Bayhaven Food and Wine returns this week for the second annual festival celebrating Black foodways

By Tyler Bunzey

October 17, 2022 (updated)

Photo: Clay Williams

Over 100 chefs and mixologists will convene in Charlotte for the second annual Bayhaven Food and Wine Festival. The festival, run by Bayhaven Restaurant Group founders Gregory and Subrina Collier, will celebrate variegated Black culinary traditions over the course of five days, from October 19-23. 

Bayhaven’s festival was founded to recognize the creativity of Black chefs who are often overlooked or reductively represented in American culinary media. According to Subrina Collier, this focus “will raise awareness of and create opportunities for Black experts in the hospitality industry: chefs, artisans, farmers, brewers, and distillers.”  

The first annual Bay Haven Food & Wine Festival at Camp North End in 2019. Photo: Clay Williams.

This year’s festival is inspired by HBCUs with a theme of “Homecoming,” with each night’s event offering different takes on the significance of the homecoming traditions at Black colleges and universities. The festival serendipitously occurs during the homecoming celebration of Charlotte’s only HBCU, Johnson C. Smith University. 

From Skyline Terrace to Camp North End, events range from educational symposiums to coursed dinners to tasting tents. The festival is one of the few food festivals in the Southeast with this focus, and its second iteration will feature acclaimed tastemakers from around the country alongside the creative energy of up-and-coming chefs.

The opening night event on Wednesday called the “Freshman Orientation Farm Dinner” will feature six courses and four wine pairings from host Greg Collier,  James Beard Award-winner Ricky Moore (Saltbox Seafood Joint), James Beard semifinalists Cleophus Hethington (Ębí Chop Bar) and Keith Rhodes (Catch), Kenyatta Ashford (Neutral Ground), Tavel Bristol Joseph (Emmer Hospitality Group), and Tiesha Whittaker (Buttermilk Boutique). 

James Beard Award-winning chef Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint will participate in the Bayhaven Food and Wine Festival. Photo: CLTure 

Thursday will feature a mid-day symposium at Johnson & Wales addressing the state of the Black hospitality industry, with the Chef Zoe and Friends dinner at The Ruth following later that evening. The all-woman led dinner will treat guests to six courses and three cocktails from James Beard’s Director of Women’s Leadership Programs, Zoe Adjonyoh. Chef Adjonyoh will be joined by Leah & Louise’s Courtney Evans, as well as Selasie Dotse of San Francisco’s Elade Test Kitchen and Nana Wilmost of Philly’s Love That I Knead Supper Club. 

Friday features two contemporaneous events starting at 6:30 p.m. Festival goers can buy tickets to the Seafood 202 Dinner at Camp North End: a six-course dinner with wine pairings and live music from an array of chefs from around the country including Charlotte’s own Chris Scott (Haymaker). If foodies are in a more festive mood, they can attend the Homecoming Gala which the planners describe as an “adult prom,” complete with chef stations, mixologists, winemakers, and music.

The first annual Bay Haven Food & Wine Festival in 2019. Photo: Clay Williams

Camp North End will host all of Saturday’s events. During the day, the Pep Rally Tasting Tent from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. will host bites from over 75 chefs including Anita Spring Council of Chapel Hill Staple Mama Dip’s, NYC’s Lana Lagomarsini (Lana Cooks), and Charlotte’s Jamie Barnes (What the Fries). To conclude the day’s festivities, the Second Semester Dinner will treat guests to wild game ranging from rabbit to gator from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. 

Finally, the festival finishes with a Post-Game Tailgate on Sunday evening in Camp North End. Attendees will be treated to a tailgate-style BBQ cookout with food stations, cocktails, and beer from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 

Chef Adjou Courtney (Cooking with Joya) will participate in the “Green With Envy” event, a vegan and vegetarian experience at Bay Haven Food & Wine Festival. Photo: Clay Williams.

Alongside chefs from around the country, the 2022 festival will highlight a collective of North Carolina’s most impressive culinary minds, and Charlotte is well represented among the weekend’s offerings. Guests will be treated to bites from established Charlotte chefs like Reyaña Radcliffe (Your Braisen Chef), Chayhill Johnson (Community Matters Café), Courtney Evans and Brandon Stanton (Leah and Louise), Adjou Courtney (Cooking with Joya), and NCRLA Chef of the Year Oscar Johnson (Jimmy Pearls).

Few food festivals pay explicit homage to the immense influence of Black diasporic foodways on American cuisine. Bayhaven centers this history while encouraging the innovation of new culinary voices.  

Check out the full list of events and ticket options for Bay Haven Food & Wine Festival

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