Celebrating African American Cuisine at Butterfunk Kitchen
Written by Salvatore DiBenedetto [The Grubfather]
Chef Chris Scott stood before our group, eyeing each of our reactions to his first course of butternut squash fritters and crispy pig's feet. His eyes were relaxed but wildly alive with passion. In the many years I've known Chef Chris, I'd always noticed how much pride he took in educating others about the world of food. That's exactly why I had gathered this group of food influencers and friends around this table; to showcase the historic elements of African American cuisine.
"It's my sincere belief that Soul Food deserves its spot at the world table. To me, soul food goes so much deeper than fried chicken and black eyed peas. Tonight, I'm going to show you what I mean." And with those words, Chef Chris enlightened our taste buds with recipes and flavors that brought us on a journey from West Africa to the Deep South to the Western African American settlement of Nicodemus. The dinner landed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day which brought the energy and mission of the meal full circle.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about food is its ability to take people to different places. When Chef Chris and I sat down to plan this dinner, our objective was clear: To give soul food the shine and respect it deserves. For far too long, people have associated "Eating African American" with little to no depth. Seizing upon the harrowing journey from Africa to America and how flavors and technique transferred during these times was something Chef Chris and I felt very important. The meal which he crafted was an incredible showcase of this very idea.
1) Butternut Squash Fritters & Crispy Pig's Feet
2) Mushroom Dumplings, Virginia Bourbon, Caramelized Onions, Sour Creme
3) Nicodemus Whole Wheat Roll, Corn Butter
4) Roasted African Yam, Spiced Peanuts, Boiled Peanut Hummus
5) Buffalo Pulled Pork and Potato Waffle
6) Lemonade Fried-Chicken Drumstick Basket
7) Pork Ossobucco, Bacon & Turnip Hash, Apple Cider Reduction
8) Chocolate Donut, German Chocolate Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream
The ending conclusion left the group genuinely inspired and insanely full. We accomplished our goal of shining a light onto the deep history of African American cuisine and honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through the culinary arts.
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