These two Black-owned Seattle restaurants show how to support Black chefs

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A year and a half after the George Floyd protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, which is raising awareness of the extent to which this country is leaving its black people behind, the lists of black-owned restaurants are less frequent and the shouts of budding black Assisting cooks calmed down. But for two of Seattle’s prominent black-owned restaurants, supporting blacks in the industry is an ongoing, dedicated part of their lives.

The change in the systemic problems that disadvantage black chefs and restaurateurs requires a shift from rampant gatekeeping to keeping doors open. These two restaurants show how this works.

Osteria La Spiga

Andrea O. about Yelp

Osteria La Spiga

In February, the cook and co-owner of Osteria La Spiga, Sabrina Tinsley, started the restaurant’s Future of Diversity Guest Chef Series. Running a one-time pop-up usually takes a lot of money on ingredients, tracking down a room, and drumming an audience, but this program does its best to make it as easy as possible for the BIPOC guest chef to come in and impress with their unique culinary stylings.

Natalie Evans from We Be JAMin ‘Bakery cooked Afro-Caribbean food, Monica Wachira from Monique’s Hot Kitchen cooked Kenyan cuisine and in September, winemaker Shae Frichette from Frichette Winery teamed up with chocolatier Michael Poole from Hot Chocolat for a class.

La Spiga provides the space, the equipment, makes ordering easier and buys all the ingredients. The guest chefs then take 20% of the evening’s proceeds plus tip home with them and many of them sell their own products in addition to the food they cook that evening. In addition, Tinsley interviews each chef on Zoom to make sure pop-up customers understand the context of the food and understand who made it and why. While you won’t be able to try the food, La Spiga’s website has an archive of all previous interviews.

The December version of the event is a pop-up holiday market on December 5th from 12pm to 4pm in the restaurant. The previous guest chefs sell their products, including spice mixes, oils, baked goods and sauces, as well as various hot street foods and raffle tickets for a basket full of things from La Spiga and the guest chefs.

These two Black-owned Seattle restaurants show how to support Black chefs

FILE – Employees and co-founders pose for a photo at the beginning of the chain’s life.

Ezell’s famous chicken

Ezell’s famous chicken

Siblings Faye Stephens, Lewis, and Darnell Rudd now openly discuss the many systemic challenges they encountered when black people tried to start a business in Seattle. Not only do they share their story of borrowing problems and city approval issues, but they hope to find ways that make it easier for today’s black entrepreneurs to follow a similar path. In September, the company announced its Rudd’s RUBB initiative: Raising Up Black Businesses. The popular fried chicken chain has partnered with grocery delivery company DoorDash to give $ 2,500 in unconditional grants to each of the 20 Black-owned businesses.

The partnership came about when DoorDash offered Ezell’s a free promotion in 2020 as part of their own efforts to support black-owned businesses. But while Ezell was doing fine at the time – fried chicken take-out is a pretty pandemic-proof operation – Ezell CEO Lewis Rudd took the opportunity to show how their support for black-owned companies could do even more.

The initial $ 50,000 ($ 40,000 from DoorDash and $ 10,000 from Ezell’s) was distributed in October. While all types of businesses received money, the group included grants to local food company Fully Charged Allergy Friendly Baked Goods (formerly Dotz).

Ezell plans to continue the program in the future and is recruiting companies to work with them to fund it as an ongoing operation. But while the formal organization wasn’t established until that year, for those who know Rudd, it continued his long tradition of helping employees and community members start their own businesses.

https://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/food/article/how-black-owned-restaurants-support-black-chefs-16582550.php