In honor of Black History Month, Ambassador Adler hosted a culinary tour at his residence, curated by Chef Etienne Mahieu and designed by food content creator Roger Dushime and his team. In addition to sampling incredible cuisine, guests had the opportunity to learn more about African influences on both American and Belgian cuisine.
The reception drew parallels between African influences on American cuisine and African influences on Belgian cuisine, and highlighted the diversity of African diaspora communities living in Belgium. The embassy collaborated with an Afro-Belgian food content creator Roger Dushime and his team to implement this program.
Mr. Dushime runs an initiative called Afro Brunch and Talk that invites guests to experience African influences on Belgian cuisine in an interactive setting. For our event, Mr. Dushime partnered with Chef Etienne Mahieu (Serra Hotel in Brussels) to create a walking dinner menu and presentation that describes those same influences and how they parallel African-American culinary history.
Remarks by Ambassador Adler
Good evening, everyone. It is an honor for me to host this unique reception tonight. I would like to thank our partners who made this event possible. Roger and your team, thank you for your creativity and enthusiasm in sharing the influences of African heritage on Belgian cuisine. Chef Etienne Mahieu, needless to say that we are thrilled to have you today and we are looking forward to enjoying your work.
Let me say a few words about Black History Month. Each February in the United States, we celebrate the legacy of Black Americans whose contributions to our country cannot be overstated. Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a powerful reminder that Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture, and Black stories are essential to the ongoing story of America. Celebrating Black history today is key to understanding ourselves as Americans and growing as a democracy – a shared value between the United States and our Belgian friends and partners.
Today I want to take the time to also celebrate all the talent present in this room and our Embassy partners who have helped us positively impact their communities. Your efforts and dedication are also making society fairer and more inclusive. Our strength lies in our diversity. Our two countries share so much in common, and I think our Belgian friends will agree that there is no better way to celebrate than with good food. Today’s menu will tell you a story, a story of cultural heritage. And we are telling our own story about culinary diplomacy here at the Embassy.
Last November we hosted American Film Showcase envoy and director of Netflix series High on the Hog Yoruba Richen to tell the story of how African cuisine transformed America. Today we are here to learn about how African cuisine influences Belgian cuisine and to celebrate the diversity of African diaspora communities living in Belgium. Whether it be with food or any other characteristic of our partnership with Belgium, we look forward to continuing to tell this amazing story with all of you. Thank you again for being here this evening.