In celebration of Black History Month, myself alongside 1LOVETO, had the honour of attending the Royal Ontario Museum's (ROM) new Kitchen Conversations series courtesy of Palattes of Africa with New York based chef, Pierre Thiam. Now in its fourth installation, Palattes of Africa is a unique culinary event spearheaded by fashion designer/curator, Chinedu Ukabam in collaboration with a rotating cast of burgeoning and established chefs and occasionally artists. Equal parts history and culinary art, Palattes aims to delight the senses while engaging the intellect. In addition, this installation is a joint collaboration with the ROM’s new C5 Restaurant & Lounge space, and gives students at George Brown College of Culinary Arts a place for hands-on experience.
This month's Kitchen Conversations series is neatly dovetailing in celebration of Carnival season, where Palattes of Africa will explore West African roots and interpretations of traditional South America and the Caribbean cuisines. Chef Pierre Thiam created a menu that connects the culinary dots between various food traditions from both sides of the Atlantic and in between. For instance, the menu consists of traditional dishes, flavours and spices such as: Jerk Chicken, Black Eye Peas steamed in Banana Leaves with Jamaican Slaw (Moin Moin), Brazilian Coconut and Fish Stew, and Haitian inspired Coconut Rice Pudding and Roasted Mango.
The Palattes of Africa experience excites our taste buds by drawing cultural inspirations from Jamaica to Nigeria and from Senegal to Trinidad, Brazil and Haiti. This Urban Contemporary African Diasporic Cuisine experience ties well with North America's ever-growing diverse demographic.
New York based, Pierre Thiam, is a Senegalese born chef and cookbook author who has been one of the main proponents of African cuisine in the world for the past 20 years through his two Brooklyn-based restaurants and catering company.
After a successful six-course meal and a few glasses of wine, the celebrations continued with the ROM's Friday Night Live (FNL) carnival themed event where guests jumped up, waved their flags and wined their waists to the mixes of Dr. Jay de Soca Prince DJ. Rocking your masquerade costumes was also optional.
For more information on the ROM's Kitchen Conversations series in collaboration with Palattes of Africa, check out their Activities and Programs here, and for a full list of FNL carnival-inspired events for the remainder of Black History Month, click on their Events Calendar here.