For chef Paola Velez, kitchens are spaces for endless exploration. Detailed historical research and precise culinary craft come together to centerthe flavors, foods, and experiences of the Black diaspora. Sustainability isn’t a buzzword, but is a substantive set of evolving practices and values. She builds teamwork and belonging, transforming the kitchen into its own “starter”: a living, flourishing unit that gives rise to fulfilling work and lives.
Paola Velez is the executive pastry chef at the Afro-Caribbean restaurant Kith/Kin, located at the Intercontinental in Washington D.C. You can follow her and her incredible creations @smallorchids on Instagram and Twitter.
Paola’s visit comes as part of our “Cooking Across the Black Diaspora” series, a themed line-up for Chewing the Fat. In collaboration with the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale, and the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration, the series commemorates Black History Month, and the 50th anniversary for both the Afro-American Cultural Center and Yale Department of African American Studies.
Chewing the Fat is a podcast from the Yale Sustainable Food Program. We cover people making change in the complex world of food and agriculture. We’re home to brilliant minds: activists, academics, chefs, entrepreneurs, farmers, journalists, policymakers, and scientists (to name a few!). Taken together, their work represents a reimagining of mainstream food movements, challenging myths and tropes as well as inspiring new ways of collaborating.
The podcast is an aural accompaniment to our on-campus Chewing the Fat speaker series, aiming to broaden our content beyond New Haven. Episodes are released every two weeks, featuring interviews, storytelling and more.
On the farm, in the classroom, and around the world, the Yale Sustainable Food Program (YSFP) grows food-literate leaders. We create opportunities for students to experience food, agriculture, and sustainability as integral parts of their education and everyday lives. For more information, please visit sustainablefood.yale.edu.