SUSTENANCE. Food is an incredibly significant part of Black communities. Heritage, traditions, and memories are preserved through dishes and recipes passed on through history within communities and families. Food brings people together.
As part of the OBSIDIAN experience, Amber Mayfield, the founder, and editor-in-chief of the Black-owned food and home magazine While Entertaining, will chat with chefs and food professionals from across the country to explore the role of food in their homes. This week, Amber chats with chefs Omar Tate and Cybille St. Aude-Tate of Honeysuckle Provisions to discuss the role of food in their home and the work they’re doing to make nutritious food options accessible for Black families in West Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: Mx. Felicita Felli Maynard
Q. As chefs, food is what brought you two together. Now you’re working together to bring a food-focused community center to West Philadelphia. What is your motivation for this project?
A. Our main motivation is certainly the neighborhoods we come from. Our family members, friends, and the community as a whole deserve this concept. They deserve fresh food, better options, and the resources that come along with it! We can’t expect people to change their relationships to food without having access to great food in the first place.
Q. When thinking about the role of food in our homes, what role do you want Honeysuckle to play for Black families in West Philadelphia (and beyond)?
A. We see Honeysuckle as playing a few roles. We want it to be a landmark of change for determining our own health outcomes through food. We want it to be a reclamation of past food ways and of using food as a tool for gathering within our communities. We also want to be a resource for education and knowledge as well as being able to broaden the scope of representation within these spaces and industries especially with the distribution network of black farmers and artisans that we will be working with.
Q. Now, let’s talk about food at your home. What does the dinner table represent for you?
A. For us the dinner table represents a sacred space that exists as an opportunity for us to shut the world out and focus on our family. It’s a mirror of our identity, emotions and desires. From the food we make to our invited guests, (if any), down to the dishes we create, there’s an intentional and deliberate pace and rhythm that we hold at our table.
Q. What family traditions do each of you hope to bring to the table you’re building together?
Omar: I hope to reestablish the tradition of our family eating and conversing together. Not watching TV or being on our phones but actually talking to each other about our day and our lives.
Cybille: Growing my family would always hold space for each other on birthdays, holidays, and special moments. I never realized how meaningful that was until I met others that didn’t grow up within a similar dynamic. I look forward to continuing that and celebrating every holiday, accomplishment or milestone no matter how small, with that same intensity. Looking back, those are the moments that really stand out for me.
Q. Do you have any Sunday dinner traditions? And what is your go-to Sunday night dinner dish and why?
A. As of now our Sunday dinner tradition consists of a long drawn out meal. Something that takes all day to make. A dish that needs to be nursed and developed over time. It forces us to slow down, settle in and really take our time after a crazy week. Our go to differs based on the seasons. In the summer it’s a protein that’s smoked or cooked slowly on the grill with seasonal grilled vegetables, in the fall it’s a nice soup that starts with a homemade stock and herbs or vegetables hanging on from our summer garden. In the winter it’s a hearty meat stew served alongside heritage grains or rice. In the spring it’s a salad alongside fresh homemade bread and a salted or canned fish that’s been spruced up and elevated! We also make sure to have good music, a nice wine or spirit (hello, rum!) and always lots of love!
About Honeysuckle Provisions:
Chefs Omar Tate and Cybille St.Aude-Tate are planting roots and providing holistic nourishment to their community through Honeysuckle Provisions, a multifaceted community center where Black food puts its flag on a plate and stakes a claim for space in America. Guided by the spirit of radical food justice initiatives of the 1960’s and 70’s Honeysuckle Provisions seeks to create solutions to the imbalances of equity and health in West Philadelphia. To support the work of Honeysuckle Provisions, visit and donate to their Go Fund me campaign to bring a Black-owned food market, cafe, and incubator space to West Philadelphia.