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In a continuing partnership between the NAACP, The Real Black Friday, the Economic Community Development Institute (ECDI), the Cavs and Aramark, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse will welcome 20 black chefs who own local Cleveland restaurants, food trucks and catering businesses to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for Taste of Black Cleveland: The Food Showcase 3.0 on Monday, February 10th.
After very successful events in 2017 and 2018, The Food Showcase 3.0 (formerly the Launch Test Kitchen Food Tasting & Business Development Experience) has expanded from an annual private tasting and industry event to a public celebration of food and opportunity as part of Cleveland’s dynamic restaurant landscape.
Twenty local black chefs will earn the opportunity to participate in The Food Showcase 3.0 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, including the five highest-scoring restaurants voted on by locals during Black Restaurant Week 2019. Chefs will prepare their signature dishes for guests to sample and vote on their favorite items based on quality, variety and presentation of dishes.
The winners will be awarded cash and prizes, as well as consideration for additional opportunities at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and more. They will also be recognized on-court at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse during the Cavaliers game on Wednesday, February 12th vs. the Atlanta Hawks.
In addition to the tasting event itself, a continuing core element of the The Food Showcase 3.0 will also provide all participants with additional business development training and networking opportunities with other local chefs and food and business development industry professionals.
Previous winners include Tiwanna Scott-Williams in 2017, whose unique and flavorful comfort food concept called Pearl’s Kitchen can now be found on the main street-level concourse at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Prior to Pearl’s Kitchen, she worked with Aramark, the food and beverage provider for Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, and the Cavs on another successful concept featured at LTK based around her Pearl Flower Catering business during the 2018 season. Chef Tiwanna’s featured item for Black Restaurant Week is her savory Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which can be enjoyed exclusively at Pearl’s Kitchen inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Other previous winners include Chef Vic Searcy (Sauce The City) and Chef Sonia Steele (Vegan Vicki), who have items featured on menus in the Budweiser Brew House and in premium spaces around Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, respectively.
Also in partnership with Aramark and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cavs Legend Elmore Smith had his BBQ concept, Elmore's Smokehouse, brought to life in 2010. Today, fans still head to the Street Level Concourse concession to enjoy a hearty menu featuring his signature BBQ sauce.
“The NAACP Cleveland Branch made a commitment to partner with the Cavs as they embarked on the Transformation project because we viewed it as a crucial economic development project and an opportunity for the black community to participate in the ongoing economic activity that happens as a result of having the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in our community,” said Danielle Sydnor, NAACP Cleveland Branch President. “The Food Showcase 3.0 was birthed out of that partnership and has helped to transform the opportunities for black owned food-based businesses inside the FieldHouse with folks like Tiwanna Scott-Williams and Pearl’s Kitchen to the historic launch of Cleveland Black Restaurant Week in December. We continue to be excited by the commitment of the Cavs and Aramark to advancing Diversity and Inclusion in the community.”
“We are proud to collaborate with the NAACP, ECDI and The Real Black Friday on The Food Showcase 3.0 to expand this impactful, innovative program to showcase talent and help expand opportunity and awareness for many deserving local chefs,” said Len Komoroski, Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse CEO. “Our partners at Aramark have also been at the core of this concept and effort and we look forward to now taking the event public as the program has continued to grow and provides a great showcase for some very deserving business owners in our community.”
A Taste of Black Cleveland: The Food Showcase 3.0 will take place on Monday, February 10th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Additional details about the event, tickets and participants will be announced in the near future.
Black Restaurant Week is underway this week and continues over the weekend concluding Monday, December 16th. The community is encouraged to visit the 19 black-owned restaurants participating in A Taste of Black Cleveland and to cast their vote for best restaurant at TheRealBlackFriday.com/Vote-Best-Restaurant.