• the_maestro

Chef Omar Tate in Residence at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, NY

Back in February, I headed north twice to get a chance to experience the cuisine of two chefs in residence at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. After the second visit, I got admonished by the powers-that-be at work for traveling, so I decided to refrain from posting these blog entries until the semester was over (the third and fourth residencies I attended after being fully vaccinated, so there was no issue there, but I still didn't want to advertise). Now that things are wrapping up, I'm happy to bring you my reports on the last three residencies, which I'll post at a clip of about once per week. One of the most magical culinary journeys I have taken. Enjoy!


*. *. *


“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” - Toni Morrison

After my monumental experience during Chef Shola's residency at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, I decided I simply could not let myself miss out on the other three residencies in Stone Barns' first "Chef in Residence" series, particularly since a) the price of the meals are really a steal considering they include not just the most amazing ingredients you can eat, cooked by some of the best chefs in the country, but also wine and beverage pairings, and b) 100% of the proceeds from these meals benefit the nonprofit and incredibly important work of Stone Barns' research into sustainable agriculture.


The more obsessed I become with how agriculture works, and how fucked up it has become through our imbedded yet covert systems of capitalist mass production and profit-driven farming, the stronger a connection I feel to Stone Barns, and the more I am drawn back to this very special place. I feel no qualms whatsoever giving them my money in exchange for these experiences.


One of the most beautiful things about this residency program by Stone Barns is that they intend to uplift and represent communities most affected by the pandemic, and often this involves providing meaningful work to chefs who lost their livelihoods as a result of the pandemic. This is particularly true of Omar Tate, the second in their residency series.




“I want to be able to walk into my supermarket and get high quality food, I want to be able to go into a coffee shop in my neighborhood, where it’s beautiful and people are respected . . . It's all the things that I've desired for myself, that I'm just trying to bring to people, because we all desire respect, and dignity.”

Recently, a friend of mine, a white guy who grew up (and still lives) in the conservative Wasatch Back just outside Salt Lake City said to me, during one of our chats about the state of the world, "I just don't understand why everything has to be about race."


I understand where this sentiment comes from for him. I, too, grew up in Utah, a place with some diversity, such as a vibrant Pacific Islander community and a healthy Latino/a community, but one that is otherwise as white as the ski slopes in January. There were exactly two Black kids, for example, in my middle school class of hundreds. My high school wasn't much more diverse, besides the Tongan population, and I honestly don't think either of my elementary schools had any Black kids.


A place of diverse landscapes, but not necessarily a diverse population

For me, growing up in Utah, race didn't matter at all, because nearly everyone was white. And those who weren't white I didn't even begin to think to treat differently, because race was just not a part of my consciousness. It didn't seem to be a part of anyone's consciousness where I was growing up (at least, that's what my privileged lens told me). So this friend I mention, a product of his environment, probably had the same experience as I did, and just couldn't grasp why race was so much at the forefront of the national conversation for so many people.


This is a privilege of whiteness. White people don't have to think about race every day, because it's not something that anyone really makes us think about. Our race doesn't negatively affect the jobs we get, the way we are treated by police, the daily mini-aggressions that Black folks often face. For Black folks, it is all about race, because white society has made it all about race. A utopian society where nobody is treated differently would mean that race could not matter and not be important, beyond the positive bonds of commonality. But we simply don't have that.


My time in debate taught me a lot about race and structural racism. Not always (or even often) in the most productive way, but it taught me. And in turn, debate primed me for a lifetime of awareness of and learning about race and racism. And I still understand so little compared to what Black folks, indigenous communities, and other communities of color understand about race. It even makes me uncomfortable writing stuff like this, because I don't want to speak for the experiences of others from under the shroud of my own (significant) privilege. But I have come to believe that hearing about privilege from the privileged can sometimes make others of privilege understand these issues better.


The deep work on race in this country is just beginning, and it is among the most important conversations being had these days. Chefs like Omar Tate, who bring this backdrop to the most basic of human needs––food––are among some of the most important messengers of this work in the country.



"[N]ot only am I representing our culture through food, but I’m also making our experiences, regardless of what they are, acceptable. They need to be digested. They need to be understood and consumed.”

I came to understand race through the lens of food for the first time when visiting Indigo, the project of Chef Jonny Rhodes, in his own neighborhood in inner-city Houston back in 2018. I wasn't blogging at the time, but after the death of George Floyd and the reckoning with racism we began to have as a collective society, I felt compelled to share my experience at Indigo, one which moved me deeply and made me think much more about the nature and story of food. I encourage you all to read my blog about that dinner. Each dish at Chef Jonny's restaurant spoke to a component of the Black American experience and the foodways of enslaved peoples in the Americas and Black folks throughout American history and in contemporary society. It taught me how food can be so much more than just something amazing to eat. Food can be a social project, a link to something greater. In the words of Chef Omar, a chef can "change the world."



Cuisine Noir describes Omar Tate as Jonny Rhodes' "culinary double." Omar told me he considers himself Jonny's "doppelgänger." Raised in Philadelphia, Chef Omar learned to cook as an adolescent making meals for his siblings while their mother worked. A teen armed with a dream, he worked his way up from a $10 hour line cook job through various fine dining kitchens in Philadelphia. On the way, he learned about the terrible inequities of the culinary world, and endured significant struggles and setbacks because of his race. Guided by activists in the Black community, he studied and became interested in the foodways of Black history, as well as the broader context of that history. He studied the history of enslaved peoples. He studied the Great Migration from south to north. He visited the Black communities of the deep south. Through his work, he became a scholar of these histories and brought it to his work in the kitchen.


Chef Omar has an artistic mind, and incidentally is also an accomplished poet and visual artist, and it shows in his food. When he opened his NYC-based popup, Honeysuckle, and started to get national attention for his food focusing on the history and experience of Black American foodways, his dishes often were poetic in its inspiration and execution, and even regularly included poems or sketches. He even won Esquire's Chef of the Year award for 2020 because of his work. Cuisine Noir explains a few of the deeply thoughtful dishes at Honeysuckle:


One of the signature dishes he created was “Remnants on a South Philly Stoop.” It presented snow crabs, blue crabs, sunflower seed puree, charred lemon wheels, and other ingredients as a memory of summer block parties. “It connects the history from the South to the North. It was displayed on a slate that mimics a stoop, and everything just kind of looked broken. But it was the remains of what happened after a happy gathering,” Tate explains.


The entrée came with a copy of the Philadelphia Tribune and a poem Tate wrote with the same title as the dish. It expressed in words what the food said about Black folks, their culture and existences. The chef’s “Smoked Turkey Necks in 1980s Philadelphia" told another story. “The smoked turkey necks are about the MOVE fire in 1985. They looked charred, but they are not.”


Eleven people died, including five children, when Philadelphia police bombed a house occupied by MOVE militants and let the fire burn[] out of control, destroying more than 60 homes. Tate serves the turkey neck over a bed of smoking hay. “You are essentially looking at death. But when you break into the meat and eat the beans and eat it all together, it’s like going backward. You get to taste the life in it,” says Honeysuckle’s chef.


Sadly, just as it decimated the restaurant industry, the pandemic hit Chef Omar as well. His Honeysuckle popups no longer had an audience, and he lost his livelihood very quickly. He moved back into his south Philly neighborhood with his mother, and contemplated his next move, which would, all things considered, prove to be one of his most important.



“I will employ its residents, share a collective wealth, and create and display art that represents us, resulting in [our] being seen as human and powerful. To be allowed to own our destiny.”

Chef Omar was out of work, but a conversation with a local south Philly restaurant owner spawned his next move––offering take-out meal boxes for pickup during the pandemic. He started simply, with a protein, stewed greens, and banana bread, but slowly started offering some of the things for which he'd garnered so much acclaim in New York City, like barbecued goat with Caribbean spices and heirloom grits. During this time of upheaval, he also met his now-wife, Haitian chef, artist, writer, and community organizer Cybille St. Aude, who is his partner in building his new project in Philadelphia.


The Mantua neighborhood of Philadelphia, where Chef Omar grew up

He'd an idea percolating for a while––the only grocery store in his mother's Philly neighborhood had recently closed, and he knew he had to do something to ameliorate the resulting food desert. “It’s a food-insecure neighborhood. It’s a violent neighborhood. It’s a poor neighborhood, and resources are extremely limited,” Chef Tate told Cuisine Noir. “The hood is beautiful, regardless of what goes on there. In addressing what this beauty needs to thrive, I needed to create a grocery store.” Jonny Rhodes did the same thing with his Indigo space in his childhood Houston neighborhood when the pandemic hit, and it has since become an important artery of food security in the neighborhood.


Several months and a wildly successful GoFundMe campaign later, and Honeysuckle Provisions is well on its way to becoming an important staple of its community. A grocery store, café, supper club, and art venue under one roof, it will cater to the needs of the community and create a vibrant backdrop for the sharing of the stories of Black folks from the community, nation, and across the diaspora.


The organizers of Stone Barns' Chef in Residence series could not have selected a better representation of some of the most exciting work being done in terms of foodways of Black folks in this country, and one rainy Saturday afternoon, I chanced to be one of the lucky diners to bear witness to Chef Omar's artistry, flying up from Charlotte in the morning, sitting down for lunch in the afternoon in that beautiful old Rockefeller dairy barn, and jetting back home in the evening. A whirlwind 12 hour trip, and worth every moment and penny spent.


A rainy morning and cup of coffee at LaGuardia

I took some time in the days leading up to my pilgrimage to peruse the Instagram profiles of Chef Tate, Chef Barber, and Stone Barns, and came across Chef Omar's own beautiful description of his work during this residency:


"The best chefs dissolve the barrier of illusion and invite the guest into the realm beyond the curtain, where the truth lies. They open our eyes to the history, culture, land, seed, animals and people who, over hundreds and thousands of years, have made the meal in front of us possible . . . [T]he worlds that chefs straddle are vital to society. Chefs can literally change the world.
Honeysuckle is . . . a dining concept that uses food as a metaphor to describe the nuances and conditions of Black American life. It uses agriculture, food, language and art to enhance the conversation beyond the plate. Honeysuckle is about food and people simultaneously. Behind this curtain is joy and beauty draped in Black velvet and barbecue sauce. Behind this curtain is resilience and strength, hot as cayenne pepper. Behind this curtain is a truth usually unheard."

An exciting preview of my experience, indeed! I was actually glad that not much else could be found online about what dishes I would be enjoying, despite my searching, because the surprises of the journey made it all the more powerful in the moment.



I arrived to a foggy Stone Barns property just ahead of my 12:30p lunch reservation and was guided into the "Living Room" space, which I knew to be the shop at Stone Barns previously, which had been converted into an art gallery for the event featuring the work of Chef Omar and collaborators. Set up in the center was what looked like a living room, the floor graced with many jazz records, particularly Coltrane, Omar's fave, and a stick of incense burning. Throughout the gallery were selections of art from Chef Omar, Chef Cybille, and collaborators Gregg Moore and Felicita Maynard, all of which had a connection to some element of the forthcoming meal.



I was sat in my now-usual spot in the old barn, looking over a center table graced with Chef Omar's mementos and photos, over which was hung dried plants and Spanish moss, evocative of the south. On my table was a spray of cotton, and various hip hop, jazz, and other Black vernacular musics played over the speakers. When I arrived and took stock of what was around me, I noticed a pink powder was on my table in a small cup, and my server came over to welcome me and instructed me to pour some water in and stir––the powder was "Kool Aid," the first thing Chef Omar always prepared for his siblings as a young teen cooking meals for his family, but, of course, "elevated." Chef Omar wanted to "destigmatize" Kool Aid, and the process of making it. Made from dehydrated strawberries from the farm and other dehydrated plants, it was a bright, refreshing palate cleanser.




I ordered a Chef Omar-inspired cocktail to start, called "Grape Drink," a mix of concord grape, mezcal, and, in true Stone Barns fashion where a savory element is added to cocktails, whey. Served in a Mason jar, I found the cocktail refreshing, but a little too grape-heavy, and could have been better balanced with a shade more mezcal or some other ingredient.


As I was consuming both this and the "Kool Aid," the first course arrived at my table, of course with a story.








Black lung, a terrarium for black breath



This is one of the few dishes I was able to read about in advance, and I was excited to get to experience it. Chef Omar wrote about how 2020 featured so much Black death, from deaths at the hands of police to a pandemic that disproportionately ravaged Black and Latino/a communities. This piece in particular speaks to the former, and is loaded with all manner of imagery and meaning. Chef dedicates this dish to those Black folks who have recently died at the hands of police or armed vigilantes, listed on the menu.



They removed the terrarium before I snapped a photo, but here is a picture from Chef Omar's Instagram

On a cast that was made from sidewalk pieces outside his mother's home in inner city Philadelphia (three casts were made, and all three were in the Living Room art gallery we visited before the meal) rested a verdant nest of greens––mustard greens, radishes, and radish greens, enclosed in a terrarium. When the terrarium was lifted and I began eating, I found more goodies, such some young sunflower seeds and some fried pickled mushrooms. A ranch dressing and hot sauce were served alongside. Surprisingly, there were also two chicken thigh bones arranged in a cross at the bottom of the dish––it was as if the terrarium was the lung, and as you ate the greens, the representation of life and breath, at the end, lying on the sidewalk, just as George Floyd and countless others did, was death. My server agreed with my interpretation, and also explained that the crossed bones are also an important symbol for healing in hoodoo and voodoo culture, something in which Chef Omar takes interest.




Paired with this dish was a bone-dry manzanilla sherry, which read on the palate more like a white wine than a complex, oxidized sherry. Clean, dry, but with unmistakable sherry character, it was a nice addition that allowed the flavors of the glorious greens to really shine.




Notes from a Black pantry––a still life



In the "Living Room" space was a photograph Chef Omar took of the pantry of his wife, Cybille St. Aude, with books, produce, and some preserved things. As mentioned earlier, Cybille is also a chef, specializing in particular in Haitian cuisine. The dish, too, carried significant Caribbean currents. On the plate was smeared a plantain purée, accompanied by a Stone Barns carrot, slice of brûléed yam (omg), a heart of grilled pickled cabbage garnished with a Haitian condiment of vinegar and Scotch bonnet peppers called pikliz, and a slice of Granny Smith apple.



Alongside, a helping of "cabin spices" first appeared, to be deployed with the food at the guest's discretion. From Chef's Instagram:


Cabin Spice is . . . a large part of the reason why Black people were brought to this side of the earth. Our ancestors were not allowed to use the very spices they were brought here for. If they did it would be in secret to season their food in the cabins where cooking for their communities took place. It is blended primarily with allspice, clove, and some other things.


This was a wonderful way to highlight the glorious produce of the Stone Barns farm and pair it with Afro-Caribbean foodways. The slightly sweet plantain was a beautiful canvas for the three distinct veggie preparations. The almost-raw carrot benefitted from the sweet plantain and a healthy dusting of the cabin spice, the yam was soft and sweet with a crispy brûlée crust and flaky sea salt, and the smoky cabbage, my favorite, was only slightly pickled, with just a scintilla of heat from the potentially dangerous Scotch bonnet peppers and a delightful char flavor from the grill. A really great dish, and I admired the love and intimacy behind the photo and the dedication to Chef's wife's work and personage.


A cool pairing came to my table for this dish, along with a very happy Hannah, who was looking forward to pouring this wine for me. Furmint is a Hungarian grape that's primarily grown along the shores of Lake Balaton, just southwest of Budapest, and is behind Hungary's viticulture claim-to-fame, Tokaji, most often a rich dessert wine. It is rare in the US to find furmint that is not in a sweet Tokaji, but I have had, at more adventurous joints like Barley Swine in Austin, dry Tokaji, and my uncle Tom, who spent time in Budapest, is a big fan of these dry Hungarian wines. Dry, aromatic, and with a distinct petrol aroma reminiscent of a dry Riesling, it was complex but food-friendly, and yet another nudge toward exploring Hungarian wine in more depth.



Untitled (a toad in the hole for Latasha Harlins)


Hannah brought out a tiny cup of orange milk punch for me to pair with this next dish, in which "orange" is an important flavor, color, and part of the story. Just a couple weeks after the death of Rodney King in 1991, 15 year-old Latasha Harlins, a regular customer of a convenience store in inner city Los Angeles, was shot and killed when she was suspected of shoplifting by the owner. The item in question? A $1.79 bottle of orange juice. The incident only put fuel on the fire in advance of the LA Riots.


Chef Omar included a poem about the incident:



Many different names are given to this variety of dish, but "eggs in a frame" or "eggs in a basket" are most common (at least in my experience). "Toad in the hole" is a British dish that is technically a sausage in an egg casserole, but has also been used to describe eggs in a frame, and also a bullet in a gun, or a bullet in the head.



The bread was made of sweet potato flour (an orange vegetable) and was almost melty-soft and beautifully crisply seared. Inside was the yolk of a Stone Barns egg (also orange), with an orange-saffron sabayon and shaved cured egg yolk over the top. Really delicious dish, and with a heartbreaking backstory.



Clorindy


In this dish, Chef Omar disguises a beef tartare with candied lemon peel and pickled onion in a squid ink vinaigrette, adding black rice chips. The dish is completely obscured by the black of squid ink––you have no idea what you are eating or what flavors will come through in each bite. For Chef Omar, this dish is about a Broadway play with an all-Black cast:


I learned of a play written by Paul Laurence Dunbar and William Marion Cook called Clorindy, which was the very first Broadway play to have an entirely Black cast. It was the most successful play in its inaugural year of 1898 and went on to become an international success, becoming popular in Great Britain as well and popularizing the cakewalk dance. The caveat to this story is that the Black cast had to don blackface to perform the play in this vaudeville era of minstrelsy.


Clorindy was conceived by Dunbar and Cook over a shared meal of raw beef, chopped bell peppers and onions, and beer. I needed to find a way to have my diners ingest the weight of this history: In my mind, that inspirational meal evoked tartare, but I decided to make this dish an all-black dish by creating a squid ink dressing to hide all of its beauty, much like blackface tried to hide Clorindy’s original cast.



The balance here was spectacular. The squid ink was saline and slightly tangy, and I loved the surprise allium bites when I found a piece of onion, but the sweet and slightly bitter lemon peel was the cornerstone. And, of course, the rice chips added a much needed texture contrast. He thought of everything here––absolutely perfect dish.



Antebellum hoodoo


Chef Omar himself came out to present the next dish, which was preceded by an incredible drink, called a "tonic," presented in "medicine cups" made by Chef's wife, Cybille. Medicine cups belong to a collection of earthen dishware that can be found beneath the ground on old plantation sites called "colonoware." It is thought that the "X" on the bottom of medicine cups indicated they were to be used for medicinal purposes. The dishware, too, throughout the meal, was meant to be evocative of these same broken earthenware dishes.




The "tonic" was a "burnt whiskey" drink, made with whiskey from Uncle Nearest distillery in Tennessee, named after the man that brought from Africa charcoal distillation to whiskey-making in the US, the same distillation process used by giants like Jack Daniels and Jim Beam today. Oat bitters and burnt ash were added, along with a burnt lemon peel. So delicious.



I enjoyed hearing directly from Chef Omar about the accompanying dish, which was an homage to Black women, the caretakers who were (and are) so often overlooked, both on the plantation and in contemporary society. Many enslaved women in the south studied Afro-Caribbean religious healing traditions like hoodoo and voodoo––the accompanying sketch in the Living Room gallery and the pamphlet was of one such healer. The "tonic" was meant to be a type of medicine one might have been served by an enslaved Black woman to cure illness. The remainder of the components in the dish came from an old book of recipes, foodways, etc. discovered by Chef Omar at a former plantation site in South Carolina, each ingredient being something Black women on the plantation might prepare for others. Sorghum gruel was the base of the dish, accompanied by chopped black walnuts with their famously bitter notes, preserved peaches, and bone marrow. A very interesting dish that worked well as a marriage of components, and though I won't be seeking out sorghum gruel any time soon, I did appreciate the look into the foodways of enslaved people in the antebellum south.



Fried pheasant


Chef Omar played with two historically fraught stereotypes of Black foodways in this dish––fried chicken and watermelons. Pheasant is a winter staple at Stone Barns, and they fried this pheasant thigh expertly, drizzling over the thigh watermelon molasses and including a little vial of habanada pepper hot sauce alongside. Delicious, and a rare chance to eat with my hands at a restaurant this fancy!



Beer was paired with this one––a local sour double IPA made with strawberries. Something effervescent is the ideal pairing with fried food, and I loved how the tang of the beer really brought out the fruit in the watermelon molasses. Hannah told me this is the beer the whole staff drinks after services, they love it so much. I can see why!



Barbecue


I recall learning at some point in my culinary journeyings that barbecue was a particularly important foodway of Black folks both during slavery and post-slavery, often because they were only able to afford or acquire tougher, less desirable cuts of meat that lent themselves well to slow cooking and smoking. I don't know if this is true, but Chef Omar does include a note about the importance of barbecue in his booklet:



Seems like a joyful and appropriate way to end the savory portion of the meal!



There was smoke filling the air on the terrace outside the barn, and I knew I was in for a treat. I didn't know how MUCH of a treat! A massive tray (made of a slice of stump) was brought out with all kinds of delicious barbecued things. Among them:


- A skewer of grilled pheasant gizzards crusted in herbs. A very strong flavor, and the most "adventurous" thing I ate that afternoon.


- Spent hen sausage––spent hens are egg-laying birds that "retire" from egg production, but are too small to slaughter for breast meat. In accordance with Stone Barns' practices minimizing food waste, they make sausages out of the ground meat from spent hens. Spicy, complex, and incredibly delicious.


- Whole smoked yam––yummmmmmm.


- Grilled bau sin––seems bau sin has been a focus on the farm lately, since I also had it during Shola's residency. The ends of the leaves were charred and crispy, and were very good, but I couldn't finish the entire stalk given the sheer volume of food before me.


- Hake barbecued inside a coriander leaf––this was the best thing on the stump, hands down. Unreal flavor, and the fish was cooked until just opaque. Ideal. Eric Ripert would be proud.


- Goat shoulder with Carolina BBQ sauce––loaded with glorious smoke and the tang of the Carolina vinegar-based sauce, the goat was delicious, if a shade tough on a few pieces.


- Greens from the farm, braised.


Alongside was served a dirty rice made with pheasant offal, beans slow-cooked with goat meat, and a sweet potato Parker House roll. This was one of the few times I saw Evan, my server from last time, and I was fairly embarrassed for him to see that I had managed to eat THAT much food on my own! "I've never seen even a two-top do as well as you did with this." "Oh God, Evan, what does that say about me?" "That you're here to enjoy it!"


Wine came early before this course, and was refilled a couple of times for me, this time a delightful Italian red, something I can't get enough of these days. Aglianico is a dark red wine grape grown in the southern part of Italy, right between two regions on the southern coast, the residents of which will passionately tell you, as only Italian winemakers can, that this is "their" wine, and not the wine of the other region. Its volcanic soil and seaside domicile give the wine a savory, mineral component that spoke perfectly with the smoky barbecue course.


A first for me, too!




Honeysuckle ice cream


In a simple jar, the most delicious ice cream you can imagine was brought out, paired with a story from Chef about his childhood:




I snagged another cocktail before this course, too, since I got a taste of whiskey earlier and apparently wanted more. This old fashioned was a quintessential Stone Barns creation, made with bourbon, celery root tincture, and washed with pheasant fat. It wasn't as great as I thought it was going to be, but still delicious, and paired nicely with the later dessert course.



A classic cake and coffee


The last course was brought and described by Evan, who I was happy to nerd out with for a bit. This was Chef Omar's grandmother's walnut cake served ("as she would have served it") on a China plate and topped with a glaze including the flavors of the cabin spice I'd been utilizing throughout the meal. Alongside was a cow pea ("spelled 'p-e-a,'" Evan said, "not 'p-e-e'"––what a dork) affogato over which coffee was poured. The cake was so delicious, and I have been, frankly, waiting for SOME chef to pull out an old, tried-and-true family recipe at some point during a tasting menu. The cow pea affogato was almost savory, and was monumentally flavorful.



But wait, there's more! Seems that the Stone Barns bar staff have been making their own amaro with herbs foraged from the property, and set some aside for Chef Omar, adding cabin spice to the mix to pair perfectly with the cake.


A great, and classic, way to end the meal. But not satisfied, I ordered their "savory" take on a mai tai before the check with dark rum, sassafras, and essence of shiitake mushroom. Yum!





Food can tell stories. It can be more than just sustenance. I think this resonates with me so profoundly lately because of how nonchalant Americans can be about food. Most people eat mindlessly. There is a constant line out of the drive through outside the McDonalds on my block that often blocks the road on my way home. Frozen dinners are popped into microwaves without a thought, their plastic packaging discarded and added to a landfill. I'm not innocent, either. Corporate, easy food permeates our existence in the US. What artists like Chef Omar remind us is food has a story. Every dish, every ingredient, every bite is shaped by centuries or millenia of deep cultural history and the work of countless hands. A meal like this serves as a powerful reminder of those histories and pathways, particularly those of a community that faced mass enslavement and dehumanization and to this day still must battle daily against structural barriers to their recognition and flourishing.


Thank you, Chef Omar, for this work. And thank you, Stone Barns, for bringing these artists to the forefront of the conversation.


Until next time, NYC!

It's so wild seeing these different sides of Stone Barns' ingredients and being able to watch how each chef's approach transforms the space, the staff, the ingredients, and the overall experience of dining at this culinary temple. I am so glad I got to enjoy this lunch, and very much look forward to the two remaining residencies!

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All