Food blogger Eden Hagos has a fever for flavour that goes way back: Her grandparents owned a café and spice market in East Africa, and her parents opened one of the first Ethiopian restaurants in Windsor, Ont., where she was born and raised. Hagos now lives in Toronto, and last year started Black Foodie, a blog and event series that spotlights African, Caribbean and Southern U.S. cuisines and food cultures.
Why did you start Black Foodie?
I’ve always been surrounded by people who are really passionate about food, talented home cooks and food entrepreneurs. But it was a negative experience I had while dining out for my birthday last year that really got me thinking about food and race more critically. I was with a group of friends, all black women, and it was clear from the restaurant staff’s actions and words that we weren’t welcomed. I ended up leaving the restaurant that night, embarrassed, upset and feeling threatened.
An experience like that really sticks with you. I started wondering about the ways in which black people experience the food world differently and I began reflecting on my own dining choices. I realized that I hadn’t even thought to celebrate at an African or Caribbean restaurant. From then on, I sought to explore the food world from a uniquely black lens.