After working all year to launch a four-day food festival that shows the diversity of African cuisine in America, its organizer was at the gym when he overheard a fellow black woman say she wasn’t going because she didn’t want to eat “all that fried food.”
“I temporarily couldn’t see straight,” Starex Smith wrote on his Facebook page.
He spent the next few minutes telling her about the Miami Gardens Food & Wine Festival, which runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1. The festival aims to highlight the foods of the African diaspora — particularly vegetables and plant-based dishes — many of which can be found in the city where the festival is based.
Celebrity chef Carla Hall of ABC’s “The Chew” and “Top Chef” headlines the event along with R&B artist Anthony Hamilton. And it concludes with a “foodie bus tour” of the city with South Florida rappers Trina and Trick Daddy, who is opening a nearby Miami Gardens restaurant with the executive chef and co-owner of DJ Khaled’s modern soul food restaurant, The Licking.
“Folks are going to see the authentic side of the diaspora’s cooking. And it’s fun to show the true nature of black cooking that knocks against the stereotypes,” Smith said.
The festival begins Aug. 29 with a tasting party at Yarumba Restaurant, which features the fused dishes of the Dominican Republic, along with Orlando vegan chef Jenn Ross of DaJen Eats, hosted by Hot 105 personality Jill Tracey.
The Art of the Black Bartender the next day, hosted by Angela Yee of the syndicated radio morning show The Breakfast Club, highlights 120 years of black mixology and spirits with bites by DJ Khaled’s longtime personal chef, De’Bronya Hodges, known as Chef Dee.
Grammy winning recording artist Hamilton, who will be signing a new cookbook, “Cornbread, Fish ‘n Collard Greens,” hosts Chef Hall for an intimate conversation and a varied tasting across the county line in Pembroke Pines.
And finally, Sunday ends with Trick Daddy and Trina taking diners to some of their favorite, out-of-the-way spots in Miami Gardens on a luxury charter bus.
“We wanted to show folks that Miami Gardens is a buzzy spot for so many great niches of ethnic food,” Smith said.
Miami Gardens Food & Wine Festival
When: Aug. 29-Sept. 1
Tickets: Prices start at $45 for a single event to $225 for a weekend pass. Available online at MGFWF.com