I Know You Got Soul!

From Africa to Acapulco

Phil Jones

It’s pretty simple to me.  Black folks eat, so Black folks cook.  I mean a lot of stuff, too.  Much more than just Soul Food, and we have been doing so forever!  It was in the exquisite work by Jessica B. Harris, “High on the Hog,” that I found a rich culinary history laid bare before me in inspiring terms that have ultimately led me to a new work.

Shouni 1
Chef Phil Jones

I came to see that the same diasporic event that expedited the spread of food from Africa has also clouded its continuing and significant contribution to the world’s cuisine, including ingredients and techniques.  History is truly written, or not written, by the victors.

Black folks have seen our food offerings and origins marginalized, and it is this reality that has lead me to explore African food as it has moved West through Spain, Latin America, the Caribbean and Mexico.  I am calling this journey, Nuevo Soul, for the obvious and the “not so” obvious underlying connectivity in history and this currently tense racial soup in a world that devalues both Black and Brown.


This is truly a celebratory culinary experience, but it’s also an educational one for myself and anyone who dares to join me.  It will include unique engagements around food, as we look at colonization, gentrification, opportunity and race as sometimes overwhelming influences in the history and future of the food rising out of the lives of people of color.

Some of this project will include the documentation of historic recipes and techniques, but there will also be the creative, fanciful and forward-thinking.  Look for accessible fusions side by side with challenging interpretations that will bring added depth to this work, which will feature advocacy for change in the food system at the heart of these activities.

Collards with Ham Hocks

I look to support not only the cuisine, but the people behind the cuisine, the chefs, the farmers, the families and the future that lies in the next generations of food producers.  This is a move to uplift not only my work, but the work of others who add to the richness of our food worlds.

We need more young Black and Brown kids feeding our communities, as it is only then that true food sovereignty can be achieved.  It is only then that the fruits of our labor can truly be harvested and used to nurture our families, our communities and our world.

It is the only way forward to justice.


We cannot look for more hourly pay.  We cannot look for better jobs.  We have to take our place in the food system firmly entrenched in management, and more importantly, in ownership.  We need chefs of color.  We need more women leading kitchens.

We need more diversity in the food system, and not just because it makes for more delicious food.  We need more diversity in the food system, because it is the best thing to do.  Best practices say that biodiversity supports sustainability.

If we want the food system to continue to move forward, we must make sure it moves forward for all.  This is why Nuevo Soul has emerged as a tool for change.  Join us as we look to move food forward by looking back.  Sunday August 20, 2017, we will be celebrating this movement with “Chef Phil & His Nuevo Soul Revue” at Brother Nature Produce in Corktown, at 2913 Rose Parks.

Tickets and details are available at Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chef-phil-his-nuevo-soul-revue-tickets-36492615395

We look forward to seeing you there!