Black and Brown Unity Dinner to Address Unifying Chicago’s Communities
In the city of Chicago, two chefs are working together to bridge worlds. After the racial tensions of last year,
In the city of Chicago, two chefs are working together to bridge worlds. After the racial tensions of last year, Chefs Carlos Gaytán and Lamar Moore are working together to continue the dialogue about bridging the Brown and Black communities in Chicago. Together with the México Consulado General en Chicago, Gaytán and Moore will host the Black and Brown Unity Dinner to emphasize the, “strength, progress, and peace of unity” of Chicago’s Black and Brown neighborhoods.
Black and Brown Unity Dinner
Last year, a racial tensions rose and protests raged across the country, the Black and Brown communities in Chicago faced similar tensions on a smaller scale. Social media posts about gang violence caused the Black and Brown communities to eye each other mistrustfully, and a rally was organized to try to bridge the gap and overcome the fear. Chefs Gaytán along with Erick Williams, Paul Kahan and Mariya Russell got together to host a collaborative cookout which aimed to lift the spirit of protestors and try to heal some of the divisions.
Now, over a year later, Gaytán and Moore work with México Consulado General en Chicago to re-open the dialogue and keep the unity growing between the two communities who share a lot of lived experiences. The Consulado is hosting the Black Brown Dialogue from November 3rd through 5th, with the Unity Dinner spearheading the efforts. In a statement, the organizers call the multi-day event, “a lineup of community-driven, educational and cultural programs citywide that will serve as a ‘call to rethink our shared future.’”
Here’s a sample of the multi-ethnic menu that will be served to guests, who can buy tickets for $95:
- Roasted Beets: Roasted red beets, pickled yellow beets, roasted chanterelle, marcona almonds, manchego cheese,mole rosa.
- Blackened Fish: Blackened striped bass, dirty rice, sweet potato moussaline.
- Short Ribs: Braised short ribs, black eyed pea cassoulet, gremolata, herb biscuit.
- Pan De Elote: Sweet cornbread, caramel popcorns, honey toffee, saffron ice cream, smoked cajeta.
Also featured during the evening will be Kevin Smith aka Afrokilla, a Chicago-native artist who is known for larger-than-life public murals and focus on expanding social awareness. The dinner will delight guests on November 4th. To buy tickets head over to the website.
Chef Carlos Gaytán
Gaytán is known as an ambassador of Mexican cuisine worldwide and a champion of Chicago’s Latinx community. From a young age, Gaytán knew a love of cuisine and explored his culinary skills along with perfecting heirloom recipe under the careful tutelage of his mother, Doña Teté. At 20, Gaytán moved to Chicago and started on a path he never could have imagined as a child.
It all began at the Sheraton North Shore Hotel, where he worked as a dishwasher and a cook. The budding chef’s skills were immediately obvious and his career took off like a lightning bolt, with Gaytán serving as chef-garde manger and banquet chef at the Union League Club of Chicago. Eventually Gaytán found himself working under the mentorship of celebrated Chef Dominique Tougne at Chicago’s Bistro Margot, where he served as chef de cuisine. While working there, Gaytán’s love for French cuisine began taking shape.
It wasn’t easy to start his own restaurant, Mexique, but a combination of his culinary know-how and Mexican heritage skills helped earn him a Michelin star in 2013, the first Mexican-born chef to do so. In 2018, the chef closed his restaurant and returned to Mexico to reconnect with his roots, before returning to Chi-Town in 2019. Upon returning, Gaytán opened Tzuco, which seamlessly blends his awareness of fine French cuisine with his Mexican culinary mastering and a keen sense of what delights the palette.
Gaytán is a decorated and celebrated chef and his involvement in the dialogue to increase unity among the Black and Brown communities in Chicago is a boon to the cause.
Chef Lamar Moore
Moore too knew a love for the culinary arts from a young age. Born and raised on the South side of Chicago, Moore was already experimenting with his skills at the age of eight. A member of a large family, Moore was raised with the values of giving love and showing appreciation, and cooking is a good way to do that when you have a lot of bellies to fill. Under the guidance of his Mississippi-born grandmother, Moore’s skills blossomed as he learned the ins and outs of Southern cuisine and cooking for love.
Moore graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2003, then moved to California. After seven years of perfecting his skills in the West Coast market, Moore moved back to Chicago and worked as the sous chef for the Chicago Bears. Moore has cooked for multiple high-profile sporting events as well as former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama.
Moore works now at Eleven Eleven, an American cuisine restaurant in the West Loop of Chicago. His mentorship of young Black chefs makes him the perfect chef partner for Gaytán on this journey to unify.
The pair working together will try to bridge the division and keep the dialogue open, strengthening the unity that helps make these communities such powerful forces in their home city.