13 Jun Black authors & food businesses to support now
Minn’s Munchtime has always been about linking two big loves in my life – music and food. Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to gain a wider, more informed perspective. Part of this has involved looking at my cookbooks and music shelves. Why is it that I have no composers or culinary authors from the Black community? It feels like a lazy oversight. Now is the time to improve, hence my research into Black food businesses, authors and bloggers. Many people have been sharing similar lists which is a great starting point. I aim to educate myself and improve representation of all backgrounds on Minn’s Munchtime. To quote anti-racist activist Jane Elliott, ‘We don’t need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in the different things. You want the vegetables – the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers – to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences.’
Here are some fantastic people creating delicious food, nurturing inspiration and culture.
Products, restaurants, caterers
Berry and Brie – Fresh grazing tables and boxes. Visually stunning, perfect for any occasion.
Bokit’la – Family run business serving French Caribbean street food from Guadeloupe. Their speciality is Bokits (fried dough pockets) with chicken, saltfish or aubergine topped with homemade chilli sauce.
Borough 22 – Gluten free, vegan doughnuts. Creator Ryan also has fantastic options for low FODMAP and nut allergies.
Caribe – A celebration of authentic flavours from the Caribbean Islands. As well as a location at Pop Brixton owner Keshia Sakarah also provides catering services.
Chosan by Nature – ‘Chosan’ means ‘cultural heritage’ in the Gambian language of Wolof. Sales of their organic drinks, baobab jams and exotic fruit sorbets add to Chosan’s donations to food producers in Africa. Watermelon and infused hibiscus sorbet, could anything sound more refreshing?
Clued Up Coffee – Jerome’s coffee trailer is based on St Thomas Street by London Bridge station, perfect en route for Henry Wood Hall and a social distance caffeine stop.
Jerk Off BBQ – Caribbean BBQ in South East London. One look at the menu and I’m already plotting my order. Jerk chicken, chickpeas or tiger prawns…
Ladoki’s Cupcakery – All sorts of cupcakes including cookie cups, vegan and gluten free and a monthly VIP cake box. This month a percentage of all profits will be donated to Sickle Cell Society UK.
Paddy Cakes – Luxury bespoke cakes. Patrick and Chrystal’s background in construction and materials transferred to the edible realm in the form of beautifully designed celebration cakes. I love pink peppercorn with chocolate but have never had it in cake before – their pink peppercorn sponge with raspberry jam and ruby chocolate ganache is right up my street.
Pat and Pinky’s – Guyanese hot sauces. Celebrates Pat and Pinky’s homeland, farmers and produce. I immediately ordered the hot sauce bundle, can’t wait to try them!
Tasty African Food – No prizes for guessing what you can find here. High quality, affordable Nigerian dishes. They are the official caterers of the UK’s Nigerian Carnival. Grilled tilapia, goat stew and Efo riro (rich vegetable soup hailing from Western Nigeria) sound particularly mouth watering.
Tokunbo’s Kitchen – Founder Tokunbo Koiki loves bringing people together through food. Since 2015 Tokunbo’s Kitchen has provided West African catering services showcasing traditional Nigerian dishes with a modern twist.
Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen – From selling peanut butter stew outside her front door to kitchen residencies, supper clubs and now a cookbook Zoe is spreading the love for Ghanaian food. To overcome Covid related obstacles she has set up a Crowdfunding campaign to deliver hot meals to vulnerable people in her local East London area.
Ainsley Harriott – Everyone and their dog knows the legend that is Ainsley Harriott but how could I not mention this OG of food television? Awarded an MBE this year, he’s full steam ahead with Cooking in the Mediterranean. I’m looking forward to seeing his exploration of Petra and how pomegranate molasses are produced.
Bryant Terry – Bryant has a host of accolades to his name. A James Beard award winning chef, Chef in Residence at San Fransisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora, author of five highly acclaimed cookbooks, host of web series Urban Organic looking at unique approaches to urban farming. A leader in the food industry.
Chocolate for Basil – Jerelle Guy, author of Black Girl Baking, contributor to NY Times and owner of food photography studio EJC Studio. Expect divine shots of Jamaican lentil patties, beet & olive oil cake and pretzel shortbread cookies to name but a few. Inventive, realistic and mindful recipes.
Edna Lewis – One of the most revered chefs in America. Miss Lewis, as she was called by those who knew her, recalled tastes of her childhood, preserving the flavours of Southern food. Her lifetime spanned the 20th Century and I’m eager to learn more of her stories and experiences. I look forward to the day I can get my hands on a copy of her first book ‘The Taste of Country Cooking’ which, while £3.99 on Kindle, varies between £120-700 in print. In the meantime I’m equally happy with ‘In Pursuit of Flavor’, arriving next week!
Haile Thomas – This lady is a powerhouse. She started her non-profit HAPPY at the age of 12 to empower young people through holistic education. Add to that ‘international speaker, wellness & compassion activist, vegan food & lifestyle content creator, the youngest to graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach’. Oh and her book ‘Living Lively’ is out in August. [P.S she’s nineteen ⭐️ ]
Jocelyn Delk Adams (Grandbaby Cakes) – Jocelyn set up her baking business inspired by her grandmother and traditional recipes passed down over time. She is a well known face on American tv and has given a TED talk on Brand Authenticity.
Levi Roots – I remember when he appeared on Dragons’ Den with Reggae Reggae sauce all those years ago. Now Levi has built an empire encompassing cookbooks, a business book, tv shows, albums, seasonings, snacks and the latest addition – Reggaenaise! I love that his website allows you choose some of his songs to listen to while you browse, talk about getting in the mood. ‘Reggae Reggae…Reggae Reggae Sauce’…
Lopè Ariyo – Her book ‘Hibiscus’ helps you assimilate Nigerian ingredients. Familiar friends such as scotch bonnet chillies sit alongside those we might not know so well – eferin (clove basil) or atama (similar to tarragon with a liquorice scent). Lopè guides you on how to get the best out of these ingredients to give everyday dishes a new lease of life.
Lorraine Pascale – Model, chef, television presenter. Lorraine has lived many careers! Having completed her Food and Wine diploma at Leith’s and a degree on International Culinary Arts in Pastry she worked in fine dining restaurants such as Petrus, The Mandarin Oriental and The Wolseley. Currently as The Anxiety Coach she might not be so heavily involved in the food industry however her catalogue of culinary work remains online, particularly on BBC Food.
Original Flava – Brothers Craig and Shaun McAnuff started Original Flava in 2016, filming cooking videos from their Nan’s kitchen. Since then they’ve gathered thousands of followers on social media. The duo relate family stories and experiences of Jamaica while advocating their motto EAT – Easy, Accessible and Tasty.
Rachel Ama – One look at Rachel’s vegan recipes will convince you that you can still be creative in the kitchen using plant based ingredients. Spiced upside down apple cake, a Caribbean feast (jerk lentils, channa, mac & cheese) and Thai basil mince are just a few to get inspired by.