Black chefs telling their own stories through food

A NIGHT IN, our rotating series of Black chef-led at-home dining experiences, showcased the immense potential of an inclusive culinary future.

A pandemic-induced pivot

Black Chef PopUp Packaging for Ada Supper Club

Photo Cred: Liz Clayman

It was February 2020. We had just launched Adá Supper Club with a mission to celebrate Black expression through communal dining experiences. After wrapping up our first dinner parties with chefs Brittney “Sitkxz” WIlliams and Shenarri Freeman, we were eager to build on the momentum. 

Little did we know, the world had different plans for us.

The COVID-19 pandemic quickly shut down all in-person events, and we were forced to reimagine our collaborative supper club within this new paradigm. After months of baked breads, tie-die shirts, and Verzuz battles, we relaunched with A NIGHT IN, our series of multi-course & multi-sensory at-home dining experiences. 

Each month, we collaborated with a Black chef to translate their 3-course menu into an upscale boxed delivery. We filmed an interview with each chef to share their story & inspiration behind the meal. We curated a playlist that customers could enjoy while dining. And we included plating & reheating instructions to help New Yorkers fully recreate the magic of thoughtful culinary experiences in the comfort of their own homes.

Over the next year and a half, our community of talented Black chefs curated unforgettable food experiences that celebrated global Black food culture and heritage. We’re honored to be described as a game-changing culinary concept by Thrillist. We’re also proud to support newly restaurant-less Black chefs who are carving their own path in the world of hospitality, as noted by the New York Times. 

Here, we reminisce about the delicious bites and meaningful stories that our collective of Black chefs shared through their food.

Fusing pan-Asian traditions with Black food culture

A number of our pop-ups included creative mashups of Black & pan-Asian culinary traditions. 

Chef Rasheeda Purdie, chef/owner of Ramen by Rā, curated 3 beautiful ramen-centered dinners. Each explored the connectivity between her Southern American food culture and Japanese traditions. In her New Year’s pop-up “Resolution”, she prepared black-eyed pea potstickers and Japanese cornbread pancakes, among other dishes. The entire menu combined Southern American and Japanese New Year’s food rituals in a delicious way.

Chef Brittney “Stikxz” Williams commemorated the island of Jamaica in her experience, “The Land of Wood & Water”. Her entree included a jerk mushroom brodo served over udon noodles with pimento-smoked chicken, a creative ode to the versatility of Caribbean flavors.

Chef Toya Henry also incorporated bold Bajan & Jamaican flavors alongside Southeast Asian nuances inspired by her travels. Her meal began with an Asian pear & kabocha cake salad and continued with an unbelievable green-seasoning-stuffed chicken and rum-infused chocolate truffle.

Black chefs paying homage to the classics

While we love innovation, there’s nothing like classic comfort food.

Chefs Elle Simone Scott & Chimere Ward, co-founders of She Chef Inc., paid homage to the culinary diversity of New York City, with crispy falafel, tangy escovitch fish, and warm peach cobbler.

Chef Kia Damon represented for the 504 & her Creole roots in Embrace, three courses that explored Louisiana’s rich food history.

Global BBQ ran the show for Chef Jahvel Frasier’s pop-up. He combined American, Caribbean, & Asian BBQ flavors to celebrate togetherness & community.

Chef Nana Wilmot honored the matriarchs in her life through a menu of classic Ghanaian dishes, including flavorful jollof rice and tender suya beef skewers.

Recounting travels in multiple courses

For some chefs, their A NIGHT IN pop-up was an opportunity to reminisce about a recent trip.

Chef Adjoa Kittoe brought us along on her trip home to Ghana in Ode to Yaaba. Featuring jollof rice arancini and dawadawa-infused broths, her menu was an inventive interpretation of her daily trips to the market & car rides down bumpy roads in the capital city of Accra.

Similarly, Chef Kwame Williams traversed the multiple terrains of Jamaica through his menu. From Kingston street snacks to smoky Blue Mountain grilled meats, Chef Kwame’s menu made us feel like we were on the island alongside him.

Fresh & seasonal flavors from Black chefs' perspectives

Seasonal cooking is a core value that many professional chefs live by – and our community of Black chefs is no different.

Chef Christa Lynch presented Morebeza, a beautifully refreshing Cape Verdean menu that took advantage of local produce. Her seasonal menu helped debunk the myth that Afro-diasporic flavors can only be cultivated with hard-to-find ingredients. 

Meanwhile, Chef Lana Lagomarsini taught us how to eat like Edna Lewis. Her delicious menu reimagined what the culinary icon would enjoy during a crisp Spring day.

Honoring Afro-diasporic folklore traditions

A few of our chefs incorporate traditional storytelling & folklore into their dining experiences.

Chef Cybille St.Aude crafted a playful menu that celebrated the spirits of Haiti. Included with her entree was her version of spicy Ti Malice sauce and a brief background on its namesake, a trickster character in Haitian folklore.

According to Maria Yagoda of Food & Wine: “When I unpacked the dinner…I felt like I had finally escaped quarantine, if just for a few hours. The food, a rich culinary exploration of Haiti, was thoughtful and joyous.”

Similarly, Chef Anya Peters of culinary studio Kit an’ Kin explored the concept of home in her pan-Caribbean menu. Leveraging Afro-diasporic oratory traditions, she brought guests into the world of her maternal grandmother’s childhood home in Evarton, Jamaica.

Although prompted by a global pandemic, our A NIGHT IN series created a joyful space for Black chefs to tell their own stories on their own terms. We’re excited to continue to build spaces & legacies for Black culinary expression & innovation.

Planning a team-building event?

Explore our virtual and in-person cooking classes, mixology experiences and more — all hosted by Black chefs and culinary creators.