Written by Aamir Shah, CNN
Renowned Toronto restaurant, Japonais, is more famous for its artful scallops than for its menus. However, when chef Daniel Boulud announced a lineup of Baltimore’s most popular chefs for a special menu in December, a rather larger picture started to emerge — one about the inherent social responsibility of food production.
Three dinner discussions were held, each featuring a specific segment of the black culinary community, such as activist and creator Dr. Alain Pokrzywinski and former military chef Katherine Lawrence, asking them to share their perspectives on food with an audience of some 500 people.
“What was new (and) inspirational was to hear their authentic insights. Their collective words were resounding and profound. These talks changed me as a person,” said Boulud in a statement.
“It’s hard to imagine that this conversation could take place anywhere but in Toronto. We have a diversity of culinary voices and perspectives that gives the city an inimitable strength as a culinary destination.”
In response to this event, Boulud spearheaded a community project called the Protected Cultivation Initiative, or PCI, for which the Toronto-based organization, Food Links, is spearheading the initiative.
The PCI is set to be a sweeping effort to create a Black food sovereignty or for the Black community to take back its access to food.