Food is one of the most recognizable characteristics of a culture and is also perhaps one of easiest ways to engage in a group’s heritage. However, as much as food serves a unifier, the industry is infamous for its lack of diversity and representation. This is also evident through cultural appropriation of traditional foods, as well as the tokenization and mistreatment of Black Americans and other people of color. Not only did this discrimination become apparent on a societal scale with the racial justice movements of the past year, but also within food media, such as with last year’s Bon Appétit scandal.
Beyond acknowledging the issue, there are many ways we can take action to address the food world’s lack of representation and support of creators of color. Not just for Black History Month, but also all year round, let’s make an effort to bolster Black people in the culinary industry and beyond, such as through eating at Black-owned restaurants and engaging with Black influencers on social media. With the shifting centralization of social media as a hub for creative content, Black Americans that have been traditionally marginalized by the industry have found ways to carve out names for themselves in the food world and are more than deserving of our support. Here are just a few of my favorite foodies I think you should give a follow on Instagram.
Jocelyn Delk Adams (@grandbabycakes)
Adams has a sweet personality that not only shines through her Instagram feed, but also the many TV programs she and her cooking have been featured on, including the Food Network and Good Morning America. Inspired by family tradition, she takes vintage recipes and puts a modern twist on them for readers like us to enjoy. Adams and her following have even created a community called the “Soul Food Movement,” which you can join on Facebook.
Jessica HL (@jessicainthekitchen)
Even more specifically in the food world, veganism is very white-centric. Jessica provides simple and easy vegan recipes, adapting classic dishes like mac and cheese and chocolate chip cookies, as well as sharing less commonly adapted recipes like arancini. Sometimes I feel like vegan recipes seem too complicated, with too many out-there ingredient substitutions, but Jessica makes veganism approachable and accessible.
Millie Peartree (@chefmilliepeartree)
The New York food scene is one of my favorites, and Peartree represents all the best parts of the food business in the Big Apple. She has been named a New York Times Critic’s Pick and has been featured in the New York Times 50 Best Recipes with her soul food. If you’re local, check out her catering company, especially her “Essential Meals – Full Bellies” initiative.
Michael W. Twitty (@thecookinggene)
Twitty’s James Beard Award-winning book “The Cooking Gene” offers introspection on life, food and culture, and can help you gain a deeper appreciation for his mixed heritage and approach to food. Keep up with his wisdom by following his feed.
Bryan Ford (@artisanbryan)
Fuel your quarantine addiction of baking bread – or, increased consumption of bread – by giving Ford’s account a follow. You’ll be lusting over those beautifully baked loaves in no time. Food, especially with the rich heritage of Black Americans, celebrates the fusion of cultures, and Ford does just that by combining his Honduran roots and New Orleans upbringing into his cooking. If you’re looking for another excuse to bake more bread, his new book, “New World Sourdough,” just came out.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @chefmilliepeartree on Instagram.