The Recipe For Resilience
Seattle Chef uses food to facilitate togetherness, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Chardonnay Beaver
n 1993, if one stood on the corner of 23rd & Union, and rotated their body in a gradual 360 degree motion, they would see establishments like Thompson’s Point of View, Miss Helen’s Kitchen, Earl’s Cuts & Style, and several other Black-owned businesses. Today, one can stand on the corner of 23rd & Union, and rotate their body in a gradual 360 degree motion, to witness the resilience of establishments like Earl’s Cuts & Styles and Chef Kristi Brown’s COMMUNION. Black-owned businesses aim to flourish through the weeds of gentrification, embodying Black excellence.
However, March 2021 marks a year since the coronavirus outbreak led to mandated isolation and social distancing orders. During these confining times food has served as comfort, yet Black-owned restaurants across the country struggle to make ends meet. Amidst such devastation, in 2020 COMMUNION Restaurant & Bar (R&B) opened on the corner of 24th & Union. I recently spoke with Chef Kristi to discuss how COMMUNION managed to be resilient throughout this pandemic.
Chef Kristi Brown, and fellow owner Damon Bomar, were clear about their why. “We’re doing this for Black people” because “when [Black people] do what we do, in our originality, then everybody comes after it”. COMMUNION R&B showcases Chef Kristi's ability to amplify her worldview through her recipes using ingredients prominent in soul food. However, what I admire most is her recipe for resilience.
A massive line of customers wrapped around the corner of 23rd & E Union the day of COMMUNION R&B soft-opening; simultaneously, Chef Kristi spoke on the phone with doctors regarding her brother's illness. Chef Kristi’s brother and brother-in-law―which she speculates was due to the coronavirus, in addition to his long-term health issues― passed away one month apart. Yet, against all odds, she serves the community by cultivating a space that fosters a sense of closeness during a time where isolation. Ironically, food and culture works to facilitate that process.
All in all, the ingredients to resilience requires a reliable support group, faith, and introspectivity. Chef Kristi reminds us that we should authentically “train ourselves to
acclimate to what the world is now”. So why not do that with a plate of delicious food?
Communion Restaurant & Bar
2350 E Union St Seattle, WA 98122
Wednesday - Saturday | 3:00pm - 8:30pm Sunday | 1:00pm - 5:30pm
CONTACT 206.391.8140 firstname.lastname@example.org