The Global Black Impact Summit (GBIS) set to convene in Dubai on 27 February 2024, will spotlight the profound influence of the African diaspora on various industries, including the culinary arts. From the roots of African cuisine to the evolution of culinary traditions in the Caribbean and the Americas, the summit aims to celebrate the rich tapestry of flavours, techniques, and dishes that have transcended borders and united people worldwide.
The culinary exploration begins with the diverse landscapes and myriad cultures of Africa, where a rich tapestry of ingredients, cooking methods, and flavours has flourished. From the vibrant spices of West Africa’s jollof rice and fufu made from cassava root to South Africa’s fusion dish bobotie, African cuisine showcases the fusion of local ingredients and historical influences.
The African diaspora: A fusion of cultures
The transatlantic slave trade in the 16th century facilitated the movement of millions of Africans to the Americas and the Caribbean, bringing with them enduring culinary traditions that adapted to local ingredients while preserving authentic cooking methods and flavours.
The Caribbean’s creole cuisine, with dishes like gumbo and callaloo, exemplifies the rich melding of African, indigenous, and European influences, telling the story of resilience and adaptation. In the United States, soul food emerged as a celebration of African heritage, with dishes like collard greens and fried chicken providing both sustenance and a profound connection to cultural identity.
Impact of the African diaspora
The undeniable influence of the African diaspora on global cuisine is evident in dishes like Acarajé in Brazil and Ackee and saltfish in Jamaica, each rooted in the traditions of the Yoruba people and the Akyem people, respectively. The diaspora has enriched culinary traditions worldwide, becoming a testament to its enduring impact on food and culture.
Throughout history, pioneering black chefs such as Edna Lewis, Patrick Clark, Marcus Samuelsson, Kwame Onwuachi, and Sheldon Simeon have broken barriers, innovating and shaping the culinary world.
GBIS 2024 aims to recognise and celebrate the achievements of black individuals across various industries, fostering a more diverse and inclusive professional landscape. Just as culinary traditions continue to evolve and innovate, the summit seeks to unleash the full potential of the global black community and explore the vast array of traditions and heritage associated with the African diaspora.