Event: 

Living in the Diaspora

A multi-sensory dining experience exploring what it means to survive and thrive as a Diaspora. Food is a basic human need for survival and a way of preserving culture. All cuisines have evolved with migration, reflecting new circumstances and communities. The menu is inspired by Puerto Rican cuisine, Afro-Diasporic dishes, and ingredients that are seasonal in the Northeast of the United States.

Menu: 

Smaller Dishes

Sorullos

cornmeal fritters served with mayo-ketchup

Seasonal Salad

green salad with a guava dressing

Caldo Santo

"Sacred Broth" traditionally prepared in Loiza, Puerto Rico with a fresh coconut milk and codfish broth  

Garbanzada

chickpea soup with roots in the Canary Islands

Larger Dishes

Canoas

sweet plantain "canoes" served with a peanut sauce, coconut rice, and mixed greens

Mayombe Chicken

A cuban dish with direct influences from West Africa, hints of nutmeg, and served with stewed potatoes

Sweets

Horchata de Ajonjoli

sweet milk beverage made of sesame seeds, an ancient native crop to Africa

Alfajores

Peruvian-inspired cookies made in Puerto Rico with the island's fruits and love

Flan

my mother's coconut custard recipe

Bio: 

Gabriela Álvarez is a chef and founder of Liberation Cuisine. She began cooking after studying public health in academia for several years. The kitchen became her way to tackle inequalities in the food system while maintaining a focus on individual agency. Her own relationship with food has served as a declaration of self-worthiness in a world that diminishes brown bodies and a point of connection to her Puerto Rican ancestry. Her menus are an exploration of her own identities and a reflection of the communities and collectives with whom she collaborates. Chef Gabriela Álvarez cooks in spaces of self-determination, healing, community celebration, and cultural preservation. She has cooked for Soul Fire Farm’s Black and Latinx Farmer Immersion Programs as well as Harriet’s Apothecary Healing Villages and Race Forward's Racial Justice Trainings. Gabriela is known to co-create food experiences with other artists, healers, activists and chefs. For example, she offered nourishment as part of an all-day healing experience at the opening of The Caribbean Center African Diaspora Institute in October 2016. She also collaborated with two other women of color chefs to cook for the 2016 Holyoke Food Justice Conference. Gabriela teaches cooking classes dedicated to food as resiliency and honoring traditional food preparations. In 2014 she founded Liberation Cuisine - a catering company dedicated to preparing meals collectively with sustainable ingredients and practices.