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Celebrating Black History Month: Our Chefs Give us a Taste of Their Heritage

It’s Black History Month and our colleagues in the Kitchen gave the staff a special taste of their heritage. On Thursday, February 22, the Kitchen prepared a delicious lunch with dishes spanning the African and Caribbean diaspora. Many of the dishes were created based on our colleagues’ family recipes and cultural history.

The members of our culinary staff come from around the globe and have countless traditions to share. This special meal together reminded the God’s Love staff about the meaning of “Food is Love.”

“Diversity and inclusion are some of the most important factors here in our culinary team and through out our entire organization,” said Executive Chef Andre Daquigan. “We look like New York City, we represent New York City, and we are diverse and equitable!”

God’s Love is proud to support DEIA initiatives for both our staff and our clients. Our DEIA Staff Committee works to make God’s Love a welcoming space for all. Thank you everyone who came to support our talented culinary staff!

Crystal Kirkland, Lead Kitchen Assistant

With a father from Georgia and a mother from North Carolina, Crystal tapped into her Southern roots to serve both bacon and vegetarian mac & cheese and pecan candied yams! Growing up, she remembers these being a staple during the holiday and wanted to put a “twist” on them for the God’s Love staff. She says the key to delicious tasting food is starting your home-cooked meal from scratch.

Ibrahim Suraka, Cook

Ibrahim grew up in Accra, Ghana and wanted to bring traditional African cuisine for everyone to experience. His spinach pepper pot stew and jollof rice were both big hits among the staff. Growing up, his grandmother taught him how to cook – he grew up with many cousins and at times, 15 people would be eating at once. In his family, they had a system: the eldest person cooks, and the second eldest makes the second dish. He says Ghana makes the best jollof rice, and our staff agrees!

Ryan Simpson, Lead Sous Chef

Chef Ryan spoke to us about the family and cultural history behind his curry chicken with rice and peas. Before moving to the U.S. at age 7, he grew up in a small Jamaican town (“you wouldn’t have heard of it,” he says) where his grandmother taught his family how to cook. The dishes are special to him because they’re his grandmothers recipes. The secret is robust curry flavors, not too salty or sweet. Chef Ryan is also a member of the God’s Love Staff DEIA Committee.

Curtis Wilson, Executive Sous Chef

Chef Curtis is from Jamaica and has been cooking masterpieces in the kitchen at God’s Love we Deliver for 15 years. He made his famous jerk chicken and “Rasta pasta.” He said “the Rasta Pasta is traditional dish, because of the colors, the red and green and the gold peppers, that’s why they call it the Rasta Pasta, because those are the representative colors for Rasta.”

See our Instagram Post about the Celebration!

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