Back in 2018, at the James Beard Awards in Chicago, Edouardo Jordan bumped into the historian Toni Tipton-Martin. That meeting seems serendipitous enough since that night Jordan went away with a couple of awards, one for his Southern restaurant JuneBaby. Part of the research he did for the restaurant involved Tipton-Martin’s books, like her Beard Award–winning compilation The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cooking. “There’s a lot of historians that I pay homage to,” Jordan says. “And she’s definitely one of them.”
So when she sent a copy of her new book Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African American Cooking, he texted her thanks, then had an idea. "I was like, oh, voila, what if I asked her to come and speak at the dinner?”
The dinner is called the Soul of Seattle, which takes place at the Northwest African American Museum on February 7. It’s his follow-up to the events he ran with chefs like Carla Hall and BJ Dennis last February for Black History Month.
This year, as the main event in a month of celebrations, Jordan has enlisted ten local chefs of color to prepare some of their favorite bites in the main gallery of the Northwest African American Museum: Kristi Brown of That Brown Girl Cooks, Harold Fields of Umami Kushi, Wayne Johnson of FareStart, Sabrina Tinsley of La Spiga, Matt Lewis of Where Ya At Matt, Aliyah Davis of Black Magic Sweets, Makini Howell of Plum, Trey Lamont of Jerk Shack, Donna Moodie of Marjorie, and Dre Neeley of Gravy.
There’ll be drinks from places like Westland Distillery and Avennia Wine, a silent auction, and maybe some dancing. Tipton-Martin will present Jubilee, both the story behind its creation, her own story, and the importance of soul food in the U.S.
Then, for those who want to buy in, Jordan will draw on some of his favorite recipes in the book to create a coursed dinner. He’s already planning a twist on her lamb curry with roasted chicken, an okra pilaf with heirloom peas, a sweet potato salad with kale, and a pineapple upside down cake, “one of my all-time favorite desserts.”
Tickets to the bites section run $75 to $125. For both bites and the dinner, they’re $500. The proceeds go to non-profits working to support youth of color, this year the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and Rainier Scholars. To try to make the event more accessible, you can also donate sponsored tickets that they’ll give to those who can’t afford entry.
Jordan said that he’s had a lot of requests recently to sign on for charity events. In some cases, though, “I didn’t feel like I was actually impacting the people in the community I really wanted to touch,” he says. “I wanted to put on something this year that was more meaningful to me personally and then also more direct to the community.”
The Soul of Seattle
Feb 7, Northwest African American Museum, $75–$500
Updated on January 8 to reflect that this event is one in a month-long celebration, not Jordan's only event this month as previously stated.