Special Food and Wine Event Celebrates Historic Opening of NMAAHC

It was an evening like no other for so many reasons.  Last month, Cuisine Noir celebrated the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. with an evening of food, wine, and music with more than 100 of its readers, special guests and partners.  An Evening of Culinary Excellence was more than a celebration, it was also a gathering of chefs, foodies and wine enthusiasts to pay tribute to one of the industry’s pioneering chefs who has been a prominent voice and influence for more than 50 years, chef Joseph Randall.

Taking place at the Toolbox Pilates Art Studio, the brick walls and fluid artwork by D.C. artist Kiril Jeliazkov offered the perfect canvas for the special evening.  Guests enjoyed full access to the studio as they enjoyed tribute dishes upstairs from our celebrity chefs paired with award-winning wines and cocktails downstairs.


Coming from as far as California, Illinois and Florida and as close as Maryland and Philadelphia, guests were entertained and given an up close and personal culinary experience with four guests chefs: Timothy Dean, Rock Harper, J Jackson and Padua Player.  Savory dishes for the evening included:

  • Timothy Dean – Free range chicken stuffed with southern corn and black truffles with the essence of Edna Lewis collard greens (a tribute to Edna Lewis)
  • Rock Harper – Gumbo (a tribute to Leah Chase)
  • J Jackson – Burnt ends with a pepper slaw (a tribute to Gordon Parks)

The right amount of sweetness was provided by Player with his caramel popcorn and assortments of mini desserts that included his chocolate hazelnut bombe, making his table a hot destination all evening.

Photo credit: Padua Player/ Twitter

Cuisine Noir’s wine glasses were filled throughout the evening with red and white vino selections from Mouton Noir Wines, Shoe Crazy Wines, Flo Wine and P Harrell Wines and guests also sipped on refreshing cocktails made with Circoc and DeLeon Tequila sponsored by Combs Wine & Spirits as they grooved to the sounds of the Marcus Johnson Trio.

Special guests of the evening included NMAAHC’s executive chef Jerome Grant and curators Dr. Joanne Hyppolite and Dr. Deborah Mack. As the music stopped, a few minutes were dedicated to sharing words of gratitude for Randall who was joined by his family before wrapping up what was a beautiful evening.

Photos of the evening were taken by guest photographer Karl Rudd who is currently working on the exhibit, “Stones of Hope,” which will document people, institutions and programs that are advancing and introducing various cultural ideas here in America.  Learn more on his site at www. karlruddphotography.com.

Be sure to check out blogger Le Anne Lindsay of Philly’s Tinsel & Tine and her event recap that includes sound bites from chefs and wine partners about the evening.  Read the recap here.

Visiting NMAAHC? Be sure to visit the Cultural Expressions Gallery on the 4th floor to savor more culinary history with the exhibit that features Randall, Leah Chase, Edna Lewis and more.  Don’t forget to stop and watch the video to see a special cameo appearance of our 2014 print issue cover featuring Randall.


Share this article

A diverse group of global journalists who love to write and talk about all things food, wine and travel.