A Virtual Culinary Conversation on Giving Tuesday

December 1, 2020 · 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Join ESYNYC for a virtual culinary conversation with author, chef, and restaurateur Alexander Smalls, chef and Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi and ESYNYC educator Leonisa Johnson, moderated by author and advisor, Anjali Kumar. They will explore how they came to the restaurant industry, their influences and culinary inspiration, the contributions of African American and Black American chefs to American culinary culture, food justice, and what it means to be involved in your local community!

The first 50 tickets will be entered into our raffle for a chance to win a dozen fresh eggs from PS 216 in Brooklyn (NYC based winners only), a signed copy of Alexander Smalls’ newest book, Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen, Kwame Onwuachi’s book, Notes from a Young Black Chef: a Memoir, and a W&P Porter Utensil kit!

There will also be a live Question and Answer session with the audience.

Ticket levels

Raffle Ticket – $5

A chance to win a dozen fresh eggs from PS 216 in Brooklyn (NYC residents only), a signed copy of Alexander Smalls’ newest book, Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen, Kwame Onwuachi’s book, Notes from a Young Black Chef: a Memoir  and a W&P Porter Utensil kit.

We will have five winners!


Sprig Ticket – $25

General Admission to our virtual culinary conversation on Zoom

Sapling Package – $50

General Admission to our virtual culinary conversation on Zoom, five raffle tickets, ESYNYC’s digital cookbook, and a W&P Porter Utensil set. Limited quantity available.


Get Tickets here


All proceeds from ticket sales support Edible Schoolyard NYC.

Meet Our Panelists

Alexander Smalls

is an iconic figure in American cooking and a James Beard Award winning author/chef/ restaurateur. He has owned multiple celebrated Harlem eateries including the re-opened Minton’s Playhouse, The Cecil—which was Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant in America” in 2014—and the acclaimed Café Beulah which was the first fine dining African American restaurant in NYC. Smalls was named one of Zagat’s NYC Restaurant Power Players. He is the author of 3 critically acclaimed cookbooks, and his most recent book, Meals, Music, and Muses, was named one of the Top 5 Lifestyle Books 2020 by Publisher’s Weekly. Smalls is a world-renowned opera singer and the winner of a Grammy and a Tony Award.

Kwame Onwuachi

is a James Beard Award-winning Chef, and author of “Notes from a Young Black Chef,” published by Alfred A. Knopf. He was born on Long Island and raised in New York City, Nigeria, and Louisiana. Onwuachi was first exposed to cooking by his mother, in the family’s modest Bronx apartment, and he took that spark of passion and turned it into a career. From toiling in the bowels of oil cleanup ships to working at some of the best restaurants in the world, he has seen and lived his fair share of diversity. Onwuachi trained at the Culinary Institute of America and has opened five restaurants before turning thirty; including the groundbreaking Afro-Caribbean restaurant, Kith/Kin. A former Top Chef contestant, he has been named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs, Esquire Magazine’s 2019 Chef of the Year, and a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes.

Leonisa Johnson

joined the Edible Schoolyard NYC team after spending several years working to bring edible education to local New York City after-school programs. With nearly a decade of experience designing, teaching and managing youth centered food education programs, Leonisa is passionate about providing young people and other educators with opportunities to expand their knowledge of the interconnectedness between food, culture, history and education.  A native New Yorker, Leonisa has always enjoyed cooking, discovering new restaurants and spending time around the table with friends and family.

Meet Our Moderator

Anjali Kumar

works with entrepreneurs and C-level executives in all stages of business, focusing on early-stage tech, consumer products, and luxury fashion companies with a social conscience. She recently founded an advisory firm focusing on legal counsel and business strategy for entrepreneurs, executives, talent, and brands. Prior to that, Anjali was the Founding Chief People Officer and General Counsel at Cheddar, the Founding Head of Social Innovation and Founding General Counsel at Warby Parker, Founding General Counsel at Acumen, and Senior Counsel at Google. Anjali’s 2017 TED Talk based on her book Stalking God: My Unorthodox Search For Something To Believe In (Hachette 2018), has been watched by over 4 million people around the world and translated into over twenty languages. Anjali lives in New York City and upstate New York with her husband and daughter.

Edible Schoolyard NYC partners with NYC public schools to cultivate healthy students and communities, transforming children's relationship with food.