Black owned restaurants were among some of the hardest that were hit this past year due to the pandemic. Black restaurants in New York, for example, saw revenue decline as much as 80% since the start of the pandemic. While the tide has certainly turned, there’s still much support needed to help keep these businesses afloat.
To celebrate the rich history behind some of these restaurants, Pepsi has partnered with Marcus Samuelsson for a new mini-episodic docuseries called “You Have to Taste This.” The new online show is letting some rising Black chefs share their recipes for success, while also highlighting the diverse diaspora of Black cuisine in America. The series kicks off with four episodes starting in the South that will take viewers on a culinary journey by uncovering the stories behind the chefs and their unique travel-worthy dishes.
“It is long past time to recognize Black excellence in the culinary world. I’m thrilled to partner with Pepsi Dig In to highlight the cultural history and diverse deliciousness of so many incredible Black-owned restaurants,” said celebrated chef and author Marcus Samuelsson.
In each one-to-two-minute episode, Marcus will visit a new restaurant across the US, including his own, Red Rooster Overtown in Miami, to sit down with the respective chefs and owners to discuss everything from their own background and business upstart story to the cultural elements that define their cooking, tying it all together with the dish that makes their establishment worth the trip. Across the series, Marcus spotlights Washington D.C. staple, Ben’s Chili Bowl, a historic spot in Washington D.C., Dukunoo, a lively Jamaican restaurant in Miami’s Wynwood area and Pinky Cole’s Slutty Vegan.
“With this series for Pepsi Dig In, we wanted to bring Black-owned restaurants to the forefront by honing in on the unique stories behind the food they serve. Marcus’ expertise and experience made him the perfect host to bring these stories to light, and we’ve only just scratched the surface. We hope that viewers are inspired to visit these restaurants and discover their next favorite dish,” said Chauncey Hamlett, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of PepsiCo Beverages North America (South Division).
The Pepsi Dig In initiative aims to generate at least $100 million in sales for Black-owned restaurants over the next five years. The Dig In platform also serves as an invitation for Black restaurateurs to tap into a variety of resources available from PepsiCo including business services, training, and mentorship.
Episodes of “You Have to Taste This” will be live weekly starting August 18th across the Pepsi Dig In social platforms via @PepsiDigIn and featured on Marcus Samuelsson’s YouTube channel.