Diaspora Dinner
Featuring Dr. Jessica B. Harris
In-person at MoAD and the St. Regis San Francisco
Sat
May 4, 2024
6:00 pm
 - 
9:00 pm
$225 MoAD Members | $250 General Admission | $1000 VIP Special Access
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About

The Diaspora Dinner is an immersive dining experience that celebrates the ingredients, cooking techniques, and flavor profiles of the African diaspora. This year, MoAD Chef-in-Residence Jocelyn Jackson has asked Dr. Jessica B. Harris to join her as we honor the iconic contributions she has made to the canon of African foodways. The evening will be filled with melodic music, delicious drinks, exquisite food, and inspiring conversation that reflect Dr. Harris’s culinary scholarship and remarkable life. The exquisite dinner will be hosted at The St. Regis San Francisco, a Forbes Five-Star luxury hotel, renowned for its gracious and bespoke services.

 

General Admission tickets include access to welcome reception, dinner, conversation, and entertainment for one guest. VIP tickets provide access for two guests to all event activities plus a VIP toast with Dr. Jessica B. Harris, gift bag, and complimentary valet parking for one car.

We will begin the night in the grand lobby of MoAD with a champagne reception and passed hors d’oeuvres. The guests will then make their way through the building to a beautifully appointed space at the St. Regis Hotel for a formal multi-course dinner co-curated by our Chef-in-Residence and Dr. Harris, which will include many of Dr. Harris’ very own recipes. An interactive conversation moderated by chef Adrian Lipscombe will span the impact of Dr. Harris’ twelve acclaimed books including the book on which Netflix based its award-winning limited series about the African diaspora, "High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America."  

We look forward to each guest feeling transported and uplifted by the Diaspora Dinner experience.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Jessica B. Harris

Jessica B. Harris is a prolific author known for her many acclaimed books delving into the culinary traditions of the African diaspora. Her works include titles such as The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent, My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir, The Welcome Table: African American Heritage Cooking, and the book on which Netflix based an award-winning limited series, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America.

Dr. Harris is a revered culinary historian, having delivered lectures on African-American foodways at prestigious institutions like The Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Her expertise has taken her globally, from Oxford Brookes University in the U.K. to conferences in Tunisia and Morocco.  

A professor in the English Department at Queens College, CUNY for 50 years until her retirement, Harris is currently professor emerita. She holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College, a M.A. in French Literature from Queens College, CUNY, a License ès Lettres from the Université de Nancy, France, and a doctorate in Performance Studies from New York University, where her dissertation focused on the French-speaking theater of Senegal. Dr. Harris was the inaugural scholar in residence in the Ray Charles Chair at Dillard University in New Orleans. Dr. Harris also received an honorary doctorate honoris causa from Johnson & Wales University.

Her multifaceted career extends to journalism, where she served as a restaurant reviewer for The Village Voice in New York City and contributed to publications like Essence and German Vogue. Harris has also contributed significantly to culinary education, helming the Culinary Institute of America’s establishment of their concentration “Cuisines and Cultures of Africa and its Diaspora in the Americas,” chairing panels at esteemed events such as the Fancy Food Shows and delivering keynote addresses at culinary conferences like the Caribbean Culinary Federation's annual Taste of the Caribbean. She is also a patron of the Oxford Cultural Collective, a UK-based group that uses food, drink, and hospitality as catalysts for positive social change.

Harris's accolades and contributions are extensive, earning her recognition from esteemed culinary institutions. She has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Southern Foodways Alliance and the James Beard Foundation, where her cookbooks were inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame. Harris's impact on culinary literature and education is truly global and enduring as she continues to work as a consultant to and participate in African diaspora food projects such as Kann Restaurant in Portland, OR and the annual Family Reunion hosted by Kwame Onwuachi.

Adrian Lipscombe, a proud native Texan, embarked on her career in city planning upon earning her Masters in Architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She made a significant impact working with the private sector and municipal governments in Austin and San Antonio on community-focused projects. With a heritage deeply rooted in Central Texas for six generations, Adrian possesses extensive knowledge in African American heritage in the U.S. She advocates passionately for fostering connections between local farmers and ranchers with chefs, promoting opportunities for everyone.

In 2016, Adrian took her talents to La Crosse, Wisconsin, where she established Uptowne Café, a cherished haven for the Northside community. Through her restaurant, she skillfully weaves her Southern upbringing, Midwest ingredients, and African American culinary heritage, creating a unique culinary experience. She created a theory that restaurants can become community impact spaces can drive changes of revitalizations within communities.  

As one of the few Black restaurant owners in the area, Adrian's vision gave birth to the 40 Acres Project, aimed at preserving the legacy of Black agriculture and foodways by acquiring Black-owned land. She is ardently advocating for food sovereignty within all communities. An advisory board member of Foodways Texas and the Austin Travis County Food Policy Board, Adrian demonstrates her commitment to enhancing the culinary landscape. She is also a Culinary Diplomat to the White House and State Department.

Additionally, she plays a pivotal role as a founding member of the Muloma Heritage Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the African Atlantic influences in American culture and their contributions to American cuisines. Adrian also serves on the board of the Edna Lewis Foundation, further highlighting her commitment to preserving culinary heritage.

Adrian is currently a PhD candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin. In her return to Austin, Adrian looks forward to continuing to showcase the African American influences on food culture today and to feed friends, family and the community. As a mother of four, she takes pride in creating stepping stones and a legacy for the future.

 

Photo credit Molly DeCoudreaux

Jocelyn Jackson is an award-winning chef, artist, teacher, and activist who was raised on the Kansas plains by a Tuskegee Airman and the first Black woman to run for mayor in Wichita. Her family tradition of social justice led her to pursue a law degree after completing her BA in Fine Arts. After practicing law for six years in DC, she spent two years in Mali and across West Africa as a Natural Resource Volunteer and returned to the states to finish her formal education with a MS in Environmental Education. Once she landed in the Bay Area, her lifelong devotion to healing food experiences became the vessel for her cultural entrepreneurship and activism. Jocelyn has been a professional cook for over 12 years. She spoke on the principles of community nourishment at Court Bouillon in Southern France, and was part of the team that presented the inaugural Diaspora Dinner at MoAD. She is the founder of JUSTUS Kitchen and the co-founder of People’s Kitchen Collective (PKC). Both organizations serve to center the lived experience and liberation of Black and brown peoples using food, art, and social justice as vehicles for change.  

Jocelyn has received several honors as an artist and chef over the years. She was named Rising Star Chef alongside PKC by the SF Chronicle, received the Rainin Open Spaces and Fellows Grant, Creative Capital Award, Ruth Foundation for the Arts Grant, and Headlands Center for the Arts Residency. In 2021 she was selected for Ava DuVernay’s LEAP Foundation Grant to create a culinary arts based installation that reflected the story of Philando Castille. Jocelyn has published writing on the topics of food and justice in Eater, Epicurious, The Kitchn, Feed the Resistance by Julia Turshen, and Black Food by Bryant Terry.

Diaspora Dinner 2023 Photo Gallery

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Made possible by

The Chef-in-Residence program at MoAD is made possible by the generous support of Kaiser Permanente.
Diaspora Dinner 2024 is presented in partnership with The St. Regis San Francisco.

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