Our New Podcast Celebrates Black Entrepreneurs & Creators

Enjoy a sneak peek at Black & Highly Flavored.

August 24, 2021
Photo by James Ransom

Heading out for an end-of-summer road trip? Need some background noise to drown out the world on your daily walk? Wherever you’re going, the Food52 Podcast Network’s got your back with deep dives into food history, recipe cook-throughs, and today, a brand-new show: Black & Highly Flavored.

Showcasing talented innovators in the food and beverage space, Black & Highly Flavored is hosted by hospitality industry veterans—and SoulPhoodie co-founders—romantic and business partners Derek Kirk and Tamara Celeste. Together, Kirk and Celeste will interview Black entrepreneurs and creators working in everything from ice cream to culinary history, and plenty in between. We were lucky enough to score a sneak preview of the pod, and wanted to introduce you to the guests and share a snippet from their conversations. Check out every episode of Black & Highly Flavored for the full interviews.

Episode 1: Lokelani Alabanza

Nashville-based Lokelani Alabanza owns Saturated, a CBD-infused plant-based ice cream company. Though she’s worked as a private chef and in kitchens around the world, her passion for pastry and vintage recipes led her to ice cream. Alabanza doesn’t just feed bellies: Her continuing goal is to educate customers about African American culinary history through flavor innovation.

And then you find these beautiful stories and recipes from a woman that worked on a plantation...that had a beautiful recipe for a spice cake...but it still has life. So what do you do with that life? You can take it, and put it into something else...This is what that ice cream can do.
Lokelani Alabanza

Episode 2: Adrian Miller

Culinary historian, attorney, and certified barbecue judge Adrian Miller is the author of the James Beard Award–winning Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. Miller’s latest book, Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue, places African Americans in the center of the conversation when discussing American barbecue culture, as Black pitmasters, restaurateurs, and home cooks in fact pioneered the cooking style.

I think the seminal moment was, I was watching Paula Deen's hourlong special on Southern barbecue, and as the credits were rolling on at the end of the show, she had not talked to one Black person on air. So at first, I thought, well maybe I got it twisted—maybe this was Paula Deen's Scandinavian barbecue?
Adrian Miller

Episode 3: Janique & Anthony Edwards

As the founders of EatOkra, wife and husband duo Janique & Anthony Edwards aim to honor the foodways of the African diaspora through community support. Upon arriving in Brooklyn to an insufficient kitchen, the Edwardses spent too much time googling “Black-owned restaurants” and took matters into their own hands. Since launching in 2016, EatOkra has grown from a local app to a national database with over 9,000 listings and 35,000 users.

We're trying to build out this ecosystem of support for restaurants, because we feel like that's going to be super important for them going forward in helping them get through this really rough patch right now.
Janique & Anthony Edwards

Episode 4: Atinuke Diver

Writer, community organizer, and holder of a Juris Doctor degree, Atinuke “Tinu” Akintola Diver is currently making her first full-length documentary, This Belongs to Us. The film aims to debunk the myth that American beer culture is for white men and explores Black female brewers’ reclaiming of the craft.

I grew up with an awareness of the connection of Africa, and Africans, to the history of beer.
Atinuke Diver

Episode 5: Gail & Uche Azodo

For Sips Coffee Roasters in Miami, Gail and Uche Azodo’s coffee roasting is a family business born from a natural curiosity and mutual love of coffee. Firmly believing that coffee should taste great whether it’s a pour-over or drip, sourced from South America or Africa, the couple feel that coffee should be good for everyone, from drinker to roaster to farmer. Further, as one of the few, or perhaps the only, Black roasters in the area, they aim to develop the industry and educate as many local Black coffee professionals as possible.

When you look at the exporter trips that start in the United States and go to these countries of origin, there is nobody that looks like Uche and I.
Gail Azodo

Which episode of the Black & Highly Flavored podcast are you most excited about? Who do you think would make a great guest for Season 2? Let us know in the comments!

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Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. These days, you can keep your eye out for her monthly budget recipe column, Nickel & Dine. Rebecca tests all recipes with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.