11 Feb 2022

From Book to Table: Restaurant Associates Bring Familiar Dish to Live HBS Event


by Hensley Carrasco

Sweet Home Café Cookbook
Photo courtesy Hensley Carrasco

The Sweet Home Café has been a must-try destination at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., since its opening in 2016. Its popularity spurred the creation of the eponymous cookbook by Restaurant Associates (RA) Chefs Albert Lukas and Jerome Grant, along with journalist Jessica B. Harris.

Much like the rich history the museum showcases and commemorates, the Sweet Home Café Cookbook also celebrates African American cooking with recipes and dishes inspired by African American culture. Yesterday, using the cookbook’s shrimp and grits recipe, RA employees at Harvard Business School (HBS) took the School’s menu from the East Coast to the Creole Coast—one of the four U.S. areas the book focuses on, for a Chef’s Table celebration of Black History Month.

“We’ve made this dish before and it’s very popular and recognizable to the community,” said Todd Young, RA sous chef.

Shrimp & grits dish from the Sweet Home Café Cookbook
Photo courtesy Hensley Carrasco

While the Chef’s Table was a celebratory event, it’s not the only time RA has used the cookbook to acknowledge African American culture. Young says that the Sweet Home Café Cookbook is a frequently-used resource for new recipe offerings.

RA's Alberto Sepulveda at the shrimp and grits Chef's Table
Photo courtesy Hensley Carrasco

Throughout the year, RA recognizes different cultures through their entrees and other menu items. It’s no surprise that a group of diverse chefs make up the RA team that creates the meals powering and nourishing the HBS community. “It’s a good way to do something different and people enjoy these unique pop-up meals,” Young said.

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