Food & Wine is teaming up with Sheila Johnson's Salamander Hotels & Resorts to celebrate diversity in hospitality, featuring industry leaders like Carla Hall, Edouardo Jordan, Mashama Bailey, Nina Compton, and Carlton McCoy.

By Food & Wine Editors
February 03, 2021
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Credit: Ramona Rosales / Courtesy of Salamander Resort & Spa

Award-winning chef and author Kwame Onwuachi is presenting a new kind of food event this summer.

The Family Reunion, a multi-day celebration of diversity in the hospitality industry, will kick off this August at Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, in the state's picturesque wine country. Food & Wine is partnering with Sheila Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hotel & Resorts, to throw the inaugural event, which will feature cooking demos, wine tastings, exclusive dinners, and panel discussions with industry leaders like Carla Hall, Edouardo Jordan, Nina Compton, Carlton McCoy, Mashama Bailey, Rodney Scott, Gregory Gourdet, Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Pierre Thiam, and more.

In addition to celebrating the Black cooking traditions that have shaped American cuisine, the event, which runs from August 19 to 22, 2021, will showcase the next generation of food and wine professionals who are moving the industry forward.

"I noticed a void in the industry, especially for the amplification of Black and brown voices and their contributions to the food industry," said Onwuachi, who is a 2019 Food & Wine Best New Chef and the author of Notes from a Young Black Chef. "I always pictured an event that was centered around them."

The idea for the Family Reunion took shape after the chef connected with Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and the only African-American woman to wholly own a Forbes five-star resort, during a book talk in the Bahamas. Onwuachi hopes that the Family Reunion will become an annual event, with future iterations hosted at Johnson's other resorts.

"Our remarkable, constantly renewing and evolving industry is as diverse as any other," said Johnson in an announcement. "But, we can and should do more."

Credit: Justin Kriel

Leading up to the event, Onwuachi will be in residence at the resort from August 14 to 22, cooking dishes inspired by his previous restaurants as well as his Afro-Caribbean roots. The Family Reunion will kick off with a cookout featuring barbecue by pitmasters Rodney Scott and Bryan Furman. "Even the first event is a reflection of Black culture," said the chef.

Family Reunion tickets go on sale in April at www.SalamanderHotels.com/FamilyReunion, with a portion of the proceeds being used to create a mentorship and scholarship program which fosters diversity in the hospitality industry, as well as to support efforts to help end childhood hunger. The event will adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures in conjunction with CDC and state guidelines.

"We should be doing everything in our power to celebrate diversity in our industry," said Onwuachi. "For too long we have gone unnoticed and under-appreciated. This is our time."