Empowering the Diner is a Black women-led food and beverage event centered on collaboration and inclusion in which we bring folx together to discuss, learn, and explore their palate and dining experiences.
We seek to dismantle colonizer-led perspectives and gatekeeping practices by challenging the status quo through creative, multi-faceted, and BIPOC-led educational and hospitable experiences.
By changing how we access food and beverage education and hospitality, we make space for more folx who feel excluded by the discriminatory, racist, and sexist practices embedded in the industry from the guest to the professional.
Friday, May 21st
Friday, May 28th
Friday, June 4th
Friday, June 11th
What you want, baby we got it
What is wine and why are we interested?
How and why do we taste wine.
Somm don't kill my vibe
How do we know and ask for what we like? Empowering the diner to understand their palate.
Why see the world when you’ve got wine
What are we looking for when we buy wine?
Wine gives us a story and takes us to a place. Let's go!
Ain’t no stoppin' the Prosecco from poppin'
What have we learned?
Celebrating community and the changes we bring together.
Amanda was born and raised in the DMV, growing up in a small immigrant community from Mizoram, India. She’s worked in the DC hospitality industry for over 12 years, and has been with the award-winning restaurant Bad Saint since its opening in 2015. As the Service and Beverage Director there, she is responsible for staff education and development, customer experience, and beverage selection. In addition to her position at Bad Saint, she holds a WSET Level 2 Certification and works as an Account Manager for Native Selections, a natural wine distributor in the Washington, DC area.
Amanda was drawn to natural wine by the stories of farmers and small wine makers, and has worked diligently within the hospitality and wine-loving community to develop a descriptive methodology for wine that is rooted in the memories and experiences of BIPOC histories and culture. Deeply committed to cultivating community solidarity, Amanda founded All In Service DC, a local coalition created following the 2016 election that drove nearly $80,000 in community fundraising to protect DC's hospitality service workers. When she is not working in hospitality and wine distribution, Amanda enjoys creating ceramic vessels in her pottery studio, and trail running in Rock Creek Park with her dog Vivi.
Justin, originally from Washington, DC, was destined for the wine industry. Studying Wine Business at Cal Poly, her junior year she studied abroad in Adelaide, Australia. Mesmerised by the region during their harvest season, Justin decided to begin working at Lumen wines. There for 5 years, Justin worked her way up to Assistant Winemaker after spending a sabbatical in Hawkes Bay, NZ at Pask Winery.
She is currently transitioning to the Napa area where you can find her at Heitz Cellars. When she is not in the cellar you can find Justin in the kitchen, watching scary films, or chatting over a glass of wine, pet rat on shoulder.
Lindsay Williams, PhD, RN, is the Founder of South LA Wine Club, a small business dedicated to creating community among wine enthusiasts in South LA and Inglewood. Since 2017, she's connected winemakers and wine businesses to the diverse and eclectic residents of South LA and Inglewood with accessible and affordable events that engage participants at all levels in their wine knowledge.
She believes that wine access is a critical issue for South LA residents in engaging with and enjoying their surroundings. South LA Wine Club has been featured on Spectrum News TV, Vine Pair, The Kelly Clarkson Show and is a graduate of the USC Bridges to Business Success Program.
Julia Coney is a Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas-based wine writer, wine educator, speaker, and consultant. Her wine writing includes stories on wine, winemakers, and the intersection of race, wine, and language. She holds a WSET Level Two Certification in Wine and Spirits and is currently pursuing her Master Level Champagne Certification with the Wine Scholar Guild and WSET Level Three Certification.
Julia is the recipient of Wine Enthusiast's 2020 Social Visionary Award Winner for her work in writing and speaking on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the wine industry.
Julia is the Founder of Black Wine Professionals, a resource for wine industry employers and gatekeepers, professionals, and the food and beverage community. Their goal is to lift up the multifaceted Black professionals in the world of wine.
Julia is a Contributing Editor for VinePair, the world’s largest online drinks platform. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, VinePair, Wine Enthusiast, Thrillist, The Tasting Panel, Plate Magazine, Forbes.com, WineEnthusiast.com, The Washington Post, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine Searcher, the Financial Times, JancisRobinson.com, Glamour, Essence, and numerous print and digital publications. Julia is a 2019 Fellow of the Professional Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood Napa Valley. Julia has spoken at conferences such as SommCon, Lift Collective, wine2wine, Assemblage Symposium, The Culinary Institute of America’s Summit for Sommeliers and Beverage Professionals, and Bâtonnage Forum. You can find her on all social media at @juliaconey and her website juliaconey.com.
She is a lifelong Francophile and hopes all her assignments involve French wine. You can find her on all social media at @juliaconey, her website juliaconey.com, and contemplating a love-hate relationship with Whole 30.
LaGina Lewis is co-owner of 2Top Foods. They mainly do holiday food boxes and cater small events. LaGina specializes, mainly, in southern style cuisine. The majority of people know her from her Mac and Cheese, but she fell in love with charcuterie.
She has lived in DC for 15 years and she loves to travel which definitely helped broaden her food horizon. She started cooking young with her grandmother and has never stopped. She has been in the restaurant industry since 2008 and has held every FOH position from front desk/busser to management. Along with her co-owner Tucker, they started 2 Top Foods to help bring people together over a good meal."We believe it’s important to remember the simple joy food can bring."
Krystal Mack is an Interdisciplinary Artist based in Baltimore, Maryland. She approaches comestibles, their creation, and experiences centered on them, as tools for social change. She was named a “Woman To Watch” by the Baltimore Sun, and was featured on the Cherry Bombe 100 Women In Food list by Cherry Bombe Magazine as a food industry “Change Agent”. In 2018 Krystal founded In Absence Of Design (IAO for short). IAO is a studio that views food from the perspective of social design through comestible research, presentation, and literary publications. Since its conception, IAO design studio has created art installations and curated public events for museums such as the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Walters Art Museum. Krystal’s limited-run publication How To Take Care was a collaborative recipes and rituals project that has raised over $10,000 in 30 days for organizations around the world supporting Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence victims during COVID-19. In April
2021 Krystal will release the first volume of PalatePALETTE, a newsprint project published by Homie House Press that examines Baltimoreans’ varied relationships to food at the intersection of art and social design.
Before moving to Bay area, and joining the team at Limewood Bar and Restaurant at the Fairmont Claremont Club and Spa Hotel in Berkeley, Chef Joseph L.Paire III spent time in Atlanta at The Southern Gentleman and he served as Executive Chef of Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington, D.C.. Prior to that the Johnson & Wales University graduate compiled over a decade of solid experience from D.C.’s burgeoning food scene where he helped open some of D.C.’s long standing restaurants. Joseph credits his training under notable chefs Robert Wiedmaier and Todd Gray, Barton Seaver, Christopher Lee and Robert Gadsby with helping him raise the bar of his Culinary predigree which guided him to Great reviews from The Washington Post.
The allure of creative autonomy is what drives him in his role as Executive Chef. By contributing a playful yet thought provoking perspective to food, he relishes in the opportunity to not only enrich the guest experience with the menu, but to also create dialogue and elevate the team around him. When it comes to food he doesn't want to reinvent the wheel, he simply wants to change the narrative. “I’m definitely looking forward to taking advantage of the great products that the Bay and California has to Offer “
Being from New Orleans everyone in her family could cook, but no one could bake. In order for her to make it in this industry and be the best, she knew she had to start young. Cassidy landed her first bakery job at fourteen and that was just the beginning. From then on, she made it her goal to learn and become better than the baker she was the day before. Food is medicine that heals the soul and a culture that brings people together and that's something magical to be a part of.
She worked her way through New Orleans restaurants, and her hunger for pastry led her to apply for the MINO scholarship in 2017. This brought her to New York. She moved to Brooklyn in 2019 where she currently resides. "The people and challenges here gave me the courage to fully emerge in my own business. I plan on being successful at the age 25; owning my own farm to table bake shop Bumble Bees Pastrys."
Thank you to all who contributed to this event! We appreciate your support. The wines featured for this event come from the distributors below! These wines will be shipped through Seelbach's!
There are currently two types of tickets:
FUBU - BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Community Priority (special link access)
All Access Tickets