Minority Chef Summit

(Photo by Matt Karp) This year marks the first year of the multi-day Minority Chef Summit in Nassau, Bahamas. The event was founded by Erika Davis, the former creative director of Graycliff Chocolatier in Nassau, and benefits the College of the Bahamas. The three-day summit offers panels, cooking demos, and seminars with top chefs from around the U.S.

Davis, whom you may recognize from "Top Chef Just Desserts," chose Nassau as the destination of the summit after living there and working closely with the culinary students at the College of the Bahamas. Recognizing the need to support those students, as well as minority chefs of the Bahamas and beyond, Davis says, “This is a unique opportunity to come together, recognizing not only our individual craft, but the true excellence of our culinary community."

The event kicks off with breakfast and a speech from keynote speaker Jeff Henderson. Davis says, "Jeff believes in people who need a second chance at making a better life as he himself was given a second chance via the culinary world. Year after year, he works tirelessly, inspiring young culinarians who also need a second chance."

Henderson discovered his love for cooking while incarcerated and followed his passion to great success, becoming the first African-American executive chef first at Caesar's Palace, then at Cafe Bellagio. Henderson also wrote the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Cooked: My Journey from the Streets to the Stove," and starred in "The Chef Jeff Project" on Food Network and "Family Style with Chef Jeff."

The summit also includes a three-day culinary marketplace that showcases Bahamian- and U.S.-based vendors, a performance by Bahamian street parade band, mixology how-tos, a hands-on pastry-making class, wine-and-cheese pairings, and a chef competition where chefs are challenged to create a four-course dinner in an hour from limited ingredients.

The Minority Chef Summit also provides food for thought, with panels and seminars discussing topics such as ethnic cuisines, how to connect with local farmers, and the history of Gullah cuisine.

The Minority Chef Summit runs from May 1 – May 4, and tickets are $299 or $99 for students. Click here to learn more about the summit and how to purchase tickets.