Fabrice Armand

NEW YORK, NY – New York-based entrepreneur Fabrice Armand is a regular face at many of the Haitian community’s annual fundraisers, award ceremonies and galas. This summer however he’s taking a hiatus from the society scene to bring Creole cuisine, in all of its forms, to the public.

On June 9, Armand and co-founder Elkhair Balla, will host the first annual Creole Food Festival at the DL Rooftop Lounge. The food festival will feature Creole dishes from chefs around the world.

Creole food has many different variations, Armand said.

Fabrice Armand

“A ‘pelau’ from Trinidad, a ‘du riz colle’ from Haiti, a ‘thieboudienne’ from Senegal, a Cape Verdean ‘jagacida’ and an ‘arroz con pollo’ from Puerto-Rico, all incorporate different techniques in their execution,” he said, “but at the base is a cooking style blending culinary influences from France, Spain, Africa, Portugal, Haiti and indigenous populations like the Amerindians.”

There’ll be chefs representing Haiti, Senegal, Panama and Puerto Rico.

For Armand and Balla, the festival isn’t only about celebrating all forms of Creole cuisine, but also about highlighting black and brown chefs.

“Often, talented Black and Brown chefs are sometimes overlooked and not highlighted enough in mainstream culinary media,” Armand said. We want to “help Black and Brown chefs gain mainstream notoriety and feature them to a diverse public.”

Chef Sybille St. Aude

One of the participating chefs is Haitian American Chef Sybille St. Aude, who was featured on Food Network’s Chopped. St. Aude’s food translates the history and expressions of a culture into decadent recipes using a variety of techniques and ingredients from all over the world. 

St. Aude wants guests to experience a heightened sense of imagination after tasting her food.

“We already know food with traditional Creole roots is soulful, deep and timeless but I want people to begin adding descriptions like ‘whimsical, daring  and playful’ into how they interpret my renditions of modern Creole and Caribbean cuisine,” she said.

Other participating chefs include Chef Ejhadji Cisse of Senegal, Chef Gason Nelson from New Orleans, Chef Janelle Pitterson from Panama, and Chef Keilaliz Pizarro from Puerto Rico.

The next edition of the festival will take place in New Orleans on August 25.

For more information on the June 9 edition, click here

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