The Taste of Tomorrow
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  • March15th

    Wilbert Jones

    Sub-Saharan African food needs a Rick Bayless-figure.  Bayless, the celebrity chef, founder of Frontera Grill, PBS star, host of the series Mexico: One Plate at a Time, helped introduce millions of gringos to the vast range of possibilities of traditional Mexican foods – and how they could be interpreted.

    Who will be the maverick culinary mind who helps introduce North Americans to the vast possibilities of sub-Saharan African cuisines and ingredients??

    One of the most promising candidates for Rick Bayless of African food is based here in Chicago, and he’s giving a public talk on March 23 at Kendall College titled “The Flavor of Africa.”

    Wilbert Jones, chef, food scientist, author of two books, and president of a food product development company, is currently working on cable television series titled a “A Taste of Africa.” You can watch a clip here. Jones has had a long fascination with African cuisine — he’s written about African foods for the trade Prepared Foods — here’s an interesting piece on street foods of Africa. He also gave a fascinating-sounding lecture series at Kendall College last year that looked at several African cuisines.

    His March 23rd talk “The Flavor of Africa” hosted by the Culinary Historians of Chicago will cover a lot of ground —he’ll talk about the daily diets of the ancient Egyptians and will introduce folks to the national dishes of several countries, Jones will also showcase some of the current food and beverage trends emerging out of Africa  and talk about how they might manifest themselves in American cuisines.

    We are very excited about the event. There will be tastings, including samples of sauces from Bim’s Kitchen. Here are the details from the Culinary Historians Site:

    “The Flavor of Africa” – Wilbert Jones – 
    Saturday, March 23, 2013 — 10 a.m. to Noon
    Kendall College, School of Culinary Arts, 900 N. North Branch Street, Chicago
    Cost of the lecture program is $5, $3 for students.
    To reserve, please e-mail your reservation to: Culinary.Historians@gmail.com.

    We’re also very excited to have a chance to sit down with Wilbert for a talk about his thoughts on African cuisines.  We’ll obviously post an update as soon as that’s schedule.

  • March9th

    It's coming.

    Lemon piri piri chicken wings, baby back ribs barbecued in a smoky  baobab sauce,  a salad drizzled with a baobab pepper vinaigrette, French fries dipped in African ketchup.

    If you’ve been in the orbit of The Taste of Tomorrow — hung around my kitchen, listened to TofT podcasts, gone sledding with me— you’ve heard this before.  In fact, you’ve been subjected to so much enthusing about these sauces, and the maker of these condiments, that you may have thought,  “Easy on the hype.”  Or “Dude, do you work for Bim’s Kitchen?” (No)

    Well…. I have recently learned that I am not alone in my  over-the-top enthusiasm the work of James “BIm” Adedeji.

    Apparently, some other American fellow has fallen under the spell of Bim’s, as well.

    Which brings me to some very, very good news.

    The other Bim’s Kitchen enthusiast is a food importer.

     

    Remember how I was whining about how you can’t get Bim’s anywhere in North America?

    Well, those days will soon be over.

    By end of April, eight of Bim’s sauces will be stocked at 50 Homegoods and TJ Maxx stores. (Yes, that TJ Maxx; I didn’t even know TJ Maxx had food).  Here’s a passage from the press release.

    2,400 units of small artisan producer Bim’s Kitchen award-winning handmade African-inspired food products have been snapped up by American company, TJX, for sale in the gourmet food sections of selected T.J. Maxx and Homegoods department stores across the USA.

    Why are we so off-the-charts pleased about this news that Bim’s will be available at TJ Maxx/Homegoods?

    First, the T of T Headquarters is about a 3-minute drive from a TJ Maxx.  (James said can’t confirm that the sauces will be at TJ Maxx Evanston, as the importer doesn’t know exactly which stores they are destined for.)

    Second, as much as I love Bim’s, having it airmailed here was not sustainable. At last, we look forward to being able to use our stash of sauces without extreme rationing.  The 2013 Memorial Day Wing Fest & Max Schonwald Birthday will be an African-Flavored wing fest. (contact me if  you want to attend)

    Third, and most important….

    Having Bim’s sauces stocked at TJ Maxx — or at some TJ Maxx or Homegoods in Chicagoland —gives me the ability to swiftly and forcefully respond to The Doubters.  See this earlier post. These skeptics  — even the author of The Taste of Tomorrow’s very own father — doubt that sub-Saharan African foods can be wonderful, and question the African Food Inevitability  Thesis.

    Now, we can drive over to TJ Maxx, stock up some Bim’s, and quickly counter with an African-inspired feast.

    Again, James said that he doesn’t yet know what TJ Maxx and Homegoods stores will carry Bim’s products. That apparently will be decided by the TJX grocery team when the goods arrive in the States.

    We will post a list of the stores that have the goods, as soon as that information becomes available.

    For those of you who are eager to get an early taste of Bim’s, there might be a preview opportunity coming up….