"The fact that there aren't as many black men or women running kitchens in America is in itself a systemic problem. There are tons of people of color when you go into any kind of culinary program—and in the mid-level kitchens, there's tons of diversity in those kitchens. But as soon as you cross the threshold into higher echelon kitchens, then you start to thin out because there isn't any capital backing these talented folks." —Mashama Bailey
This week, we're excited to welcome Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano to Salt + Spine, the podcast on stories behind cookbooks.
Mashama is the executive chef and partner of The Grey, which she runs with her business partner, John O. Morisano. The Savannah, Georgia restaurant is set inside a once-segregated, former Greyhound bus station and has been dubbed Restaurant of the Year by Eater and named one of TIME magazine’s "greatest places." The Grey serves up Mashama’s menu, which draws influences from all over and in particular the South, Italy, and Africa. In 2019, the James Beard Foundation awarded Mashama its Best Chef: Southeast award. Together, Mashama and John built The Grey — and now, they’re taking a unique approach with their memoir-cookbook by telling the story together, too.
Their book — titled Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant — chronicles how the pair came together, relocated to Savannah, and opened a celebrated restaurant. But it’s more than the story of The Grey — it’s also a conversation about race, class, gender, and American culture. And interlaced throughout are recipes to accompany the chapters.
Mashama and John joined us remotely in our virtual studio for this week’s show.