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Black Foodie puts a spotlight on the cuisine of Toronto's diaspora

Platform wants to shine a spotlight on various dishes from African and Caribbean communities

Black Foodie founder Eden Hagos shows off some of the food items from the African and Caribbean cuisine. Her platform is a celebration of food from those communities.

Liz Beddall/ Metro

Black Foodie founder Eden Hagos shows off some of the food items from the African and Caribbean cuisine. Her platform is a celebration of food from those communities.

A group of local foodies is trying to change how Toronto thinks about Black cuisine.

Black Foodie is an online platform celebrating the best African and Caribbean food in Toronto. In addition to showcasing different meals and restaurants, the site explores the cultural significance and history of various foods.

“What we’re doing is to spotlight the food that comes from Toronto’s diaspora,” said the site’s founder, Eden Hagos, who feels cuisine from Black cultures is often left out of the discussion about the city’s food scene.

“A lot of times people think it’s just food to put into a box and take out. That’s not entirely true,” she said. “Our food is awesome and it’s worth going out for it, it’s worth dressing up for it and it’s worth interviewing a chef behind it,” she said.

The platform has about 40 writers from all over the world, sharing recipes and contributing articles about what they’re cooking.

The group also hosts local food events, allowing foodies to experience cuisine from different cultures.

Cuisine is one way immigrants and the diaspora can maintain a connection with their roots, Hagos said, and she hopes the blog can help Black people rediscover – or simply rejoice in – their traditional dishes.

“Our food is not strange,” she said. “It’s just a matter of experimenting with it and helping people find where it is.”

Four upcoming events for foodies:

1. Patties vs. Doubles: Black Foodie is hosting a friendly face-off between Jamaican patties and Trinidadian doubles at Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant (596 Danforth Ave.) Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. An online poll and live vote will determine which street food staple is preferred by patrons.

2. Keep on truckin’: The Toronto Food Truck Festival is taking over Woodbine Park all weekend. The event features food, cold beer, live music and feats of food-related prowess. Things get underway starting at 5 p.m. Friday.

3. Stick to your ribs: Now in its 15th season, Scarborough Rib Fest is returning to Thompson Memorial Park this weekend, running Friday up to Monday from 11a.m. to 11p.m.

4. Be a jerk: The Grace Jerk Food Festival takes place at Centennial Park in Etobicoke Aug. 5 to 7. It’s a celebration of jerk cuisine, featuring everything from jerk frog legs, to jerk kangaroo and even jerk shark. There will also be plenty of Caribbean culture and music on display to help you cope with the spicy food.

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