Picán Celebrates Black History Month

The Uptown restaurant is serving historically inspired special dishes throughout February.


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Executive chef Jerome "Spike" Williams

Image courtesy of Picán

February is Black History Month, and Picán's executive chef Jerome "Spike" Williams has created a series of $22 a la carte dinner specials to celebrate. 

"I have composed a menu featuring dishes spanning the Black culinary traditions, ingredients, and flavors from Africa to North America over a period of nearly four centuries," says the Brooklyn-born chef, whose past gigs include a stint at Oakland's FuseBox. 

Perfectly complementing the Uptown restaurant's popular Southern-inspired fare, these dishes "are inspired and celebrate the potjie-style preparation of the African windward coast, its move to the Americas and eventual place as a vessel serving as the early soul of the kitchens of the plantation South."

Pronounced "potchee," a potjie is a South African one-pot meal traditionally prepared in a cast-iron cauldron; ingredients are not to be stirred after being placed in the pot. 

"We then trace the impact of the Black experience on southern foodways and the migration north -- then, lastly, the fusion of north and south coming together," Williams explained. 

Feb. 1 - 7 is "Taste of Africa" week; its dinner specials include braised oxtail potjie and spicy curried chicken potjie. 

Feb. 8 - 14 is "Taste of the South" week, with smoked ham hocks and Southern-style chicken-fried steak.

Feb. 15 - 21 brings "Taste of the South Goes North," with barbecued brisket meatloaf and braised smoked neckbones.

Feb. 22 - 28 completes the month with "Tastes of the North & South Come Together," featuring vinegar-braised shortribs and fried catfish. 

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