31 Days of Black Women in Food - 2019

Dine Diasporas “31 Days of Black Women in Food” is a celebration of the achievements and advancements of black women in the food and beverage industry during Women’s History Month (March). In its second year, our 2019 list honors black women who are:

  • Trailblazers (industry mavens paving the way for others)

  • Amplifiers (journalists, bloggers, photographers, and/or filmmakers)

  • Game Changers (activists, policymakers, and/or venture capitalists)

  • Innovators (introducing new methods, approaches, ideas, and/products)

  • Creatives (chefs, cooks, artists, and/or food product makers)

Nominated by a community of food enthusiasts, advocates, and experts, we present you this year’s, 31 Black Women in Food:


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Fawn Weaver is the co-founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest, a premium whiskey named after  Nathan “Nearest” Green aka Uncle Nearest, the first African-American master distiller in the United States known to be responsible for teaching distillery techniques to Jack Daniel’s founder. An author and historian, Fawn’s research shed light on Green’s immense contribution to the world of Whiskey. To  preserve and honor Green’s legacy, she founded the Nearest Green Foundation.

Andra “AJ” Johnson is a bar consultant and author of forthcoming book “White Plates, Black Faces”, an eye-opening perspective of the plight of  black culinary talent in the food and beverage industry. AJ is also one of the curators of DMV Black Restaurant Week, a week of events and conferences that bring black restaurant owners, managers, chefs, caterers, thought leaders, and financiers into one room to discuss options for entrepreneurial ventures and continuing education.

Colleen Vincent has worked for the James Beard Foundation for over 12 years where she is currently the Director of Impact and Culinary Community Initiatives and a champion for diversity in the hospitality industry. Colleen has spoken on food panels like the Minority Chef Summit and also represents the Foundation as a member of the High Road Restaurant Roundtable. Passionate about preserving the culinary history of Haiti, she started a book drive with a goal of building a culinary library in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Colleen is  a member of the West Indian Chefs Alliance and sits on the Women in Hospitality United Advisory Board. She’s also a co-founder of the Black Food Folks, a new project focused on gathering black folks in the food and drink community to support each other.

Siba Mtongana is a chef, host, and food editor of  Siba’s Table on the Food Network. Siba’s Table is a TV show that showcases the rich food culture of South Africa by recreating traditional dishes with a modern twist.

Lezli Levene Harvell is an entrepreneur, food enthusiast and event curator of The Iconoclast Dinner Experience, a dinner series celebrating food and wine trailblazers of color. Hosted in  Atlanta, Chicago, and New York, the dinner series has featured chefs like Zoe Adjonyoh, Asha Gomez, and Kwame Onwuachi.


Kinorah Awini is the content developer and founder of Telande, a digital food network that focuses on  rebranding and promoting local African foods to global audiences. Telande, a Kusasi word which means 'eat with me', is changing  how the world appreciates and engages with African food, with its engaging content and recipes.

V. Sheree Williams is a publisher and editor in chief of Cuisine Noir - the first food, wine and travel magazine to amplify the history, successes and achievements of black people in the food, wine, beverage, and travel industries. A lover of great stories that inspire, she created  the Culinary Scoop, a sister blog of Cuisine Noir that shares food news.

Benjamina Ebuehi is food stylist and baker who shares her amazing love for baking through her blog Carrot and Crump. Featured on The Great British Bake Off show, where she was a quarter finalist, Benjamina creates original recipes for the inner baker in all of us.

Nicole A. Taylor is a chef and author of “The Up South,” a deeply personal cookbook that showcases southern favorites, informed and updated by new ingredients and different cultures. Reclaiming her culinary heritage, Nicole’s recipes speak to a place "where a story is ready to be told and there is always sweet tea chilling." Also a writer, Nicole has contributed to Epicurious, Esquire, and The New York Times.

Yasmine-Hannah Fofana is the founder of Afrofoodie, the first food and travel blog to showcase the diverse culinary landscape of Cote D’Ivoire. Dubbed “the first food blogger of Cote D’Ivoire”,Yasmine is also the creator of Abidjan Restaurant Week, a week-long culinary adventure where locals and tourists indulge in Abidjan’s dining scene.

Kiano Moju is a recipe writer and food video producer. From taking culinary classes at the age of 7 to exploring the world’s foods and cultures, Kiano’s passion for storytelling through food is evident in her work. Previously a video producer at Buzzfeed’s Tasty, Kiano created instructional food videos, showing the world simple ways to create dishes like Kenyan samosas, Nigerian chicken jollof and Peanut Butter Banana Brownies. She has worked with the likes of Wolfgang Puck and co-authored the digital book “Livin’ for the Weekend.”

Claudiane Philippe is the founder and Editor in Chief of Nail the Cocktail, a curated cocktail blog and social media marketing platform. Through her blog, Claudiane showcases the artform that is mixology. With a keen eye for neck turning delicious cocktails, her blog features the best cocktails in Boston, New York City, and beyond.

Korsha Wilson is a food writer whose work has been published in the New York Times, Food and Wine, and Bon Appetit. Also the producer and host of the A Hungry Society podcast on the Heritage Radio Network, Korsha provides a platform for candid conversations about diversity and inclusion in the food world.

Game Changers

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Ashtin Berry and Kisira Hill are co-founders of the Radical Exchange, an experience-based collective which uses food and beverage as a conveyor for art, music, history, and community. With one foot in the hospitality and beverage industries, and the other in community development, Ashtin and Kisira have created an experiential platform that showcases the connection between both worlds.

Nichole A.  Mooney is the founder and Executive Director of Black Girls Cook, a nonprofit organization that teaches inner-city adolescent girls of color the true meaning of farm-to-table by operating hands-on cooking classes and growing edible gardens.

Leah Penniman is a co-founder, co-director, and program manager of Soul Fire Farm, a BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color)- centered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. Also an author, Leah’s debut book, “Farming While Black,” is a practical guide “for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture.”

Elle Simone Scott is a chef and founder of SheChef, a professional networking organization for food entrepreneurs, aspiring and seasoned chefs and other professionals in the food and beverage industry. Through the organization, Elle curates exclusive events which  highlight women chefs of the African diaspora and provides resources that teach professionals about the business behind the culinary arts industry. With a passion for storytelling through food, Elle’s work has been featured on the Food Network, The Cooking Channel, and ABC’s The Chew.


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Krista Scruggs is a wine grower and owner of Zafa Wines, a natural wine company that uses biodynamically farmed hybrid grapes, which are sometimes co-fermented with foraged apples. Krista’s wines also boasts of no fining, filtering, and additives. Named one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40 Tastemakers of 2018, Krista’s natural wine is on it’s way to being a household wine in the natural wine retail space.

Keisha Smith-Jeremie is the founder and CEO of Sanaia Apple Sauce, a company which aims to target an untapped market in the applesauce space, by focusing on adults who love eating apple sauce. Growing up in the Bahamas, fruits were an indulgence for Keisha and the inspiration behind her brand of applesauces. With 99% of applesauce companies marketing to children, Keisha’s company is disrupting this notion one sauce at a time.  Her applesauce has been featured in People Magazine, Forbes, and USA Today.

Nicole Foster is a vegan chef and founder of Cajou Cream, a hand-crafted dairy free ice cream made in small batches from scratch, using cashew, almond and hazelnut milks. Nicole founded Cajou Cream when she couldn't find dairy-free ice cream options for her children that were free of unnatural flavors, textures or ingredients. Also a public health lawyer, Nicole is committed to increasing equitable access to real foods.

Yemisi Awosan is the founder of Egunsi Foods, a company focused on producing refrigerated African food derived from classic West African dishes. Yemisi’s inspiration for her food company comes from her love of convening people around good food especially food that celebrates the varying flavor profiles of West Africa.

Angel Anderson is a home cook and owner of The SpiceSuite, an interactive spice bar which features gourmet and exotic infused cooking oils and spice blends. In line with her motto “Food is Fashion,” Angel mixes spices and herbs to create unique blends which inspires chefs and home cooks alike. Angel’s spices and recipes have been featured on Season 8 of MasterChef, Essence, and Cuisine Noir.



Huda Mu’min is a chef and founder of Huda’s Kitchen, a culinary company which specializes in healthy comfort food. Also a tv personality, Huda shares her passion for food with viewers worldwide through shows like Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, where she’s set a record for achieving the most wins. Her recipes and culinary work have also been featured in Vogue Italia, Essence, and The Washington Post.

Fatmata Binta is a chef and founder of Fulani Kitchen, a traditional nomadic Fulani dining experience where guests are introduced to the foods and dining customs of the Fulani people. These experiences are inspired by her own heritage - being born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone to first generation Sierra Leonean Fulanis of Guinean descent.

Chef Joy Crump is a chef and co-owner of the restaurants FOODE and Mercantile as well as the microbrewery, 6 Bears & A Goat. With over 15 years of experience in the food industry, Chef Crump is a Bravo Top Chef Alumnus and is also actively involved in the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs for Food Policy, Chef Advocacy and Change.

Angela Davis is a self-taught home cook, food blogger and recipe developer. Her blog, The Kitchenista Diaries takes comfort food to another level while exploring ingredients, techniques and tools for cooking. Angela has been featured in The Washington Post, Blavity, and Black Enterprise.

Joyce “Jay” Gyebi is a food entrepreneur who is passionate about preserving and documenting Ghanaian food. She runs a food company called  Mukasechic, where she provides catering services to corporate clients and also curates one of a kind events like The Jollof Festival,  Accra Fast Food Festival, and the Food Business Conference. A philanthropist at heart, Jay is also one of the forces behind Kitchen365, a social media driven food bank that aims to eliminate hunger in Accra, Ghana.

Rosecleer-Marie is a chef, food stylist, and co-founder of Women Chefs Alliance, an online community celebrating and promoting women chefs world wide. Taught by some renowned food stylists around the globe, Rosecleer provides online teaching tools for home cooks and foodies interested in learning about food styling. She’s worked with brands such as Coca- Cola, Whole Foods and Essence.

Kalisa Martin is a chef and co-founder of The Runway Experience, a global travel brand that fosters cultural discovery through food and curated adventures. Inspired by the connections made through food on her travels, Kalisa shares her unique recipes and travel tips on her blog Kalisa Marie Eats. She’s also been featured on Forbes, Good Morning America, and Food and Wine.

Elsie Kriz is a food blogger who shares her love for cooking on her blog Afrovitalityeats. Her blog features recipes and cooking techniques inspired by her Cameroonian upbringing and showcases the diverse flavors of West Africa and beyond.