The contributions that black food and beverage professionals have made to America’s food culture are substantial and should not go unnoticed. Black women and men are essential in pushing the industry forward yet this group is systematically overlooked, excluded and ignored.
Until robust stories that accurately reflect the diverse group of people who make up the food and beverage industry are told, the narrative is incomplete.
We are taking a step toward filling those gaps and broadening the conversation.
Black chefs, owners, sommeliers, managers, servers, bartenders, writers — the list runs deep — black women and men are in these roles, at all levels, and their stories deserve to be amplified.
Our journey starts at home in Chicago. Chicago’s thriving food and beverage scene has gained quite the reputation over the years. Host of the James Beard Awards, Chicago has grabbed national and global recognition and was recently named “Best Restaurant City of the Year” by Bon Appetit. But we’re here to tell you — the food and beverage scene in Chicago is way bigger than just one neighborhood or that handful of restaurants that you frequently hear about.
For our inaugural list, we cover nine Chicago (and Chicagoland) food and beverage professionals you should know. We’d like it if you'd read their stories but we’d love it if you’d support their work.
Angela Burke (@aburkeslife) grew up watching cooking shows on PBS pre-Food Network. She is a food and beverage marketer and writer who helps independent restaurants and small food businesses thrive.
Alisha Sommer (@alisha_sommer) is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for food, wine, and good stories. Her writing has appeared across the web and in print, most recently in the November/December 2017 issue of Chicago Woman Magazine.