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Shantel Hanley

Shantel Hanley

Shantel Hanley is a journalism intern for Cuisine Noir Magazine. Hanley studied print journalism and Spanish at Hampton University. During her tenure at Hampton, Hanley became a lacto-ovo vegetarian. The drastic change in her diet has made her aware of food beyond the fast food meals and high sodium snacks. On a search for vegetarian meals of sustenance, Hanley has taken an open approach to all foods organic, vegan and vegetarian that are not limited to the salad bowl.

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Articles by Shantel Hanley

Find out why chef Ron Duprat calls Haitian food one of the culinary world's best kept secrets.

Jordan and Alexis Ruiz transform savory worldly cuisine with a Creole touch.

Chef Vaughn Trannon designed his luggage line for chefs, culinary professionals and mixologists always on the go like himself.

Sandra Simone is one of many black farmers who has held on to family land owned for generations.

This year, the food industry celebrated Black History Month with an unprecedented milestone; being the first Industry to witness the appointment of 6 CEOs of African-American heritage. Clarence Otis, Jr. – Darden; Steven A. Davis – Bob Evans; Don Thompson – McDonald’s Corporation; Aylwin B. Lewis – Potbelly’s; James D. White – Jamba Juice and Leonard A. Comma – Jack-in-the-Box have all assumed their positions over time to reach this milestone as of January 1, 2014.

“We believe that the restaurant, foodservice and lodging industries offer more opportunity for people of all different background than any other industry sector in America,” says Gerry A. Fernandez, president and founder of MFHA. “No other industry has gone further in terms of key leadership appointment for those with multicultural heritage.”  MFHA connects with multicultural communities to recognize leaders of Black/African-American, Asian Pacific-American and Hispanic/Latino heritage.

In a series of ads published in the Nation’s Restaurant News, the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance honors each CEO for his leadership, commitment and contributions to some of America’s top companies.

To see the ad tributes to Black Leadership in Hospitality, visit the MFHA website.

CEOs pictured from left to right: Steven A. Davis (main photo), Clarence Otis, Jr., Don Thompson, Aylwin B. Lewis, James D. White and Leonard A. Comma.

Michale Twitty 250 tallThe Journey is done but more path to travel

Around this time last year, Michael Twitty was tracing his ancestors’ food journey on a project titled The Cooking Gene Project and The Southern Discomfort Tour. This year he now knows that a nation that he used as an example in a speech is a part of his heritage.

Twitty, a culinary historian and food writer who was featured in Cuisine Noir last February, took on a journey last year to recreate his family’s food history by visiting their former homes in the Annabelum South. He ended the experience on Historic Stagville Plantation where a celebration was held and his DNA ancestry results were read. The president and co-founder of African Ancestry announced that Twitty has roots in Ghana and Sierra Leone.

Twitty is hoping to make a trip to Sierra Leone or Ghana in the later part of this year or next year. “I would love to go to Sierra Leone and Ghana. DNA is a fantastic way to explore your heritage if you’re African-American because for us it feels like it’s a cultural thing as well as an international thing,” says Twitty.

Twitty’s blog, Afroculinaria, attracted more readers after he wrote an open letter to Paula Deen. “My basic point was the n-word is the least of our problems. We can’t get jobs or we can’t get recognition. You don’t see us on the Food Network or The Cooking Channel except by a minute amount. We need more representation, because we’re there,” explains Twitty. 

Twitty‘s letter was shared around the internet. “That message hit home for a lot of people. That’s why I was invited to Denmark to speak at the MAD Symposium, says Twitty.” In that speech titled, “Southern Discomfort - Confronting Culinary Injustice and promoting Culinary Reconciliation in the Old South, Twitty shared the journey of a woman from Senegal who went from being an esteemed cook to a slave. Little did he know that he has bloodline from Senegal and many other countries along West Africa. 

In May, Twitty will be heading to Brazil for Diaspora, a meeting of the minds. He will be cooking with local chefs and the DNA results of prominent officials will be read.

You can follow Twitty on his journey via Twitter or his blog at

Chef Hardette Harris partnered with Soul Food Scholar Adrian E. Miller to host an unforgettable "Dream Dinner."

Losing an opportunity to win a $200,000 investment on ABC’s Shark Tank didn’t deter chef Shawn “Big Shake” Davis from pursuing his mission: to get the Original Shrimp Burger in grocers nationwide.

Davis, founder and CEO of CBS Foods, developed a campaign called the Shrimp Burger Revolution Tour to raise awareness of his flagship product and to get it into more stores. Davis is visiting stores and tailgating at high school and professional sporting events in 10 cities across the country. “We’re giving people a first-hand sample of our product right on the spot so they know what to expect when they go shopping,” says Davis. The revolution tour kicked off in November and will continue into 2014.

2014 is the year of new beginnings for Davis. He will be opening a restaurant, starting a new company, releasing new products, a cookbook and selling burgers in Asia.

On the first day of the New Year, Davis will open the doors to Big Shake Hot Chicken and Fish restaurant in Franklin, Tenn. He will feature hot chicken (fried chicken) cooked in the chef’s new Red Palm Oil and seasonings in the eatery. Red palm oil and seasoning will be launched under the new company Heart Friendly Foods.

Davis has changed his eating habits after being diagnosed with diabetes and wants to help others eat well too. Heart Friendly Foods will be spearheaded by his wife, Robin. “That’s a private passion [healthy eating]. It came to light after I lost two of my best friends to bad eating basically. They were 41 and 42-years-old. You can’t retrain everyone to eat right but you can have a healthy option. I’m just trying to give everyone a healthier alternative,” says Davis.

Heart Friendly Foods will include low sodium rub, seasonings for chicken, beef and fish. Davis will also release low sodium hot sauces in Habanero Fire, Garlic Serrano and Mango Pineapple Habanero flavors and a Red Palm Oil which is a healthier oil to use.

Even Davis’ cookbook had to be rewritten to reflect his new lifestyle. “I was supposed to release a cookbook in December, but after being diagnosed with diabetes I couldn’t eat a lot of the foods. I spent 60 days rewriting the book. Initially it took me two years to write it. It shouldn’t have taken me that long but I wrote a page here and there. This time I was very inspired and the words just kept pouring out,” says Davis. The revamped cookbook titled, “I Want to Live,” will include health facts on every page. The tentative release date is February 2014.

During the time of the interview, CBS Foods was conducting closing discussions to have The Original Shrimp Burger sold in Hong Kong.  

To keep up with the moves of chef Shawn “Big Shake” Davis, follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

To read more about Davis’s journey after “Shark Tank,” check out Cuisine Noir’s article  “Shawn ‘Chef Big Shake’ Davis – Faith for the Journey.”

With children back in school and flu season around the corner, Halo Sani-Cuffs are here to help parents keep their children germ-free.

With a need for savory meat and divine intervention, Mary Hunter invented a product that perhaps many have thought of but never put the work into creating.

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