(Cover Picture of Chef Rashida Holmes)
Middleburg, VA – Last weekend, Sheila Johnson’s Salamander Hotels & Resort and Chef Kwame Onwuachi joined forces with FOOD & WINE to host the first-of-its-kind experience to celebrate diversity in hospitality. The three-day event took place at the flagship Salamander Hotel & Resort in Middleburg, Virginia. If you have not been – consider going to this is five-star resort, which is nestled in the heart of Virginia’s wine country and just one hour outside of DC. The event brought out the leaders in the hospitality community including Carla Hall, Rodney Scott, Padma Lakshmi, Gregory Gourdet, Mashama Bailey, Andre Fowles, Pierre Thiam, and a host of other notable names. The interactive event provided guests opportunities to mingle with the world-class chefs and sommeliers, and industry leaders through cooking classes, demonstrations, wine tastings, dinners, and panel discussions. Throughout the weekend, speakers, chefs, and sommeliers delved closely into the Black cooking traditions that have profoundly shaped cuisine in America, shared lessons from the past, and focused on building a better and more inclusive future. Virginia Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Rémy Martin, while Dave Chappelle and Estelle also made special appearances.
The event organizers limited the number of event attendees to create better opportunities for social distancing and to execute appropriate safety protocols. Strict COVID safety protocols were all in place and most of the festivities were held predominantly outdoors on Salamander Resort’s 340 sprawling acreages. At the event, attendees had a chance to participate in several recreational activities like ziplining, ax throwing, and horseback riding – led by celebrity participants.
The Family Reunion benefited Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and created a mentorship and scholarship program to foster diversity in the hospitality industry. Some of the event sponsors included Rémy Martin, Lexus, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Brett Johnson Collection, United Airlines, Sheila Johnson Collection, Williams-Sonoma, Visit Loudoun, Resy and American Express, the Town of Middleburg, McBride Sisters Collection, and McEnearney Associates. For additional information about the event and visit www.SalamanderHotels.com.