Some people follow collegiate and professional sports. Others follow politicians, visual artists, authors, filmmakers and musicians. We follow Black African American male and female chefs, food writers and culinary innovators to explore who they are and how they are revolutionizing and reconnecting us to the taste of the African Diaspora. Our project is a series of short films that tell their stories.
Why this project? Because in the mid-1940s Miles Davis, before he became Miles Davis, once replaced Dizzy Gillespie in Charlie Parker's quintet. They had a deep respect for each other and frequently jammed together--experimenting with form, improvisation and technique. Together, and as individual, they transformed popular music and influences the way generations of musicians would play Jazz.
So, it is in the culinary world and Black food spaces.
Chef B.J. Dennis is a nationally-renown chef. He is often celebrated for his exquisite Gullah/Low-Country dishes and frequently collaborates with Chef Omar Tate, a brilliantly creative, rising star working in New York City. Both men have also worked with Dr. Howard Conyers, who is an award-wining 3rd generation barbecue pit master and culinary historian.
They are just one small, contemporary example of the brilliantly creative culinary talents, among men and women, that are increasingly on display in pop-ups, food festivals and restaurants across the country. Collectively, and individually, their work will change not only how the world regards African-heritage cooking but may also influence what it will taste like in the future, as they inspire future generations.
African-heritage cooking--including Southern /Soul Food, Afro-Caribbean and East and West-African cuisines have been regarded with far-too much passivity—especially among black people. It’s simply another imprint of racism in the United States. For too long, we have thrown-out the very things that connect us, nurtures us and possibly provide greater prosperity for our children. But no more.
Today, over 40 years after Edna Lewis published 'A Taste of Country Cooking’, a revolution in black cuisine has begun. An entire generation of African Americans in the food industry are drawing inspiration from their shared cultural past in order to expand and redefine how the world sees and tastes African-heritage cuisines.
This a profound cultural moment. Talent and access to capital, increased industry networking and exposure is allowing talented African-American culinary leaders-including chefs, bakers, writers, historians, chefs, mixologist and restaurateurs to make African/ African-American heritage cuisines--and the brown hands that prepare it--to be regarded among the finest that man has ever tasted. And we are just beginning to taste the possibilities.
Sharing their stories of the men and women who masterfully propel this movement is the singular goal of this project.
Ascender Films, Inc. is a media production company, established in 2005 and based in Washington, DC. We specialize in producing premium digital content .
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