Harlem resident Fabrice Armand has been eating Creole food since he was “literally out of the womb,” and the Haitian-born marketing specialist is sharing his lifelong love for the flavorful cuisine as founder of New York City’s Creole Food Festival.
In its second year, the April 27 festival at the Lower East Side’s DL rooftop lounge is bringing together six chefs from around the world who will serve Creole cuisine based on their own upbringings and experiences.
Many of the chefs have major accolades, including Kelvin Fernandez, who won Best Young Chef in Forbes’ 30 Under 30: Food and Wine list and “beat” Bobby Flay on the Food Network; chef Stephan Berrouet Durand, who founded the Taste of Haiti and Haiti Food and Spirits festivals; and Daniel Pontes-Macedo, who was a finalist on Fox’s “MasterChef,” among others.
About 500 people are expected to sample entrees and cocktails (like a rum punch mixture) and enjoy live entertainment and dance over five hours.
Last year, Armand, 37, said he tried a chef’s spicy pineapple chutney and was “transported.”
“I think Creole cuisine just brings joy and laughter and warmth,” he told amNewYork. “The flavor [of the chutney] had spices that bring you to the Caribbean. Like in ‘Star Trek’ when you’re being transported. It’s like you’re being beamed to an island.”
Even though culinary excellence is at the top of the bill, Armand and his co-founder Elkhar Bella really want the event to be a platform for black and brown chefs to showcase their talent and creativity.
“Black and Latin chefs have to work three times as hard to get the [fame] of their white counterparts,” he said. “We really wanted to be inclusive. In a world where everybody is being divided, this is the only festival that connects the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America together.”
“A ‘pelau’ from Trinidad is a ‘du riz colle’ in Haiti, a ‘thieboudienne’ in Senegal, a ‘jagacida’ in Cape Verde and an ‘arroz con pollo’ in Puerto Rico,” he said. “All Creole food is blended with culinary influences from all of these different countries but they’re different in execution.”
What to know before you go:
Chefs on the lineup: Kelvin Fernandez, Jerzy Gonzalez, BJ Dennis, Nma Okpara, Daniel Pontes-Macedo and Stephan Berrouet Durand.
Standard tickets — $35
Standard VIP — $75
Tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.com
Tickets include: Two tastings, a beer or wine drink ticket, live music and dance and access to dishes and drinks available for purchase.
VIP tickets include a one-hour open bar, five tasting tickets and an hour of tasting before the general public.
Times: The VIP session is 2 to 8 p.m. and general admission is 3 to 8 p.m.