At Tatiana, Food is Memory. It is also magnificent.
Goat Patties, Pastrami Short Ribs, and Take-Out Mushrooms at a restaurant that radiates joy.
A lot has been written about diversity, and the lack thereof, in the restaurant industry. It’s a topic that has justifiably warranted a good deal of attention and discussion. Marcus Sameulsson, one of the country’s first well-known and acclaimed Black chefs, has talked about this issue quite a bit. “It’s not ‘for the most part’ that I’ve been the only black face. It’s for the only part,” he said in 2012. “When African-Americans had the chance to send kids to college, the first thing they said was, ‘You aren’t going to be cooking, cleaning or serving. You’re going to be lawyers, doctors.’ Cooking has a stigma in the black community that it doesn't have other places. That’s one answer. Another is black people have always cooked but have never been acknowledged.” He has a point. As the saying goes, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.
Thankfully, we are seeing a change. There are more Black chefs leading kitchens than ever before. Nationally, there are folks like Mashama Bailey (The Grey in Atlanta), Jerome Grant (Washington DC’s National Museum of African American History and Culture), and Edouardo Jordan (Salare), and here in New York City, Charlie Mitchell (Clover Hill), Preston Clark (Lure Fishbar), JJ Johnson (FieldTrip), and yes, the extraordinary Kwame Onwuachi, who just opened Tatiana inside the David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center.
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