“I feel fortunate to be part of the cooking community. We learn from each other." - Chef Marcus Samuelsson
Branded Wine Glass from the Festival
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the "Everybody Is A Star" Testing Tent Event , a part of the Bayhaven Food and Wine Festival with my friend and writer extraordinaire Emiene Wright. This is the third year of the festival, but my first time attending the event due to cake orders and deliveries. Last year I promised myself that I was going to attend this year, even if it was only one event. The event description from the Festival website: Join us for more than 50 food and beverage talents from all over the country. There will be a variety of food from the top chefs from east to west coast as well as plenty of beverage options! - I would have to agree! Read below to learn a bit more about the Festival and our overall experience.
What is Bayhaven Food and Wine Festival?
The Bayhaven Food and Wine Festival celebrates Black foodways and the industry members who make them possible, the festival will honor the diaspora, foster education, and create meaningful and joyous moments of celebration.*
The Festival was founded by three-time James Beard nominated chef Gregory Collier and his wife/business partner Subrina Collier, who are no strangers to the culinary world. The Colliers own Leah and Louise, (the Mud Island dish is amazing) and Uptown Yolk (great chicken wings), both Charlotte, North Carolina based restaurants.
The name Bayhaven is born of their collective roots in Memphis. Gregory grew up in the Whitehaven area of Memphis (near Graceland). Subrina grew up in the North Memphis neighborhood of Frayser, also known as The Bay.*
The Colliers are also the founders of The Soul Food Sessions, which is a series of innovative dining events designed to acknowledge and support people of color in the culinary arts, restaurant and hospitality industries and beverage services. I have experienced the Soul Food Sessions (exceptional event) and had the opportunity to provide "event takeaway" desserts a few years back.
Attendees at the "Everybody Is A Star" Tasting Tent Event
So - Let's get down to the good part - THE FOOD AND DRANKS!!!! (Yes I said dranks).
The premise for this year's' event was a battle of the food cities - WHO HAS THE BEST FOOD CITY?!! The following cities were represented in the battle:
Team Detroit led Ederique Goudia
Team DMV area led by Jerome Grant
Team Charlotte led by Chef Jamie Barnes
Team Chicago led by Lamar Moor
Team Vegan led by Chef Joya
Team Atlanta led by Joshua Lee
Due to the length of some of the lines, our strategy was to get in the shortest lines first and move from there. Our first stop was Team Detroit and Team DMV. Then we line hopped as we saw fit, checking out dishes from Team Chicago, Team Charlotte, then Team Atlanta, with a few drinks sprinkled in between. Below are some shots of the different offerings from each team.
(Disclaimer: I didn't get a lot of photos for the first few dishes because I was hungry and ate them before I remembered I was supposed to be taking photos. (SMH) We were also trying to get our game plan together and hold several drinks, and food, and a camera and a phone.)
Black Owned Alcohol Brands
The drinks were definitely flowing. I occasionally participate in an alcoholic beverage here and there. I was able to sample the beverages above as well as a few mixed drinks from the Charlotte and Detroit teams, as well as a non-alcoholic beer from Stella Artois.
Team Detroit - BATTLE CHAMPIONS
And the moment you are waiting for.....The winner is TEAM DETROIT!!!! Congratulations!
The food from this team apparently tasty since I did not get a photo of the Smoked Chicken Croquettes and Baobab Fare. My favorite dish from this team and the overall Festival was the Experience Relish. It was so flavorful and had just the right amount of spice.
Emiene and I at the Sunflower Photo Booth
A time was had. The weather was perfect. I saw lots of folks from the culinary world and cake customers. Great music by JustBManNoDJ, and of course Winston "Wilmo" Robinson getting the crowd hyped up. We also took a spin in the 360 photo booth. And I even met KJ of Black Food Fridays, but didn't get a photo. :-(
This was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed seeing Black Excellence in action. Next year I will make it a point to attend the tasting tent event and attend a few of the other events/dinners held throughout the week. The first week in October will be placed on reserve to attend the Bayhaven Food and Wine Festival. Check out the reel on my Instagram page August June's Kitchen to see what a good time we had.
BLACK FOLKS ROCK!!!! We really do.
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