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Introducing the Beyond Soul Food Class Series

While celebrated and even elevated, more often, when placed on the roster of American cuisine, soul food has been isolated and overlooked as representing struggle and unhealthiness. People don’t often think of the multicultural ingredients and food traditions that were melded together to form what we now know as soul food. Nevertheless, the space and time is now being made to reclaim the narrative on soul food not only as a food of perseverance and ingenuity, but as a compendium of superfoods and transformative ingredients used to usher us down the path of healing, sustainability, innovation and, most importantly, deliciousness!

In this seven-part series, you will dig deeper with Chef Lachelle to reveal what has been lost and forgotten about this major pillar in the foundation of American cuisine. While uncovering the plant-based foundations of soul food and how these nostalgic flavors are built, you will learn some of the medicinal plant wisdom passed down through generations. Throughout this series, Chef Lachelle will connect her personal food story to the story of her ancestors as she demonstrates creating delicious plant-based recipes that help to heal and restore the body. We welcome you to join us in honoring soul food and giving it its proper place in culinary history.

Session 1: How Did We Get Here?

Let’s explore the story behind soul food and how it came to be. Let us consider the historical context of soul food cuisine, how it got its name and the characteristics that make it a unique pillar of American cuisine. As we experiment together with soul food recipes, we’ll dig a little deeper to uncover the relationship between this history and its connection to our overall food system, culture, power, our health and the impacts therein.

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Session 2: Soul Food Influencers

What are the circumstances and who are the characters that culminated to create this cuisine we know today? In this session, we will look at the major cultures, ethnicities, traditions and customs that have influenced soul food cuisine. As we create a delicious plant-based meal, we will explore the cooking techniques and healing properties of the ingredients we use to build the flavors of this unique and deeply rooted American cuisine.

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Session 3: Soul Food Time Machine

In this session, we take a step back into the history and progression of soul food, our overall food culture, and how this evolution impacts our health today. Let’s look at some of the first soul food cookbooks and recipes by culinary pioneers like Abby Fisher, Edna Lewis and others, who gave definition and character in their creative expressions of American cuisine. We will use these recipes as inspiration to empower ourselves through our food choices and create a delicious plant-based meal as we explore the healing properties of the herbs and spices we use to build flavors.

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Session 4: Millennial Soul Food

In this session, we’ll press fast-forward on today and look closer at how soul food is evolving and where it is going. We will demystify the unhealthy stereotypes that plague soul food and uncover how it is on track to meet the needs of the health-conscious consumer of today. As we create a delicious plant-based meal, we will discuss new ways to think about soul food, innovations in the cuisine and cooking techniques.

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Session 5: Healthy Soul Food??

How did soul food, this cuisine with its foundations in the Black slave diet, one of the most meager diets known, grow into the heavy, sugar- and fat-laden cuisine that we think of today? In this session, we will discuss how soul food got such a bad rap and how we can change this narrative. We will dissect some classic dishes and cooking techniques and explore how we can make some easy adjustments that will satisfy our cravings while positively impacting our health.

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Session 6: Soul Fusion

Register for the upcoming class taking place on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Session 7: Soul Food Prep for Life

Register for the upcoming class taking place on Saturday, Dec. 11.