemic. To provide advocacy, support and funding, they launched an event called 10-day Regard Her Festival in 2021. Now the LA chapter has more than 400 members and provides grants, training and more for fellow business owners to succeed. Prince has also tried her best to support every initiative in her community to increase vaccination numbers. Yet the numbers remain low and heartbreaking for Prince, as this has a direct impact on her business given past health mandates issued by Californian authorities, such as proof of

vaccination required to dine inside restaurants. By the time 2022 came around, the Super Bowl coming to LA was expected to save the day. But Prince feels her business was still gasping for air. Other opportunities have included working with the creative community at Soho House for a one-night-only event and catering a major NBA event as well. Both paid well for Prince’s time and resources spent. “It’s got me thinking broader that there’s opportunity here and with that comes readiness. You must be prepared to be able to take advantage of doors that open and not regret the doors that you must close,” she says. Such invitations to participate outside of Hotville’s physical space are received consistently, and Prince is looking at how to take advantage of that to help maintain and manage the restaurant. “I stretch myself and yield myself to learn as much as I can. I will forever be a student of this game and I’m grateful that I’m just here above ground still. COVID didn’t take me out of here. I’m still able to fry chicken, and that’s what I want to keep doing.” Hotville Chicken is located at 4070 Marlton Avenue and can be visited online at You can also follow @hotvillchicken on Instagram and Facebook.

3 Women Embrace Global Lifestyles

Inspired by Learning, Love and Location Independence BY RUKSANA HUSSAIN



lobalization has witnessed a rise in expatriation over the last few years. In the last decade or so, the Black community in the United States has seen more people opt for an expat experience, ranging from a few months in one country to a few years across several. Here are just a few voices from the global expat community, sharing lessons learned along the way as well as milestones celebrated. NICOLE STROUD - TEACHING HER WAY AROUND THE WORLD For Nicole Stroud of The Soulful Expat (@thesoulfulexpat), her current life in Thailand comes by way of the United Arab Emirates, China, Peru and Egypt, covered over the last eight years. These places are far from her native New York, where she was teaching in 2014 and saw an advertisement about moving abroad to work. With student loans to pay, that seemed like a great idea. “I remember watching the Steve Jobs speech at Stanford and that gave me a little kick. And then I remember my brother saying, ‘Nicole, you are always talking about how you want to do these things, so just do it.’ It was a culmination of these voices,” she says. But it took Stroud two years to acclimate to Abu Dhabi, where she taught at a government school. Then teaching took her to Shanghai. Now in Thailand, she works parttime in a language center while managing her mindfulness coaching business where she offers one-on-one coaching and mentorship to expats. “I wanted to design a program that would not only give the structure or logistical planning for moving abroad but also the emotional and mindset aspect because when the logistics are out the window, how do you deal with loneliness or make friends,” she says. “How do I create a life so it doesn’t feel like a vacation and more like something intentional based on my values and needs?”

Nicole Stroud The challenges Stroud observed are many. One is the transient nature of this lifestyle. Friends and acquaintances come and go, so being receptive to a floating set of contacts is important. Another is missing out on family milestones such as baby showers, birthdays and anniversaries. Finally, loneliness is a real issue, and learning to be content with being alone is a necessary skill. Not having someone close to share a special moment with or even during difficult times is challenging. But the benefits are also plenty. “You spend so much time with yourself and get to know who you are as an individual without any outside noise,” Stroud says. Another plus is having a better understanding of the world and viewing international affairs as a global citizen, making you more conscious

of how interconnected the world is. She also shares a higher appreciation for personal connections contributing to an enhanced quality of life, which Stroud looks forward to during her two-year stint in Thailand. CHARLOTTE VAN HORN - RELOCATING FOR LOVE AND LEARNING Hers is a love story. Charlotte Van Horn (@blackexpatsinpanama_tm) met her husband Alfredo, who is Panamanian, when she moved from Glassboro, a small New Jersey town, to Biloxi, Mississippi. When she first met Alfredo, Van Horn thought his accent was from Jamaica. When he mentioned hailing from the Spanish-speaking country of Panama, she didn’t know where that was. Almost a decade later, she embarked on her WWW.CUISINENOIRMAG.COM 37

Charlotte Van Horn first international trip, and it was to Panama to meet Alfredo’s family. Multiple trips followed and eventually, they found a home, the one they now live in. While researching online, Van Horn realized she couldn’t find the information she wanted about the Black expat community in Panama. So, she created the Black Expats in Panama Facebook group in 2019. The events of 2020—the pandemic and the killing of George Floyd—stirred public sentiment in a way she felt but didn’t expect. Suddenly there was an overwhelming interest in the group, and Van Horn couldn’t keep up with the requests for information. “I wasn’t ready to be that relocation advocate, so I tapped into the resources I had met along the way. One of the people I contacted was ITA Global,” she shares. They worked on designing a trip for her, with a strong cultural component connecting visitors with the Black culture in Panama. “Black Expats in Panama shifted gears and became a relocation service,” she says. The first tours were in May 2021 and 30 visitors became acquainted with Panama through Van Horn’s efforts. Trip highlights included an understanding of the country’s history through visits to the West Indian Museum (SAMAAP), along with visits to city, suburban and beach areas where visitors could consider living long term. The tour also included a Cultural Caribbean Tour narrated by Afro-Panamanian tour professionals who broke down the history of Colón, an area largely populated by Black Panamanians. Language posed an obstacle, as did the local driving style, but none of that deterred Van 38 CUISINE NOIR | ANNUAL 2022/2023

Horn from continuing to love and learn more about Panama. Since May 2021, she has completed 13 Cultural Relocation Tours. To keep the community connected, she hosts an Annual Residency Celebration and several meetups throughout the year. The first official Residency Celebration was held in January 2022 and had over 40 expats in attendance. The next celebration is planned for February 11, 2023, during Black History Month and Black Expat Month. CINNAMON MCCANN - PURSUING THE PATH TO DUAL RESIDENCY Living in Lisbon, Portugal, Cinnamon McCann (@drivenspice) moved to Europe based on parameters such as healthy food regulations and affordable healthcare systems. Adding to that were factors such as the existing American political climate and experiencing several deaths of loved ones due to varying factors. Coming from a real estate investing and day trading background, she had to rebuild her life when both sectors were impacted during the 2008 recession. McCann turned to digital marketing to consider a locationindependent lifestyle. “The way I looked at life was drastically different,” she says. McCann moved to Portugal in June 2019 from the Washington, D.C. area. “I visited Portugal once, and the glamorized experience of visiting is completely different than when I moved here. I had several breakdowns because it’s a completely different culture and language.” Wanting to reside in Portugal meant she had to quickly find an apartment, get health insurance and

Cinnamon McCann accomplish a myriad of other tasks. “That can be overwhelming. If you don’t have an independent spirit, you will struggle,” she says. From her experiences, the Driven Spice brand was birthed, where she offers online courses and individual consults on entrepreneurship and living a location-independent life. Moving her business to Portugal was a bit of a challenge considering most of her clients were on the east coast, but McCann warns against waiting to move before establishing a business or garnering clients—it’s challenging to do once in the country. The employment scene locally isn’t particularly ripe with opportunities either. And if residing for an extended period is in the cards, then she recommends researching the market prices for real estate so you don’t contribute to regentrification or engage in bidding wars. Beware that the price quoted for a property and what the bank appraises toward a loan can be vastly different. Coupled with daily currency fluctuations, that’s some serious financial decision making. Culturally, trying to learn the language and history of the people is paramount, as McCann learned when she attended an event and referred to herself as an expat. She was reminded that immigrant is the preferred term—where expats want to take their culture and bring it to other places, immigrants try to learn the language and want to be a part of the culture. She now tries to be more conscious of her word choices in her newly adopted home where she is pursuing permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship.

Everyone has a story T H AT B R I N G S G E N E R AT I O N S TOGETHER

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