History, culture and food come together so often. They come together in cultural celebrations and holidays. People connect over food; from dinner dates to business deals that are drawn up at the conclusion of a power lunch. Places to eat are often community hubs where people go not just for the flavours, but for refuge and comfort,
From Feb. 10-17, Feed the Soul Dining Week gives Edmontonians the chance to celebrate the fare from 18 participating Black-owned restaurants, take-out spots. ghost kitchens and retailers. Founded by Top 40 Under 40 alumna Rochelle Ignacio and business consultant Sara Awatta, the goal of the week-long festival is to “display the city’s diverse Black-owned food scene and, present to Edmontonians, the positive influence the African Diaspora has on the culinary industry of the city.” And it’s not just about restaurants, it’s about connecting people to Black history in Edmonton, and promoting black food writers and recipe-writers.
A launch event was held Sunday at Sabor downtown, with many of the participating restaurants providing samples for the VIP guests. Baked goods, Ethiopian food, Caribbean dishes and summery cocktails were featured — as guests were treated to a wide range of flavours, from spicy to sweet.
Edmonton-City Centre MLA David Shepherd talked about how food and Black history intersect.
“Food is core to culture, it is a key part of who we are,” said Shepherd. “It is what brings us together as communities. It is what kept communities together through difficult times. For the Black community, when so many things were taken away from us, when we were brought to a place that was not our own, food remained at the heart of the community. It reminded us of where we came from and who we are… Food is also something that helps build bridges. And that’s why Feed the Soul Dining Week is such an amazing thing for us to have here in the city, to celebrate our rich diversity of Black culture here, expressed through these so many types of amazing food. But also, it’s that bridge where we can reach out to others, and get to help them know cultures maybe they don’t know and understand.”
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