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Mealtime: Black-owned businesses and food from the African diaspora are unique festival highlights | FIU News

Ricardo Vincent faced a big decision when the pandemic dried up his catering business. Survive or wait. Then he and some of his business partners decided to open his hood truck.

In March 2020, Taco Negro was born. Mouth-watering aromas of perfectly spiced jerk chicken tacos, shredded beef and cheese, po’ boy shrimp, and barbecue his mac and cheese rise from the truck.

“Nobody was eating indoors after the pandemic,” Vincent said. So he decided to deliver food to people. Why Taco Negro? “Believe it or not, Taco he doesn’t have many black owners driving trucks.”

Taco Negro is just one of over 40 black-owned restaurants and food trucks participating in this year’s second edition.nd Annual Black Pepper Food & Wine Festival hosted by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau Black Hospitality Initiative. The festival is organized by FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and benefits the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) efforts. The 2nd The annual festival will be held on Saturday, August 13th from 3:00pm to 8:00pm at the Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami, Florida.

25 FIU students help the organizers run the event. Some of his FIU affiliates at the festival include Tropical Oasis Express, The Trap 954, Chef Ari’s Slight Peppa, Oli’s Bakeshop, Rita’s Italian Ice and Pound for Pound Cakes.

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Festival-goers enjoy a meal at the House of Mac.

In addition to restaurants and black businesses from Miami to West Palm Beach, the festival features live chef demonstrations, mixology demonstrations and live music.

“There is no better time to celebrate restaurants than during Black Business Month. said Alexis Brown, co-founder of the festival and owner of events company SocialXchange, Inc. Focuses on black owner businesses. Her Business Together with her partner Joel Brown, the two are committed to providing a sense of community to urban millennials and professionals by curating innovative social, community her services and travel experiences. has been concentrated.

“The story is that there aren’t many black-owned businesses here in South Florida, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Supporting the black economy

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More than 40 black-owned restaurants and food trucks participate in the festival.

August is Black Business Month, and the public is encouraged to appreciate and support Black-owned businesses across the United States. The month kicked off his August 2004 campaign to advance policy agendas affecting her 2.6 million African-American businesses in the United States at the time, sharing and celebrating America’s diversity and equity . According to Miami-Dade County, it is ranked 5th Countries with the highest number of black-owned employer businesses. Brown said that at Miami-Dade, his 17% of businesses are black-owned, and at Broward, that number is double his 34%.

But black business owners face challenges. According to a McKinsey survey in October 2020, only 5% of black Americans own a stake in a business in the United States. Other research shows that Black entrepreneurs have even more difficulty accessing the capital needed to start a business, as well as the marketing costs to promote it.

Brian Barker, DEI Professor at the Chaplin School and the first professor of diversity, equity and inclusion in the United States, said: other hospitality schools in the country.

Barker recently launched a bold and purposeful initiative called the Alliance for Hospitality Equity & Diversity (AHED). This is to create a national infrastructure for talented yet underrepresented Black and Hispanic students to pave the way for a degree in hospitality management and leadership in his C-suite. Thing.

“The only way to create intergenerational wealth and create equity in our communities is by taking a purposeful approach, and this festival is an amazing way to put money back into the black economy,” Barker concluded. .

For Vincent, the business owner of Taco Negro, it will be his first time attending the Black Pepper Food & Wine Festival. He’s thrilled and agrees, “It’s all about supporting each other.”

For Black Pepper Wine & Food Festival tickets, visit blackpepperfoodfest.com. And to learn more about DEI’s work, visit Hospitality.fiu.edu. The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required.