Educational Culinary Heritage Tour

Many of my family and friends may or may not know the journey I have taken since leaving my short lived career as an educator 11 years ago.  Shortly after becoming a high school teacher and coach I knew that it was not a profession from which I would retire.  I’m a proud born and breed New Orleanian and for most of us that comes with the love of food and culture.  Realizing I needed a career change I began to research culinary schools, and I applied and was accepted to The Culinary Institute of America.

Shrimp & Sausage Stuffed Bell Pepper.  One of the many foods I crave from home when the holiday season approaches.

After culinary school and before coming home to Chattanooga I gained experience and inspiration while working at Restaurant August & Restaurant Lüke in New Orleans.  Then Blackberry Farm and The Weekapaug Inn who both have the distinction of Relais & Chateaux. I also gained experience in Chattanooga at St. John’s restaurant and Easy Bistro & Bar.  I am enthused about the expanding food scene in Chattanooga, and hope to help the city develop its own distinctive style of Southern cuisine.

As I plan to open my next endeavor, Soulful Kitchen (Coastal Southern Cuisine), one of my goals is to learn more about the food of my ancestors both domestically and abroad.   I am the 2017 recipient of the James Beard Foundation's Jean Louis Palladin Work/Study Grant.  It is an honor to represent such a great organization. This grant has provided the opportunity to travel across the south to study our delicious and unique cuisine.  My approach to cooking has always been very academic and traveling to Ghana will expand my studies and knowledge base as a chef.  My experience as a teacher will be helpful as I use food to shift the paradigm of local diners and foodies.

Charleston Garlic Crab.  This was so delicious and is a typical dish of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Many American chefs have  traveled abroad before coming back to the U. S. Countless have gone to France, Italy and Spain.  Its some what of a right of passage, sort of a finishing school that allows them to bring their many years of training to a head.

The reason I am writing is to ask all my family and friends to help with me attending a 9 day culinary educational tour of Ghana Africa.  Ghana is a country about the size of Oregon on the west coast of Africa.  Current day Ghana was a key port for the Transatlantic slave trade. You see major influences of West Africa cuisine throughout the western hemisphere. More specific examples for West African food influences is Hoppin John also West Africans have a love for hardy leafy greens, like braised collards, and callaloo which is widely consumed in the West Indies. This trip will allow me to view first hand the food and culture in hope of enlightening my prospective of African cuisine.  I plan to gain inspiration from this experience so I can translate it to my impending restaurant concept.   

The cost I'm trying to cover

Passport $195

Travel cost to and from Washington DC $250-$500

Travel to and from Ghana, Africa $3400

Travel immunizations $100

Michael Twitty is the author of the Cooking Gene and has helped to promote and organize this trip.

please follow me on instagram@chefkenyattaashford

Donations (31)

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  • Ricky Hott
    • $50 
    • 6 yrs
  • Lakitta Mayfield
    • $75 (Offline)
    • 6 yrs
  • Heather Harmon
    • $10 
    • 6 yrs
  • Stracee & Anthony Robinson
    • $50 
    • 6 yrs
  • Rylan Thompson
    • $30 
    • 6 yrs
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Kenyatta Ashford
Chattanooga, TN

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