The Black Chef Series kickoff event took place in Harlem on July 24. The exclusive event showcases the talent and culinary creations of African American chefs and has been held annually for the past three years. Black Enterprise’s Executive Managing Editor Alisa Gumbs served as host.
The kickoff was held at the Blujeen restaurant. Guests paid $65 per ticket to feast on a four-course meal that began with a cocktail reception. Menu items included fried green tomatillos with dashi collards, smoked fat crab Louis; bacon wrapped pork tenderloin; and among the dessert offerings: banana nut-bread pudding; avec crémasse du haitien; and sweet potato crema pasticerra cake.
The featured chefs included:
Vaughn Moore, the executive chef and owner of Mere Violas:
Russell Jackson, Owner-Operator at SubCulture Dining:
Lance Knowling, Chef/Owner at Blujeen NYC:
Darrell Burnette, Chef/Owner/Operator at Belle Harlem:
Knowling and Jackson, along with chefs Maxcel Hardy and Alize Beal founded the Black Chef Series. In 2015, co-founder Beal said about the event: “Our guests can expect to indulge in delicious food, great people, and amazing wine. You will have the opportunity to meet and converse with influential professionals during the communal style dining experience. You get to build business and personal networks, so bring a lot of business cards.”
Black-owned Harlem Brewing Co. served as the official brew and cider partner. Cutlery was provided by another black-owned business, iFork, which makes an innovative fork that never touches the table’s surface for a more hygienic dining experience.
The nonprofit partner of the Black Chef Series is The Black Man Can—an organization focused on celebrating, educating, and inspiring boys and men of color.
Additionally, a percentage of the evening’s proceeds from ticket sales went to various charities as per the event’s website.
Additional reporting by Kandia Johnson.