Life and Religion
|On the menu: Cuban vegan cuisine with Chef Joya|
|Pop-up curation of five-course meal is specialty|
|Published Sunday, September 15, 2019 1:15 pm|
|COURTESY CHEF JOYA|
|Chef Joya hosts her second dinner in the Curated series Sept. 15.|
Chef Joya puts herself into each dish.
The vegan Charlotte based chef hosts her second dinner in the Curated on Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at an undisclosed location—the only clue is it is at a private residence. Curated with Chef Joya: Comida Cubana Creative Vegan Cuisine is a five-course meal, where she explores traditional Cuban dishes through a vegan lens while tying the experience to her family’s heritage.
“It’s based off of my roots,” Chef Joya said. “Through this entire dinner series, it’s just taking different aspects of my heritage. With my family, we have people who have Jamaican roots and Cuban and Cameroonian, and I wanted to make sure that I explore each and every part of that last. Last month I hit on my Gullah roots. That’s the inspiration behind all of this.”
Like each experience with Chef Joya, the mantra remains the same: “don’t eat anything with a face.” She explained that traditional Cuban cuisine often includes pork and ham.
“There are going to be a lot of popular Cuban dishes,” Joya said. “It’s going to be very interesting to see how I take these traditional dishes and make them completely vegan, without using a meat substitute—using strictly vegetables.”
Chef Joya will explain each course as it arrives.
“When I choose a food item, it’s pretty much things that reside with me,” Chef Joya said. “I try to do my own little twist. I keep it as authentic as possible, but I always want to put myself into those dishes, and that’s the best way to get people to know who I am, is through food.”
That’s why she wants her guests to taste each story.
“I don’t plan what I’m going to say,” Chef Joya said. “It just naturally rolls off my tongue. We talk about the food. We talk about family—where each dish comes from, what inspired it. The feedback is always so amazing, because people are so excited.”
Plantains are favorite ingredient to play with during the upcoming dinner, which will be featured prominently in her plantain waffles. Those familiar with her Monkey Joe chick’n and waffle skewer should expect something very different with the guava chik’n and plantain waffle served with Cuban black beans and yellow rice.
“I’m super excited about the plantains,” Chef Joya said. “The Monkey Joe waffle was banana and peanut butter and yams—that was like a savory dessert. This time, I’m doing a play on chicken and waffles. You’re going to taste a lot of cumin and coriander. The chicken is going to be made out of mushroom. The plantain is going to be my waffle. It’s going to be a beautiful creation. It’s going to be very colorful. All the food items—the menu is going to be completely colorful. You will be eating your colors the entire time, and it is going to be amazing.”
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