Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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NU Dining’s annual Black History Month Celebratory Dinner brings Black American recipes, music to dining halls

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Joyce Li/The Daily Northwestern
Guest chef Jerl Griffin prepared affogatos with BLK & Bold espresso.

Students enjoyed a variety of dishes originating from Black American culture at Northwestern Dining’s Black History Month Celebratory Dinner Wednesday evening in Sargent Dining Hall.

Recipes including hickory smoked pork shoulder, high mesa peach and blackberry cobbler, rice with pigeon peas, and ginger and brown sugar candied sweet potatoes were served in all NU dining halls. Dessert stations featured baked goods from Caribbean American Bakery on Howard Street, including bulla, gingerbread and caramel cake.  

While special recipes were served across dining halls, Sargent Hall had several additional offerings, including music from Chicago-based DJ Corey Bless, a station takeover by local Black-owned restaurant Soul & Smoke and a BLK & Bold affogato station manned by guest chef Jerl Griffin.

Griffin, a regional executive chef at Thompson Hospitality, was hired for the event last year. He said he was excited to reconnect with NU students Wednesday. 

“I hope they really can capture a connection to African American food, and really get any questions that they have answered,” he said. “It’s just about drawing connections to different foods and different ethnicities and spices and textures and flavors.”

The event spotlighted dishes from the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s “Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook,” which features Black American recipes from across the country. Attendees could scan a QR code for a chance to win a copy of the cookbook.

The annual event was hosted by Compass Group, NU’s food service partner, in collaboration with NU Student Affairs and Thompson Hospitality, the largest minority-owned food and facilities management company in the U.S..

“We strive for our students to partake in an authentic dining experience that immerses them in a cultural celebration while building community with their peers,” Compass spokesperson Sophia Bamiatzis told The Daily in a statement. 

While she liked the food, Weinberg freshman Mercy Muiruri said she wished the event had been better marketed.

“If I hadn’t been in Sargent, I probably wouldn’t have known,” Muiruri said. “If they would have made it known that this is happening…then we’d all come. ”

Weinberg freshman Valary Anguzuzu said she saw room for improvement in the variety of food offered. Anguzuzu said when she thinks of Black History Month, she thinks there is room for the inclusion and celebration of all African cultures.

“That would be really amazing if they could include more African dishes,” she said.

Nevertheless, Anguzuzu said she enjoyed the event. 

“The music is just top notch — like, oh my god, I love it,” she said. “Kudos to whoever organized this — it’s amazing.” 

Email: [email protected] 

X: @joyycee_li

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