(WXYZ) — 'Taste of the Diaspora Detroit' is a 4-week series launching this week for Black History Month celebrating Africa’s contribution to America’s cuisine.
Studies show that 41 percent of Black-owned businesses have been forced to permanently close during the pandemic. Those in the restaurant industry have been hit even harder.
This weekly meal kit features food from Black-owned restaurants supplied by Black-owned local farms to create culturally inspired dishes for weekly curbside pick-up.
It’s all about food, community and culture. Locally grown and locally made.
“We are highlighting African cuisine as well as Creole, Caribbean and Soul Food,” says Ederique Goudia, the co-organizer of Taste the Diaspora Detroit along with Raphael Wright and Jermond Booze.
They created a program serving two meals from two different chefs weekly, packaged together and picked up curbside.
“This initiative, through the month of February, really has an opportunity to put $10,000 back in the hands of Black chefs and restaurants,” says Goudia.
While at the same time, educating those who like to eat on the culture that influenced the meal.
“Food tells a story. We not only want to tell the story of the food itself, but the stories of the chefs, restaurants and farmers,” says Goudia.
Week 1 focuses on African food and culture: Ghana and Burundi.
One meal comes from Baobab Fare in Detroit’s New Center area, named after the resilient African Baobob Tree known for thriving in harsh conditions.
Owner Mamba Hamissi is making an East African dish from his home country rooted in joy and gratitude.
“This is something, at this moment in Burundi, everybody eats,” says Hamissi.
The dish called Petit Pois features peas, potatoes and carrots.
“We use a lot of garlic, black pepper, white pepper,” says Hamissi.
It’s a celebratory meal enjoyed doing a brief reprieve from near constant famine in Burundi.
“This is very personal because growing up,” says Hamissi, “you’re not even sure you’re gonna get dinner, you’re not even sure you’re gonna eat the next day.”
Once a year, right now actually, is harvest season and peas are plentiful.
“Because peas are everywhere you don’t worry about what you are going to eat you know that now, we have food. That’s why it’s very very personal and I wanted to share with people,” says Hamissi.
Orders for a Taste the Diaspora box must be in by noon on Wednesday. On Friday, you’ll pick it up curbside from 2 pm - 6 pm at Oakland Avenue Urban Farm 9227 Goodwin St. Detroit, MI 48211.
Each meal comes with an incredible story and sometimes a soundtrack.
“Scan a QR code, listen to the playlist while you’re eating, then read some of the history. We wanted to make it a total sensory experience,” says Goudia.
Their goal is to sell 400 boxes a week and donate 100 boxes. Proceeds go directly to the chefs and local farmers who supply them.
“41 percent of all Black businesses have been shuttered because of this pandemic couple that with the restaurant closures, Black restaurants, cooks, chefs have been hit the absolute hardest,” says Goudia.
Meet the chefs and order meals on the Taste The Diaspora website: https://www.tastethediaspora.com/.