Meet the Black Chef Who’s Transforming New York’s Food Scene After Taking Trip to Africa

By Leo from Atlanta Black Star

Joseph “JJ” Johnson found inspiration for his food on a trip to Ghana, where he saw how the evolution and spread of societies can manifest itself in cuisine. The chef experienced a unique use of ingredients and techniques that would set the wheels in motion for his own culinary success. He recalls seeing Japanese whiskey and a man making piri piri sauce (which is derived from the African bird’s eye chili pepper) for the first time. Scanning an encyclopedia, he learned about African Diaspora, finding that, as African people were dispersed throughout the world during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, they brought their approaches to cuisine with them.

“I came back a changed chef,” Johnson, 30, said. “Nobody wants to talk about how slaves took food and spread it across the world. I realized that I grew up on Diaspora food.”

Johnson hadn’t even heard of the term “Afro-Asian” when Alexander Smalls, a chef, restaurateur and former opera singer, first mentioned it to him.

Restaurant: http://thececilharlem.com/tablet/index.html

Read more:  http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/09/12/meet-black-chef-whos-transforming-new-yorks-food-scene-taking-trip-africa/ and http://www.forbes.com/sites/chasewithorn/2014/09/12/meet-the-chef-whos-changing-the-way-we-look-at-different-cultures-food/

 

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  1. West African Cuisine: Southern Cuisine | Sincere Ignorance

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