Earlier this year, three all-star chefs - known as the 3 Black Chefs - teamed up to offer pop-up dinners to those facing food insecurity in their neighborhood of Sacramento. The brainchild of chef trio Berry Accius, Mike Harris and Willis Webster, 3 Black Chefs launched The Project: Feeding Our Beloved Community, offering low-cost, to-go soul food to families at the Pannell Meadowview Community center.
Funded by their own money and donations from the community, the chefs made dinners that went beyond what families might get at a school meal site or soup kitchens, bringing the community hope during tumultuous and uncertain times.
We got to talk to Chef Berry about what inspired 3 Black Chefs and to learn more about the incredible work they are doing in their community.
Q: Chef Berry, could you tell us a bit more about yourself, Chef Mike and Chef Willis?
A: Absolutely! I am a local community activist, business owner, chef and founder of Seriously Delicious Eats, which serves Caribbean style cuisine. Willis cooks up gumbo and crawfish boils with Cajun-inspired NOLA Catering. Mike is a chef for a community organization and he specializes in fusing his Southern and Chicago roots with California cuisine. We met at a Black History Month event in February. After that we hosted a couple of community events and had been planning to host another community-focused cookout before the coronavirus pandemic caused a moratorium on sit-down dining throughout California.
Q: What inspired you to launch The Project: Feeding Our Beloved Community?
A: When we first started, we were funding The Project out of pocket and thought it would only last a month due to budget constraints. However, the community stepped up and donations started to roll in right after the media got a hold of what we were doing. Our community showed so much love through financial support that we were able to continue for several months and fed roughly 20,000 take out dinners!
The dining experience means a lot and we put so much love and passion into every meal. We really felt that in times like this we shouldn’t normalize that you just get what you get because it’s free. We wanted people to know we cared, we wanted people to smile and most importantly - we wanted them to have fun when they came to us. We believe we accomplished that mission and that is a truly wonderful feeling.
Q: What was the best part of your experience with 3 Black Chefs?
A: On days that we would serve the community we would have a DJ playing music as the people stood in lines. We wanted to create a lively environment because it was such a somber time. A lot of people had never stood in line and waited for food. The people showed up from all different walks of life and income brackets. Again the energy was low…we were in the middle of a pandemic. So we had music and we would in a ‘social distancing way’ dance with the people in line. We loved watching the kids and the elderly smile and for one moment there was joy. We got to experience these moments two days a week for months. It brought us all peace.
Q: We are so excited to be able to support the incredible work you are doing! How will you be using sous vide in the future to help members of the community?
A: I am looking forward to using sous vide in both my personal kitchen and professional. Since I wear multiple hats I am constantly on the go, and find myself rushing home to whip up a meal. Some days it can just be exhausting. However, sous vide will change that dynamic for me. I'll be able to come home to precisely cooked food.
I also plan on opening a new restaurant, Seriously Delicious Eats, within the next year and will be utilizing sous vide to meal prep and cook in bulk. 3 Black Chefs also has several community events coming up and we are planning on incorporating the sous vide in our meal prep. We can't wait to make it a part of our process."
Q: Any final words?
A: Thank you to everyone for supporting, donating and helping us on this mission of love. The world needs more positivity and we want to encourage everyone around the world to be a good neighbor! I have also started a campaign called Trap The Vote, which is geared towards increasing the Black and Brown youth and young adult vote, promoting civic engagement, and connecting political allies. I'm working closely with 3 Black Chefs to host voting pre-election block parties in our local communities. If you want to get involved with Trap the Vote, check out our Facebook page and our Instagram.
Anova proudly supports the work of 3 Black Chefs through equipment donations