Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Black Chefs Rising: Food for Thought

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

I just wrote a story for on rising culinary star, Nilton Borges, Jr. He's an Afro-Brazilian (which I know can be viewed as redundant) who is making his mark as the executive chef at Amali Restaurant in New York City. Amali is a Mediteranean restaurant, specializing in seasonal, local fare.

I really enjoyed talking to Borges because his 'son of a Black doctor in Brazil with pressure to follow in his father's footsteps, to restaurant worker in the United States' story was fascinating. And familiar. Borges said he had two hurdles to being accepted in fine dining kitchens here in the US, being Black and an immigrant. Please check out the story and leave a comment if you feel so inclined.

And speaking of Black chefs. Did everybody pick up their copy of Marcus Samuelsson's new memoir, Yes, Chef. Finally, we hear the details to his amazing life story from Ethiopia to Sweden to New York City and back again. Samuelsson says his whole life has been about 'chasing flavors.' Sometimes I feel the same way.

Case in point, for my mother's birthday, I prepared a dinner that brought together all of the flavors of my past; Moroccan chicken, rice salad with avocado and oranges, green beans with toasted almonds and a banana pudding with 'Nilla wafers for dessert. Kinky Gazpacho all the way.

Where would you have to go to chase the flavors of your past?

I'm listening.



PatriciaW said...

Very cool. I love finding out about and following new Black chefs. Most of the ones I know come from cooking shows, like Roble, Tre Wilcox, G Garvin, Jeff Henderson, Carla Hall. I would love to walk into a five star restaurant only to discover the head chef was Black.

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

I'm ordering Samuelson's book! I'm so looking forward to reading it. I've lived in a number of foreign countries and love cooking and finding out about local cuisines.

My own "home cuisine" is Dutch, and I know what they say about Holland not having any cuisine. But we do eat ;) and of course I get a craving for the food I grew up with at times, like thick split pea soup (erwtensoep) and kale-and-potato mashpot with sausage (boerenkoolstamppot met worst).

Fortunately, I'm able to make these foods at home in most places, if not in tropical climes.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your hearing Nilton's Borges Jr. story. I really admired the fact that he has taken another young black Chef (Martell Fonville) on board with him. I know this young man and his story is also fascinating- raised by a single mother (and other supporting family members), came to NY and studied at the French Culinary Institute right out of high school . These young men are forces to be reckoned with and I hope we here more about their journey's soon! God bless them both! Thanks for the article. Sincerely, Tashawn Fonville (proud Aunt of Martell).

Sharontina said...

I so have to get a copy of Yes, Chef! I heard Marcus--as if I know him on a 1st name basis--talk about it in an interview on the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference livestream. Any who, I love your ending question, but sadly enough, I don't really have an answer. I've only trotted to a few states (never out of the country), but since I have this BIG obsession with Mexican cuisine, I'll go with that! Muy delicioso!


LT said...

Well, I hope you get a chance to walk into Amal!

Miss Footlosse,
Please tell us if you enjoyed, Yes, Chef. And now I wanna go to Holland even more!

Anon, aka Martell's Aunt!
Awwww, that is so sweet. I'm so happy he has such an awesome cheering section. He's going to go far!

Yes, get his book. He is driven!