Photography by Chiron Cole
There is always exciting stuff going on in the world of food in the UK, but it can be tricky to keep up and sieve through to find the best food festivals, cookbooks, restaurants and events. Annoyingly, the UK culinary scene seems to be stuffed full of artisanal bread and weird appropriated fusion foods by uni bros that nobody asked for. There is literally nothing worse than buying underseasoned, bastardised “street food” from your own actual culture by people who don’t know what they’re doing, and for the price of a sit-in meal.
Although food cultural appropriation is alive and well – fear not, there are some incredible and delicious things coming up by people of colour this spring through to summer. From thriving food festivals bringing the best bites to London, to podcasts taking a deep dive into the culinary world, there are so many drool-worthy projects by people of colour that will tingle the taste buds and get you inspired to create some delicious dishes. Here is a list of events, books, and festivals celebrating food for and by people of colour that you can’t miss.
The London Africa Food Week (LAFW)
Award-winning chef Tokunbo Koiki has teamed up with Google and Facebook to bring the first London African Food Week. Running from 26 May to 31 May, it’s a massive celebration of the vast and delicious dishes that hail from the continent of Africa. In the week-long celebration, you can expect cooking classes, food photography workshops in Google’s KitchenSync in their London headquarters and business workshops. Foodies can also head down to Spitalfields market to taste food from all over the continent. Tokunbo’s Kitchen is a pop-up restaurant serving up authentic Nigerian food at either pop-ups, supper clubs, or at street food markets. You can find more about Tokunbo’s Kitchen here.
Island Social Club start First Thursdays
Set up by Londoners Marie Mitchell and Joseph Pilgrim, Island Social Club brings Carribean flavours within a modern black British context. They’re all about socialising and bringing back London’s Caribbean social scene. Since the start of the year, Island Social club has had a permanent restaurant space in Curio Cabal in east London. Now, they are starting First Thursdays which will see a new artist in the restaurant every first Thursday of the month, with the first artist being Micheal Kennedy. There will be discounted food and drink. So grab a rum punch or some mouth-watering roti.
Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats cookbook comes out this summer
Plant-based YouTube extraordinaire Rachel Ama is dropping her debut cookbook on the 20 June. The London-based cook has a super successful channel which showcases inventive, fun and delicious vegan dishes. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start but she makes plant-based cooking look so simple with her flavoursome dishes, inspired by her Sierra Leonean and St Lucian heritage. If you follow Rachel, you’ll know she loves a good dance and her cookbook will follow suit – there will be a carefully selected song for almost every recipe so that you can dance along too. Pre-order it here.
London’s First Nigerian Tapas restaurant, Chuku’s, are crowdfunding
Brother and sister duo Emeka and Ifeyinwa Frederick started up Chuku’s, a Nigerian Tapas pop-up restaurant back in 2016. After living in Spain Emeka fell in love with tapas and the concept of sharing small dishes and now they are combining delicious Nigerian food with the relaxed atmosphere of this type of dining. Their food aims to celebrate Nigerian culture to its fullest and after three years, Chuku’s have their sights on a permanent residence. Keep your eyes peeled on their website to find out more about their upcoming crowdfunding campaign.
The YSM8 Podcast launches
Poonam Dhuffer, founder of YSM8 supper club, and gal-dem contributor has launched a new food-based podcast. Having created a brilliant supper club which highlights Punjabi cuisine, Poonam will be taking us through food stories, spirituality and creativity all from a British South Asian perspective. On her first episode, she talks to Saima Thompson, an entrepreneur and speaker about her cancer diagnosis and missing Punjabi food at university. Listen to YSM8 here.
Michelin Star winner, chef Elizabeth Haigh opens a two-month residency
Chef Elizabeth Haigh, who won a Michelin star whilst working in Pidgin, a high-end restaurant with a weekly changing menu in Hackney, will now be having not one, but a two-month residency in Mortimer House London this May. Expect flavours from her Singaporean and British heritage including udon vongole and fried carrot cake. Elizabeth is the first chef in the new takeovers in the Living Room in Mortimer House, a member’s club and a hub for events, wellness classes, and dining. The eight-week residency will be running from Thursday to Saturday and it’s definitely best to book ahead. So if you’re feeling like some fine-dining, you can book here.
Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen starts a series of intimate supper clubs in Zoe’s home
Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen started back in 2010 by award-winning chef Zoe Adjonyoh with just a humble peanut butter stew stand at an arts festival. Now, Zoe is one of the front runners in the West African food revolution in the UK, bringing delicious Ghanian dishes to the masses. If you want to try some of this wildly celebrated food, you’re in luck: Zoe is opening up her home for an intimate supper club on 14 May and 28 May. And Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen will be taking over the Rose & Crown in Kentish town from 5 June to 29 June. Also, check out Zoe’s cookbook if you want to learn how to make these dishes yourself!