Meet The Chef Behind Oakland’s Annual Black Food And Wine Experience
By DeAnna Taylor
Picture beautiful Black and brown people eating and sipping on amazing dishes and spirits created by some of the best Black chefs, winemakers, and mixologists. That is the scene for the annual Oakland Black Food and Wine Experience created by Chef Mimi four years ago.
“I wanted to create something where Black professionals could have an upscale food and wine experience while networking in a safe space, that’s for us by us,” Chef Mimi told Travel Noire.
The west coast chef has more than 20 years of experience and got her start at the Culinary Arts Academy in San Francisco. She now owns her own catering company in the Bay Area.
The experience was born out of a show concept called “Bringing it to the Table” created by Chef Mimi that she tried to shop around to networks. After several broken promises, she decided to turn it into an event.
In 2016, the first installment brought out 100 people. In 2017 there were 250 and in 2018 there were 500 people in attendance. Since the event was growing at such a fast pace, Chef Mimi and her team decided to hold off on a 2019 event to work towards a bigger and better version that will come on February 1 to kick off Black History Month.
The Oakland Black Food and Wine Experience will feature over 30 vendors including Black chefs, mixologists, winemakers, and more. The highlight of the day will be a head-to-head cooking competition between four chefs. What makes the completion more fun is that the competitors will have to create their dishes from a mystery box of ingredients.
There will be several installations and tasting rooms throughout the event space. Attendees can try plant-based dishes in the all-new vegan-only room. You’ll be able to try different teas and learn about various herbs to use while cooking in the tea and wellness lounge. There will also be a trap and coffee lounge where you can sip on coffee from Black-Owned Red Bay Coffee while listening to the sounds of Trap Music.
“I saw a need to bring local Black restaurants and winemakers together in this area,” Chef Mimi said.
One of the main goals of the event is to break down systemic issues in the Black community while showing that Black chefs can do more than just soul food.
“We’re showcasing ourselves at the highest level.”
Tickets to the one-day event are all-inclusive. Each room will have a different DJ and mood lighting to give a different feel to each activation.
“My dream is to do this event at Tyler Perry Studios,” Chef Mimi said. “His vision to build an empire that’s for us by is admirable. I’m trying to do the same in the food and wine space.”
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.