Black chefs and culinary professionals have contributed a lot to the foundation of Southern cuisine, specifically barbecue. This week, charcoal brand Kingsford unveiled their new fellowship aimed toward helping craft the next generation of Black BBQ food entrepreneurs.
The ‘Preserve The Pit’ fellowship offers a chance to mentor aspiring professionals looking to make their career cooking BBQ food from helping them develop their business to providing resources to execute their plan with the help of established entrepreneurs.
“The mentor network is the cornerstone of the program because the relationships that will be fostered between the mentors and the fellows will be instrumental to their future success,” said Shaunte Mears-Watkins in an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE via email. “The mentors participating in the program are all committed to the mission of Preserve the Pit, as well as the time investment needed for a successful mentor relationship.”
Applicants will be able to be matched with mentors to help guide them through their journey who include Kevin Bludso of Bludso’s BBQ, Rashad Jones of Big Lee’s Food Truck, Amy Mills of 17th Street Barbecue, educator Dr. Howard Conyers, executive director of FoodLab Devita Davison, and award-winning pitmaster Bryan Furman.
“I decided to become a mentor to help others that look like me who are trying to do what I did,” said Bludso to BLACK ENTERPRISE. “Hopefully I can provide advice so that they won’t have to go through some of the same hardships I did, but at the end of the day building a brand is hard work—not everyone is built for it.”
“The history of barbecue has never been told well. There are many Black people who broke their backs starting what we know as barbecue in America,” said Jones to BLACK ENTERPRISE. “Most of their names will probably never be known. I want to be a part of helping to build and craft that story that needs to be told and to help future generations of barbecue chefs, cooks, and future pitmasters. I am excited to share my knowledge with the next generation of barbecue entrepreneurs.”
Applicants can apply now through March 1, 2021, with participants being announced on April 1, 2021.
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