It is no secret that food is the ultimate convener. Add cool vibes, specialty cocktails and more than 200 of D.C.’s most inquisitive culinary seekers and you have just walked into Dine Diaspora’s Chop Bar event scheduled to take place this Sunday from 2 – 6 pm. This year’s event will showcase how East Africa meets West Africa with a mouthwatering menu curated in partnership with chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes, co-owner of Gorsha Ethiopian Eatery.
The idea of using food as a connector to bring people together launched Dine Diaspora in 2014 by co-founders Nana Ama Afari-Dwamena, Nina Oduro and Maame Boakye. The three friends traveled in the same social circles before meeting and creating a bond as friends that would later turn into a business.
“We decided that we were going to intentionally bring people together and help them cultivate lasting relationships over food and food would be the catalyst that really connected them and help to sustain them,” says Oduro who is the director of visual design and partnerships. They did just that designing culinary experiences that bring together people from different cultural and professional backgrounds. In addition, they wanted to focus on culinary talent of color.
Their speaker’s series, Dish & Sip, features discussions with global influencers with past speakers to include award-winning author and chef Michael Twitty and Rabia Kamara, owner of Ruby Scoops. The Chefs Studio is an intimate dinner affair led by culinary creatives. Guests recently enjoyed a 5-course Senegalese dinner with globally celebrated chef Pierre Thiam that was inspired by his life and love of food.
While their Signature Dinner connects and engages leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators from the African Diaspora in various fields to grow their networks, it is Chop Bar that is their most anticipated event of the year.
Named after makeshift restaurants found in their native country of Ghana as well as throughout Africa, Chop Bar is a pop-up global experience that brings people together once again over food and music. The ladies say elements of the East meets West theme will welcome guests upon arrival.
A glimpse at the menu will probably seal the deal for anyone still undecided about whether to attend. Berbere grilled prawns, chicken suya with parsley sour cream aioli, and 48-hr short rib with ginger cabbage and awaze sauce. Be sure to save room for the honey wine pudding with raspberry and mango. Each dish will come out at separate times as you move to grooves of DJ Earthwak and sip on one or both specialty cocktails inspired by the diaspora.
The Chop Shop will feature cool merchandise and get ready to give them your best pose in the photo booth that always commemorates a good time. Not sure of what to wear? Check out the hashtag #chopstyle for a little fashion inspiration.
Whether it is your first time or you are coming back for more black girl magic, Afari-Dwamena, the director of communications and community engagement, says everyone will feel at home and that the menu will speak to everyone in some kind of way.
As for the rest of us who will have to be there in spirit, Oduro says the expansion of Chop Bar events to other cities and even other countries is possible. However, she says, “First we need to make sure our D.C. people are satisfied and want more every year. This is home to us and this is where we started it and we want our D.C. people to look forward to traveling elsewhere to attend Chop Bar events.”
Well, I tried for those of you who are excited and wandering the same thing, “Will they do a Chop Bar in my city?” As I keep hope alive, I also can’t think of better reason to head to D.C. Tickets for Sunday’s event are only $50 and available on Eventbrite.
For more information and to drool over the menu for yourself, visit www.chopbar.co. Be sure to also follow the ladies of Dine Diaspora on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for highlights from this year’s Chop Bar and upcoming events.