The Onyx Culinary Collective is on a mission to equalize the challenges that African American chefs face in the Twin Cities. By cultivating opportunities for them to create, operate, and finance successful food businesses, Onyx hopes to usher in a new restaurant era where these chefs actually run the businesses that prepare African American food.
Tene Wells, a social entrepreneur and business coach involved with Onyx, explains that the soul foods that so many people love were “initially, in this country, prepared by black people, either through slavery or some other form,” but adds that “in Minnesota, African American chefs have not done well in operating business that create the love of traditional [African American] food.”
Last August, Onyx came together to begin to change that. A few chefs and a couple of business-minded people like Wells got together to discuss the barriers that chefs of color face in the Twin Cities. Fast forward to today and the Onyx Culinary Collective is in full swing.
Today the collective is comprised of eight local chefs, offers catering services, and is hosting monthly pop ups at Breaking Bread in North Minneapolis. Happening on the second Friday of each month through September, each pop up centers around a rotating theme that focuses on African American food culture. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased through Eventbrite.
The next pop up will be on July 13th from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and the theme will be family reunion. “When you think of the migration of leaving the south and dispersing all over the country, it’s through food that culture is passed on,” Wells explains.
Like many new businesses, Onyx is looking for support. In addition to contributing to the Kickstarter they plan to launch soon, Wells says that those who want to support Onyx’s efforts can “use social media to let people know about us and our events, use our food at events, and hire us as caterers.”