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African American chefs and Black culinary traditions are getting some recognition in Charlotte

Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

What we Americans eat is largely influenced by African Americans. The culinary traditions and iconic dishes we’ve come to love were created and brought to this continent by enslaved people.

Trouble is, they haven’t gotten the credit. Those contributions have largely been erased from the story of our food. Obviously, credit is due and in recent years that’s been happening as African American contributions to our food traditions have emerged from the shadows through books, documentaries, podcasts – even food festivals.

In advance of a food festival in Charlotte that is geared toward helping us understand just where the food we eat comes from, we dig in for a little history lesson.


Joseph Ewoodzie, associate professor of sociology at Davidson College and author of “Getting Something to Eat in Jackson: Race, Class, and Food in the American South

Emiene Wright, Nigerian-born, Southern-raised journalist based in Charlotte. She’s the author of the Charlotte Observer series earlier this year “The Skillet: How Black Cuisine Became America’s Supper.”

Gregory Collier, two-time James Beard award-nominated chef and owner of Leah & Louise in Camp North End. He and his wife Subrina are hosting the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival in Charlotte.

Related event:

The inaugural BayHaven Food & Wine Festival is October 22-24 at Camp North End in Charlotte. Details.

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.