Chefs in Hayward and San Francisco have created menus for Black History Month that pay tribute to treasured African-American recipes and black-owned wineries.
For executive chef Jerome “Spike” Williams, of PLaYT in Hayward, it’s a chance to trace African-American culinary lineage from Africa and the Caribbean throughout this country.
“To celebrate, my team and I have channeled dishes that span from northern Africa to Oklahoma and all parts of the southern United States,” Williams said. The downtown Hayward restaurant is owned by Michael LeBlanc; both men were formerly with Picán in Oakland.
Chef Banks White, working on specials for One Market restaurant in San Francisco, sees Black History Month as an opportunity to inspire the next generation. “When I was the executive chef at the Hotel Shattuck (in Berkeley) I didn’t realize how much representation mattered until getting calls from other young cooks asking if they could join the team,” he said in a statement. “Most of them never saw themselves in leadership positions and wanted to learn how I became executive chef. I’m humbled to be in this position to inspire other chefs to achieve excellence in their field.”
In Hayward, PLaYT will showcase a different Williams special every week of the month.
From Feb. 3-8 they will be serving Curried Jerked Chicken braised with roasted peanuts, coconut and Cajun spices and served with smoked collard greens.
The Feb. 10-15 menu will feature a dish that Williams says his grandmother, from Lumberton, Northern Carolina, loved: Low and Slow Braised Oxtails with tomato-okra-butterbean succotash over fried red rice.
From Feb. 17-22 the focus becomes an Oklahoma recipe, Smoked Ham Hocks with smoky kidney beans and a side of cast-iron cornbread.
And from Feb 24-29 it will be a PLaYT favorite, Pork Belly and Niman Ranch Beef Meatloaf, with homemade molasses barbecue sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and smoked collard greens.
In San Francisco, chef White (Rambler, the Brixton) has collaborated with One Market’s chef-partner Mark Dommen to present a four-course menu available for both lunch and dinner Feb. 1-29 at the One Market Street site.
Diners may order the prixe menu ($55) or try the dishes a la carte. Ten percent of the proceeds from the prix fixe menu will be donated to the Museum of the African Diaspora.
The first course, Dommen’s Pickled Shrimp Salad, will be followed by White’s adobo chile-glazed South X Southeast Fried Ribs with okra. For the main course, White is preparing Grilled Trout with pineapple black forbidden fried rice, green papaya salad and Malaysian red curry. Capping off the meal will be pastry chef Lyndsay Pullem’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake with brown sugar ice cream.
Featured wines from African-American vintners will include the McBride Sisters, Theopolis, Okapi, Maison Noir, Vision, Bodkin, DarJean Jones, Longevity and Tymphany.
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