OVERTOWN (CBSMiami) – There’s a lot to crow about this month at Red Rooster Overtown.
Executive Chef Tristan Epps has curated a thoughtful selection of weekly culinary specials in celebration of Black History Month.
Throughout this month the restaurant is exploring the diaspora of Africa’s culinary influences on the Americas.
“Since coming to Miami, we’ve had this great theme of really celebrating the transatlantic slave trade or the African diaspora and how it really transpired here in America,” said Epps. “The path that it took really affects the food that we eat now.”
Each week this month, Chef Epps, who hails from Trinidad, features a weeklong menu that recreates the culinary traditions of Africa, then the Caribbean, then the Cajun country and Creole, ending on the South Carolina-Georgia low country.
“Without African cuisine there would’ve been no Caribbean cuisine which would’ve then also not had cuisine of the south of what we eat now. We really wanted to show that path and that journey,” said Epps.
Chef Epps prepares an appetizer for week two, which is food from the Caribbean. It’s Old World curry potato croquettes and stewed oxtail with chana. It’s cooked for hours and seasoned well.
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“Food at this time period was basically out of necessity. There was no filet mignon, there was no ribeye steaks. There were these cheaper cuts of meat,” he explained.
He also prepares a classic Afro-Caribbean, “go-to” dish: dry-salted cod that’s rehydrated and poached and cooked with vegetables. The dish is plated with puffy dream balls known as bakes, which are deep fried to a golden brown and topped with avocado and watercress.
With such distinct flavors, CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo and Chef Epps discussed what it all means.
“It all ends up tying together you know. It all becomes our history. While it is Black History Month, it truly is the history of our food of America,” he said.
“It’s a delicacy,” said Petrillo, after tasting the salted cod, while admitting this is such an education as well.
Something Chef Epps hopes all customers will get when they come in this month.
“African-American food and Black food comes from a lot of different places. It’s not just fried chicken and it’s not just mac and cheese. While those are really important parts of the history, it goes so far back,” he said. “This might be something new to you, but this Black history and I want to show a different part of that.”
The celebration of Black History Month is at Red Rooster through the end of the month for dinner only. For more info, go to www.redroosterovertown.com.