African-American cuisine, already a melange of southern, French, British, Native, and Afro-Caribbean influences, is changing again as it fuses with Asian, recent African, and Mexican traditions. We’ll celebrate this ongoing change with amazing small plate selections, paired with wines and spirits.
Driving the fusion are five women of color from the US and beyond who are creating innovative companies and authentic food stories:
Joi Chevalier is an honors graduate of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts who combines the best of her technology background with her love of culinary arts in a food+tech incubator called The Cook’s Nook, which is focused on developing early stage food entrepreneurs and companies. Through her culinary experiences company, food+cultures at The Cook’s Nook, Joi has developed and supported food events around Central Texas, including Austin City Limits Festival, Austin Food and Wine Festival, Somms Under Fire, World Fantasy Convention 2018 and Taste of Black Austin. She speaks regularly on entrepreneurship, food+tech, product management, and the opportunity for women and African-Americans not only in technology, but also through food entrepreneurship. Joi is the chair of Girl Scouts of Central Texas Alumnae Committee, and is on the board of the Austin Astronomical Society. When she’s not at The Cook’s Nook, she’s tending roses, looking through her telescope in state parks, participating in high performance driver’s education events, or traveling with her husband and her niece.
Leigh-Ann Martin, born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago spent twenty-one years on the twin islands before she moved to the U.S. 2006.
While she continues a career as an Administrative Professional, her first love of food and its creation never left, and after much deliberation, enrolled in culinary school. While she worked full time, Leigh-Ann attended part-time classes and volunteered every chance she got at the James Beard House and at the BRC where she taught summer classes to the senior residence on eating healthy on a dime. It all lead her to graduate with high honors and now is a proud alumna of the Institute of Culinary Education. She’s worked with one of the industry’s leading lady chefs, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli at Butter Restaurant and The Darby Supper Club in NYC.
Being ‘Trini-to-d-bone’, farm-to-table has always been the way she has eaten and one of her missions is to re-introduce home cooking back into the lives of others. Gasparillo Junction Blog - named after the village where she grew up, shares recipes she creates at home for herself inspired by her travels within the Caribbean and the accessibility to ingredients in New York City. She aims to breathe new life into the cooking process, making restaurant-quality meals fun and accessible to the average single lady or gentleman.
Her cooking style is comprised of four basic elements:
1. Caribbean flavors
2. Simple ingredients
3. Easily replicable techniques
4. Beautiful plating
Leigh-Ann recently assisted Chef and Author, Asha Gomez at the Iconoclast Dinner at the James Beard House. She has created Caribbean-inspired menus and cooked for private supper clubs in NYC and her latest pop-up dinner in La Crosse, Wisconsin at Uptowne Café and Bakery.
As if consumed by an invisible flame to (in her own words) "spread the Gospel of Filipino food", Chef Yana Gilbuena had ordained herself an evangelizer dedicated to spreading the love that springs forth from soulful Filipino cooking.
Hailing all the way from the city of Ilolilo, Yana's roots can be traced down to an island found at the center of the Philippine archipelago. Yet anyone who’s known her would not be surprised to find this adventurous spirit traveling throughout North America with the hopes of shedding light on what many would agree is a highly underrated gastronomic genre.
"Call me a culinary crusader; I just wanted Filipino food to be known.”
Chef Yana’s creation, the SALO* series, is not only a meaningful recognition of the finest points of Filipino food and culture, but deeper than this, it also highlights the best thing about Philippine dining, which is bringing people together on the table for a hearty good time.
Multifaceted, and simultaneously bursting with freshness and spice -- words that easily describe Filipino food, as well as this young chef that is bringing its flavors to the front line of edible culture. If dining well is indeed the key to a life well lived, then it would be wise to grab a seat at Chef Yana's table whenever she'd drop by a city near you.
Adrian Lipscombe is a native of San Antonio, Texas and spent the last five years in Austin. She is a restaurateur and owner of two companies. Her culinary background focuses on southern food and pastries. She continues to test the limit of flavors of the south in her recipes, as well bridge her family roots of southern cuisines into her dishes
Enrika (Ey) adores food. Always has, since she was a small child growing up in Mississippi. She grew up intrigued by PBS cooking shows, her grandfather's gardening and her grandmother's uncanny and unfailing knack for entertaining in the truest traditions of "southern lady" charm. Currently Enrika is working as a personal chef to a prominent Houston family, as well as expanding her New Leaf culinary brand.