season two: the black kitchen series: innovators – presented by heinz

after a shockingly successful season 1, we got the time and the room to make a big, bad, beautiful season 2.
season one was good! but season two is really good. we worked with a seasoned podcast showrunner to help us bring the vision to life, and it truly made all the difference. for the second time, we made something that we love and are so deeply proud of. this is the best thing i’ve ever been a part of.
season 2 brings our host and audience all over the country to find, meet, commune with and learn from the Black innovators changing the face of food as we know it. we interview chefs, farmers, healers, artists and organizers, from New York to South Carolina to Georgia to Texas to California, getting to know the ways they’re transforming our collective relationship to food, community, environment and each other.

my partner on this season, kiana fernandez, designed the cover art for the season and for each episode.

we wanted to broaden the scope of the podcast to be about black culinary innovation across the country, a topic that’s so seldom brought to the top of american pop culinary consciousness.

the showrunner, D.S. Moss, and I collaborated closely to structure the season, write, and craft the episodes. a labor of love and absolutely some of my best writing.
episode 1: the delta dirt distillery

This is the story of the Williams family and their business, Delta Dirt Distillery, in Helena, Arkansas, the only Black farm-to-bottle distiller in the country, and the only ones turning sweet potatoes into spirits.

episode 2: community through foodtok

KJ Kearney is the charismatic, community-oriented influencer driven by the love of his people. He may be behind the James Beard nominated @BlackFoodFridays TikTok and Instagram accounts, but what drives him goes much deeper than what you can find on the internet. Jade spends the day with him in Charleston and Savannah, and chats with him to find out how (and why) he’s making sense of social in this day and age.

episode 2.5: The Red Rice Day Proclamation

episode 3: the renaissance of ancient grains

In our next stops on this road trip, we go straight to the heart of the Lowcountry to learn about two ancient and storied grains making big waves today: fonio and Carolina Gold rice. At James Island, our host Jade (@JadeofallJades) chats with matriarch in the making, Amethyst Ganaway (@thizzg) of Yolélé, about the so-called seed of the universe, before heading further south to Hardeeville, where she meets with master rice grower, Rollen Chalmers of Rollen’s Raw Grains (@RollensRawGrains). We may be far from home now, but Jade finds herself closer to her roots than ever before…

episode 3.5: a walk through turnbridge

episode 4: the veganization of soul food

Jade’s (@Jadeofalljades) journey through the South has so far brought her closer to community, closer to family, and now…closer to body? In this episode, vegan chefs Folami Geter of A Peace of Soul Vegan Kitchen in Columbia, SC, and Marlon Rison of Community Vegan in Austin, TX, share how they came to the plant-based lifestyle, what’s keeping them there, and how it connects us to each other and our history in unexpected ways.

episode 4.5: shopping for shrooms

episode 5: the healing power of food

We all know that food is more than food. It’s medicine – for the body, the soul, the heart…and for the community? The future? The wounds of the past? Host Jade Varette (@JadeofallJades) chases some sunshine in California and meets with two women harnessing the healing power of food in transformative ways: Kelly Carlisle – founder and Executive Director of Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project out of Oakland – who is rewriting the narrative around the youth of her community, and chef/artist/Black Food Futurist Nia Lee, who is creating radical sites of healing and joy for Black queer femmes.

episode 5.5: “tell michelle i didn’t mean it”

episode 6: On Writing Black Food

At the end of the journey, back in Brooklyn, and putting all the pieces together. Season 2 host Jade Verette (@JadeofallJades) sits down with Black food historian, Soul Food Scholar, and host of Season 1, Adrian Miller, to make sense of all that she’s encountered over the course of her travels, and why Black food writing lies at the center of it all. Jade also sits down with Chala June to discuss why Black food writing is an act of resistance as much as it is an expression of love.

episode 6.5

in addition to some audio promo, we also made some mini-docs that looked so damn good they had people asking us for full-length episodes. one day soon!

*because of some logistics, we couldn’t send the whole crew to capture episode 3, so i got to direct it!*

and i got to document the whole 4 week production! 

memphis, tn - helena, ar - charleston, sc > columbia, sc - savannah, ga - austin, tx - back to charleston - hardeeville, sc - los angeles, ca - oakland, ca - brooklyn, ny

the magic of this season is really all about the magic of the crew! 

and if you’re wondering, the real center of gravity for this season and the production was our fabulous host, jade varette. jade is so good at what she does (and we’ve got the hardware to prove it). have you ever heard of 11 interviews in a row, no bombs in the bunch? that’s because of jade! she is magic. she makes everyone feel like family. i adore her, obviously. we all do.

signal award for best writing (silver - craft)
signal award for best host (silver - craft)
signal award for DE&I (bronze - general)
signal listeners’ choice award (3x)

Adweek Audio Awards – Best Branded Podcast
made at: wieden+kennedy ny,
where I concepted, wrote copy, and scripted this podcast
with art director: kiana fernandez,
CDs: Christine Santora & Will Binder,
producer: Zaynah Ahmed,
in close collaboration with the fine folks at: the mayda creative co.
including showrunner/director/writer: D.S. Moss,
sound design/mix/editor by: Florence Barrau-Adams
casting director: kenya denise
mayda producer: Emerald Toller
sound engineering: Aman Sahota
and music by: Taka Yasuzaw

video production was a separate beast,
all trailers (minus episode three) were directed by: D.S. Moss,
edited by: Sewra Kidane
DP’d by: Brandon Haynes,
with AC from: Luis Romero
produced expertly by (seriously, she didn’t miss a beat) by: Danika Casas,
and coloring by: Mary Perrino

episode three was
directed by: me!
DP’d by: Domo Jones
edited by: Matt Burke,
with an assist from: Eddy Rigaud
produced by: Jihye Ku + Kareem Adeniran
and post production by: Maliyamungu Muhande

the full list of credits can be found here
it took all of us + more to make this :)