African culture and cuisine on display during the Homeland Tasting

Chef Simone Byron is joined by Chef David Shular and a friend during the Homeland Tasting in Tucker, Georgia on Sunday, February 21, 2021 (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen / The Atlanta Voice)

On Sunday February 21 there was a private tasting at Tucker which had some unique twists! First, this invitation-only tasting featured African cuisine from all parts of the continent. Second, the master chef is a black man who has a culinary school! Daryl Shular is the owner of the Shular Institute, the Plateed Cooking School, as well as Farmed Kitchen and Bar. He made sure that the 150 participants left satisfied, fulfilled and enriched.

“We had a vision to create the first black-owned culinary school in North America, and here we are today,” said Shular. “Thank you, that wouldn’t have happened without this gentleman’s brilliance here.” I had the vision, he must have known how he brought it together. But all the big pieces of the puzzle come together. And what you’re all standing in here tonight is history.

The tasting included wings from Zimbabwe, soup from Nigeria, juices from South Sudan and spices from Morocco.

“We’re going global, there are so many companies running all of this,” Shular said. “But we need each of you to be a part of that, moving this thing forward. Because it’s a community center here. Okay, we can’t do it on our own. We are doing it in the midst of a pandemic. But we’re walking on faith, and I think anybody in here that knows knows what I’m talking about.

A chef presents samples to attendees of Motherland Tasting in Tucker, Georgia on Sunday, February 21, 2021 (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen / The Atlanta Voice)

Shular says he plans to launch culinary schools in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, the three nations that are the cultural focal points in Africa.

Meanwhile, the students of the Shular Institute are mostly self-motivated and highly motivated people. Byron says she made sure black and brown children were represented in this class.

“I have students here who have 4.2 GPAs who are neglected in their communities,” Byron said.

The Shular Institute actively seeks to integrate African culture into the dining experience.

“He was so passionate about his authenticity,” said Adeola Sokunbi, a self-proclaimed culinary entrepreneur describing Shular’s passion. “And what’s going on in our culture all the time, we see it, no matter what kind of cuisine they have. Don’t worry about the authenticity. They’re doing it. They just throw it over there. And he was so adamant with all of his experience. And when I was talking to my parents, they said to me: Didn’t you tell me he was African? I said, ‘no, no, he, you know, I mean, he’s African.’

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