Taste of Black Austin Celebrates Food and Culture

Photo by Moyo Oyelola.
With standing room only in the Peached Social House, the sold-out event exceeded the planners’ expectations.

The Black cultural culinary seed has been planted, cultivated, and curated in Austin. The inaugural Taste of Black Austin (TOBA), hosted by the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, successfully highlighted several delightful delicacies. The palatable portions were “inspired by African dishes found through recipe books and menu selections archived by the Austin History Center and Black churches in the community.” The TOBA vintage voyage transported participants on a historical journey of Black food in Central Texas from 1870 to the present.

The food at TOBA was magnificent, though elbow room was minimal. With standing room only in the Peached Social House, the sold-out event exceeded the planners’ expectations. “We did it relatively quickly too, I think within a three-month time span; and to see you all here is just amazing,” said Tam Hawkins, president and CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce. Urban Roots was the designated beneficiary of the function. Hawkins stated, “We created this program to make certain we could allow students of color to recognize their ability and to do so many amazing things in a food space.”

TOBA chronicled black history around food and food entrepreneurship.

As reflected in the theme, Exploring the Cultural Food Ways of Central Texas, TOBA chronicled “black history around food and food entrepreneurship.”  The list of local chefs featured is lengthy and impressive, yet not fully inclusive of all local African American culinarians.  Hawkins said that while several participating chefs are currently Chamber members, TOBA also included those who are yet to join.  TOBA is another invitation to join the Chamber and benefit from this exclusive exposure.

Attendees also sampled hoecakes topped with smoked brisket and sweet potato Ancho chili sauce.

Photo by Moyo Oyelola

Taste of Black Austin placated palates with delectable dainties and spicy spirits. Select savory Hors d’Oeuvres included peanut soup, biscuits with fresh butter, fruit preserves and cornbread, and spicy Austin jambalaya.  Other dishes showcased were honey vegetables, Central Texas chili, fried chicken medallion with corn pudding, and collard greens.  Attendees also sampled hoecakes topped with smoked brisket and sweet potato Ancho chili sauce.

Decadent desserts tantalized taste buds: Sock It to Me cake, teacakes, and sweet Texas candies, Divinity and pralines.

Food lover Latasha Green affirmed, “This is a great event. I loved the food, and it was a great turn out.  Can’t wait for the next one.”  Cosmopolitan patron Meredith Sisnett also endorsed the evening’s success:

“The evening was filled with warm welcomes and joyful smiles. Everyone was eagerly anticipating the opportunity to experience culinary delights made by Black people, with Black people and others who enjoy food for the soul. I feel very fortunate to have experienced such a wonderful and much-anticipated evening and look forward to more cultural events sponsored by The Greater Austin Black Chamber.”

Indeed, next year’s Taste of Back Austin promises to be even more scrumptious. Make plans to treat yourself. Your taste buds will thank you.

YUM’s! the word

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