The evening traces the influence of food and farming in the preservation of Black history and culture under the theme From Farm to Table.
“We want people to enjoy the incredible cuisines that tie us to our past,” said Tam Hawkins, president and CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event. Guests will be treated to a variety of savory small plates created from archived recipe books and historic menus.
confit chicken seasoned as if touched by gods
I was invited to a preview tasting event at The Cook’s Nook, a culinary incubator, where chefs Demmerick Johnson and Shontae Moeller served their take on soul food classics. They presented a delicate salad built around a pork rind, confit chicken seasoned as if touched by gods, collards that could put your auntie’s to shame, and a spiced bread pudding drizzled with creole cream cheese.
Chef Moeller explained how trimmings and scraps once deemed “nasty bits” in Black cuisine are now considered prime culinary ingredients. Similar pieces of food history will be presented in a curated photo exhibition of black food from past to present.
The evening is also about economic development within Austin’s black community. Businesses that participated in last year’s Taste of Black Austin experienced a striking rise in sales, according to Hawkins.
even though we struggle, we also grow
“We hear a lot about the Black flight from Austin, but we don’t hear how the Black retail and trade sectors in Austin out earned all other Texas cities 3 to 1,” Hawkins said. “People have to know that even though we struggle, we also grow.”
The 2018 Taste of Black Austin: From Farm to Table will be held at Peached Social House at 6500 North Lamar Blvd at 6 p.m. on February 20. Tickets can be purchased online.