Kulture restaurant recently announced its Fall/Winter 2022 line-up of featured chefs of its Black Chef Table pop-up dining series, dinners that are frequently sold out, that bring chefs from across the country with a variety of backgrounds to create unique, immersive experiences for diners.
Previous celebrity chefs who have brought their culinary expertise to Black Chef Table include James Beard award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi, the executive producer at Food & Wine and chef Ja’Nel Witt, winner of Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen, among others.
Created by celebrated restaurateur Marcus Davis and executive chef and entrepreneur Keisha Griggs, Black Chef Table is a culinary experience spotlighting African/African American chefs and food purveyors identifying as Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in the swanky ambiance of Kulture restaurant located in downtown Houston.
The Defender caught up with Chef Fitzgerald Dodd, who will kick off the fall line-up on Sept. 10 that’s being promoted as putting the African diaspora on full display.
DEFENDER: Chef Fitzgerald, can you introduce yourself to the Defender readers?
CHEF FITZGERALD: My name is Fitzgerald Dodd, Chef Fitzgerald Dodd. I hail from Dallas, Texas. I’m looking forward to coming down to Houston and hanging out for a few days.
DEFENDER: How did your participation with the Black Chef Table happen?
FITZGERALD: I’ve been knowing Marcus Davis, owner of the breakfast klub, since college. He was telling me the idea he had about the Black Chef’s Table and I knew I wanted to be a part of it at some point. It took a little while, but we’re gonna make it happen. We’re looking forward to it on Sept. 10.
DEFENDER: You’re going to be kicking off the Fall/Winter 2022 lineup of the Black Chef Table. How does that feel?
FITZGERALD: Nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time. But I’m very much looking forward to it. I’m kinda in that spot, on Sept. 10, late summer, early fall. So, I have a lot to play with.
DEFENDER: What’s your specialty? What’s the thing you’re known for?
FITZGERALD: I specialize in Creole cuisine; contemporary Creole cuisine. And the reason I love it, to me, it’s America’s first fusion. Because it represents not only the various cultures of the west African diaspora, but all of its European influences, and then the indigenous influences, regardless of whether it’s in America, in Jamaica, in Trinidad, in Haiti, all those. Because “Creole” means “mix.” All those mixtures represent the African diaspora, the European influence and the indigenous of wherever those slaves landed.
DEFENDER: Why is it important to celebrate foods of the African diaspora?
FITZGERALD: Because you don’t want anything white-watched. You want our food the way we grew up and presented. It’s our heart. It’s our culture. A lot of us as chefs, and early in my career I was like that, I must admit, we tried to stray away from our food. That’s a mistake. That’s what we grew up on. You have other chefs who are presenting what they grew up on. Why can’t we? Why can’t we dig into our culture and find out where Hoppin’ John came from, or jambalaya, which is a derivative of jollof rice and paella. Why can’t we dig into our culture and just present it to the world as is?
DEFENDER: Are you ready to give us a preview of your menu?
FITZGERALD: We’re gonna walk through a couple of different aspects of Creole cuisine. Because of the area we, of course, are gonna spend some time in Louisiana. But we’re also gonna walk through Haiti. We’re gonna walk through Jamaica with Jerk Roast Lamb. And we’re gonna have some fun and I can’t wait to present y’all with these sweet potato beignets.
DEFENDER: Is there one particular dish that you’re most excited about serving?
FITZGERALD: Whoa. That’s a good question. Actually, I’m looking forward to all of them, but I have a signature dessert, my sweet potato beignets. We’re gonna serve it with salted praline caramel. I think you gonna like those.
DEFENDER: Besides your own night being spotlighted on Sept. 10, which other chefs are you most excited about seeing do their thing?
FITZGERALD: I actually missed the one that I really wanted to taste because I had a prior engagement—Chef Keisha Griggs (co-founder of the Black Chef Table). Because I wanted to take a walk in the Caribbean with her vegan cuisine. We disrespect vegetables so much. Admittedly, I’m typically a meat and potatoes person, but for health reasons. I’ve been trying to get more into vegetables. So, I really, really wanted to taste her food. I’m going to get a chance at some point because I’m going to wrangle her into making me something.
DEFENDER: Why do people need to be in the house on Sept. 10?
FITZGERALD: Number one, because I’m going to tickle your pallet. We’re gonna put it down. We have simple food with big flavor. And if you like big flavor you need to be in the house. It’s gonna be all about the food with no frills, no fuss, but just some good cooking. So come hang out with me, because we gonna have fun.
FOR INFO ON CHEF FITZGERALD
BLACK CHEF TABLE FALL/WINTER 2022 LINE-UP
September 10: Chef Fitzgerald Dodd
September 24: Chef Toya Terry
October 1: Chef Kava Art of Fufu
October 15: Chef Lamar Moore
October 22: Chef Reginald “Reggie” Scott (Men’s Mental Health)
November 12: Chef Justin Lawson
November: Chef Salimah Yasmeen | Southern Puerto Rican Early Thanksgiving
December 3: Chef Alphise Washington
December 10: Chef Suzzanne Barr
December 17: Chef JC Reid
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