Nina Oduro and Maame Boakye have always been passionate about cultivating meaningful connections within just their communities. So when they reconnected in Washington D.C., yrs just after 1st meeting at a networking party in their native Ghana, they lamented the transactional mother nature of relationships in the politically pushed capital.
“I believe the challenge that we had been going through was [the difficulty in] forming deeper connections with people today beyond expert lifetime and ‘let’s get lunch for an goal,’” states Oduro.
But D.C., in her words and phrases, is also a transient metropolis with a quite assorted population from the African diaspora and past. There had to be a way to carry people from these lots of cultures alongside one another.
“Food,” claims Boakye, “was the respond to.”
The two females designed Dine Diaspora, a Black-women of all ages owned and operated agency centered in D.C., as a result of which they have because made functions connecting individuals by way of African diaspora food stuff culture. The enterprise introduced in 2014 with a Signature Evening meal featuring Ghanaian-American Eric Adjepong, a finalist on period sixteen of Bravo’s Top Chef. More than a three-system meal of jollof rice paella with scallops and hen, beef ribs and cornbread with honey butter confit, and bofrot with peanut butter ice cream, brûlée banana, and strawberry paper, Adjepong took the smaller collecting of 20 company by means of the backstory of every dish served. That storytelling part was crucial, Oduro says, as chefs are so frequently tasked with executing a person else’s vision when employed for non-public events—but in this structure, there was an personal relationship amongst diners and everything on the table.
The initial supper series ended in 2018 but the pair have expanded to web hosting situations like Chop Bar, an annual pop-up food festival infusing art and new music (hold an eye on their IG for the next date), which can take its identify from makeshift dining establishments identified in Ghana. They have also teamed up with Facebook to existing Electronic Diasporas, a virtual sequence showcasing creatives from the African diaspora at the intersection of foods, journey, and lifestyle. Their Dish and Sip speaker collection, which runs through the 12 months in New York and D.C., delivers a platform for foodstuff marketplace leaders to go over challenges and activities like the absence of variety and disparity in compensation.
But as Oduro and Boakye have sourced chefs for their growing roster of functions, they have noticed a scarcity of women of all ages in the talent pool—an problem they have now incorporated into their mission.
“We did not want to be reinforcing structures in which girls have not been capable to be centered, picked, or positioned in areas to contend with anybody, significantly Black women,” claims Oduro.
They dealt with the imbalance with Black Women in Food items (BWIF), an initiative introduced in 2018 that “identifies, amplifies, and supports Black women in the food and beverage marketplace to advance their perform and lead to a far more equitable and sustainable foods technique,” according to their web site. Every single March, BWIF honors about 30 gals globally as part of Women’s Heritage Thirty day period, across types such as game-changer, innovator, trailblazer, creator, culinarian, and amplifier. The selected honorees are celebrated all through the month and outside of with networking and enhancement options.
1 of this year’s honorees is Janique Edwards, the COO and Co-Founder of EatOkra, an application that connects food items enthusiasts to far more than 11,000 Black-owned eating places, eateries, bars, wineries, and foods vans throughout the U.S. Edwards admits that earning the award has helped with the imposter syndrome she regularly combats as a woman in food and tech.