Bumble Celebrates Black Women Chefs and Restaurateurs in Partnership with the James Beard Foundation
Did you know that six out of 10 American women have worked in the hospitality industry? That’s according to the James Beard Foundation, a U.S. nonprofit celebrating the culinary arts and American food culture, and advocacy related to the food and beverage industry. At Bumble, supporting women is central to our mission—so we’ve teamed up with the James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Programs to shine a light on the work of the Black women chefs and restaurateurs changing the industry for the better.
During the month of February, Bumble will be popping up at Black women-run establishments in six U.S. cities. Check out our Bumble IRL page for more details, and learn about these accomplished chefs and culinary innovators below.
Tiffany Derry, chef and cofounder of Roots Southern Table, Dallas, Tex.
Tiffany Derry grew up in the South, watching her grandmother welcome guests into her home with a delicious spread. For her family, field-to-table eating was not a trend, but simply a way of life: they ate with the seasons, canning and preserving fresh-picked fruits and vegetables, never letting anything go to waste. (A true Southerner, Tiffany says, knows that potlikker is the best part of a mess o’ greens.) Each Friday evening was reserved for a family fish-fry, fried chicken was at the heart of any special occasion, and crawfish boils were a summer staple. “Roots is more than a celebration of food,” says Tiffany. “It’s a celebration of who we are.”
Jamila West, managing partner of Rosie’s, Miami, Fl.
After years of experience at upscale restaurants in New York State’s bucolic Hudson Valley throughout high school, Jamila West trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. Since then, she’s worked under world-renowned restaurateurs including James Beard Award-winning chef Jose Andres among others. Her varied experience has seen her work everywhere from Los Angeles and Miami to Kuwait and Dubai. In 2018, Jamila opened The Copper Door, a food-driven bed and breakfast in Miami’s historic Overton neighborhood, alongside her business and life partner Akino West. Next came Rosie’s, known for its authentic, elevated Southern menu; it’s been dubbed “the greatest pandemic-era success story” in the Miami restaurant scene.
Andra “AJ” Johnson, managing partner of Serenata, Washington, D.C.
Andra “AJ” Johnson started her career in a local Rockville, Md. chain restaurant, then worked her way up in the industry in nearby Washington, D.C. with roles as a barista, bartender, and eventually general manager. She honed her skills at multiple well-known restaurants in the capital, including The Diner, Eola, and iconic Stephen Starr hotspot Le Diplomate, among others. In 2018, Andra co-founded DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) Black Restaurant Week. Alongside her day job as bar director at high-end cocktail spot Serenata, Andra is committed to telling the stories of people of color in the restaurant industry. Her forthcoming book is called “White Plates, Black Faces.”
Leticia “Skai” Young, owner of LoLo’s Seafood Shack, New York, NY
Born in New York’s East Harlem to a Belizean father and a mother from Texas, Leticia “Skai” Young’s childhood memories revolve around family and food, from tamales to Southern fare. The University of Pennsylvania graduate went on to complete the entrepreneurship program at the prestigious French Culinary Institute. But it wasn’t until she and her Guyanese husband, chef Raymond Mohan, were living in the British West Indies that they came upon their big idea. In some of the Caribbean islands, “lolos” are small, locally-owned and -operated traditional seaside eateries. On their return to New York, Leticia and Raymond opened LoLo’s Seafood Shack, offering island-style BBQ, comfort food, and street eats in the heart of Harlem. In fall 2023, the duo plan to open a second LoLo’s on Manhattan’s famed Broadway.
Kwini Reed, co-owner of Poppy + Rose, Los Angeles, Ca.
Southern California native Kwini Reed has an entrepreneurial streak, honed at Cal State Fullerton where she received a marketing degree. That, combined with a decade of work in the restaurant field, prompted her to launch a catering business, A Table for Two Hospitality. Together with her chef husband Michael Reed, Kwini runs downtown L.A. eatery Poppy + Rose, serving a New American menu, as well as Anaheim, Ca. seasonal spot Poppy & Seed. Both Kwini and Michael lead the Coalition for College, teaching folks from underrepresented groups the skills needed to run a profitable restaurant.
Aminah “Chef Mimi” Robinson-Briscoe, founder of Black Food & Wine Experience, Oakland, Ca.
Alicia Marie Kidd, founder of CoCo Noir Wine Shop & Bar, Oakland, Ca.
Aminah “Chef Mimi” Robinson-Briscoe has spent the last decade-plus pursuing her passion: fusing Black food and culture to make magic. Aminah has focused on the often-overlooked intersection of food, social justice, and entertainment with the Black Food & Wine Experience, a mission-driven annual weeklong event featuring cuisine from all across the African diaspora. She brings together Black food and drink entrepreneurs—like Alicia Marie Kidd, one of a growing number of winemakers from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities—to celebrate culture through hospitality. Alicia founded and runs Oakland’s CoCo Noir Wine Shop & Bar, offering wines, beers, champagnes, and non-alcoholic drinks created by women, BIPOC, and POC producers. Located in the city’s Black Arts Movement Business District, CoCo Noir’s business model is predicated on diversity, inclusivity, and social impact.