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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

September 27, 2023

BayHaven Food & Wine Festival readies for its third year

Subrina Collier on this year’s changes to the annual celebration of Black foodways

by TM Petaccia

Subrina Collier is cohost of BayHaven Wine & Food and co-owner of BayHaven Restaurant Group. Photo courtesy

Beginning next Wednesday, Oct. 4, and running through Sunday, Oct. 8, Charlotte will be a focal point of Black foodways and the chefs leading the charge to bring those foodways more attention. The third annual BayHaven Food & Wine Festival will bring more than 75 of the country’s top black chefs, industry experts, and vendors to the Queen City.

That number is a bit smaller than the previous two years, but according to BayHaven co-founder Subrina Collier, that’s all part of the event’s evolution. “The first two years, we had around 100 people participate,” she says. “We learned that attendees couldn’t get to all the food, especially at the Tent Tasting — and they were too full to enjoy all of it. So what we did was bring the talent down to more like 50 or 60 for food and then about 20 beverage, spirit, and wine vendors.”

Another learning experience was how to plan the individual dinners. “The first year, we had about 250 people at the dinners seated at long tables,” Collier says. “It’s hard to execute 250 full-service plates of high-end food and have everyone eat at the same time. Last year, we did more intimate dinners of 40-50. People liked it, but they missed the larger crowds. That seemed more like a party. This year, our dinners will seat about 60-100 people.”

Over the five days, BayHaven Food & Wine Festival will consist of 11 events, including formal dinners, a pig-pickin’, a couples-only dinner, Sunday brunch, fundraisers, and a symposium covering Black food, education, and culture.

BayHaven Food & Wine Festival Highlights

BayHaven Food & Wine Festival returns for its third year. Photo by Clay Willians

Wednesday, Oct. 4: “It’s a Family Affair Community Feast”

Opening night event and features James Beard Award-recognized chefs and Charlotte award-winning chefs, including Gregory Collier, BayHaven Restaurant Group, Charlotte; Ricky Moore, Saltbox Seafood Joint, Durham; Cleophus Hethington, Chop Bar, Atlanta, GA; Keith Rhodes, Catch, Wilmington, NC; Jermaine Blackmon, Original Chicken & Ribs, Charlotte; Joleen Usher, Leah & Louise, Charlotte; Adé Carrena, Dounou Cuisine, Raleigh; and Marketa Lucas, Exotic Taste Catering, Charlotte. 1601 W Trade St., 6:30 p.m., $150.

Thursday, Oct. 5: “Make Food, Not War Symposium”

Led by James Beard Foundation’s Shameeka Leacock and Colleen Vincent, plus the founder of National Black Food and Justice Alliance, Dara Cooper, the panel will also include leading chefs, farmers, hospitality professionals, and food media. Lunch optional — prepared by chef Elena Lundy, EML Catering, Charlotte, and the Johnson & Wales University culinary student team. A portion of the proceeds will go towards two JWU scholarships. Johnson & Wales University, 9 a.m., $65 symposium / $65 lunch only / $105 symposium and lunch.

Friday, Oct. 6: “Up in Smoke Pig Pickin’ & Oyster Roast”

Led by James Beard-nominated Josh Lee of Atlanta and Adrian Lipscombe, 40 Acres And A Mule Project, a team of nationally recognized chefs will be roasting a whole hog and oysters as well as offering a range of sides, beverages, and desserts. First Ward Park, noon, $125.

Saturday, Oct. 7: “Everybody Is A Star Tasting”

The headline event. A series of tasting tents with more than 50 food and beverage professionals. The event will feature a “Battle of the Food Cities” with Team Detroit led by Ederique Goudia; the DMV area (Washington, D.C.) led by Jerome Grant; Charlotte led by Chef Jamie Barnes, What the Fries; Chicago led by Lamar Moore, Bronzeville Winery; Team Atlanta led by Joshua Lee, The Soulful Company; and Team Vegan led by Chef Joya, Charlotte. First Ward Park, 11 a.m., $100.

“This is my favorite event,” Collier says. “I get to see more faces at one time. Even the festival chefs who are not participating in the tasting tent event always come by.”

Sunday, Oct. 8: “Boogie Down Brunch and Day Party”

Featuring dishes created by twelve of the country’s leading Black chefs with live entertainment. Embassy Suites, noon, $190.

“The brunch event is a favorite too,” Collier says, “I get to see way more people, and we get to have fun.”

The full list of events can be found on the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival ticket page.

“The goal is always highlighting the underserved and overlooked community in the culinary industry,” Collier says. “It’s all about fellowship.”

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