Sophie Bolich

Turner Hall Eatery Features Guest Chefs

New Turning Tables Tavern and Eatery, opening August 5, will feature 4-day showcase of 8 chefs on July 20-23.

By - Jul 20th, 2022 12:48 pm
New signs and parklet at Turner Hall. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Site of future Turning Tables Tavern and Eatery at Turner Hall. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Turning Tables Tavern and Eatery, a new restaurant that will be located inside of Turner Hall, is hosting a four-day brunch and dinner showcase preceding its official opening event on August 5.

The event, Who Wants to be a Restaurateur Dining Experience, is scheduled for July 20 through July 23 at Turner Hall, 1040 Vel R. Phillips Ave., and will feature eight local chefs looking to start their food business journeys.

In line with a mission of community, diversity and inclusion, event organizer Emerald Mills will feature all minority-owned businesses.

In the months leading up to the showcase, chefs underwent a training program in menu design, industry standards, marketing and entrepreneurship. The training will culminate in a one-shift launch of their restaurant concepts. The goal is to give chefs experience and practice without the risk of a long term commitment, to make informed decisions about where to go from here.

“Maybe they want to do intimate gatherings, maybe they want to just cater, maybe they want to have a full blown restaurant,” Mills said. “But when they decide, they’ll be ready, number one. And then number two, they’ll have a supportive team and family that will wrap their arms around them and will have already built a buzz in the community to know who they are, what kind of food they do.”

Tequnda Rogers-Goggans of Charlie Boi’z will kick off the series Wednesday evening. Fredrick Coleman of Table 69 will serve brunch Thursday, followed by Lyncoya Ilion of Cooking With Coyta for dinner. Deleric Johnson of Dee’s Upscale Dining will serve a southern-inspired brunch Friday, and dinner will be from Andre Epps, owner of Blue Walters. Fanisha Richmond of Culinary Creatives will take over for brunch on Saturday, then Quajuana Dunomes-Williams of The Shack MKE will round things out for dinner. Seidah Reed will be serving desserts from The Cupcake Queen during Saturday brunch.

Following each meal, guest will be asked to fill out a survey providing feedback on the full experience and menu items.

After the showcase, chefs will continue to receive support and opportunities, Mills said.

“It’s kind of like connecting them and building the ecosystem for them to have all the support they need once they’re launched, she said. “In the restaurant industry, it’s just not realistic to do this work by yourself.”

Turning Tables Tavern and Eatery touts itself as a culinary experience focused on equity, community and diversity. A full-service restaurant, the business will also be home base for the Teaching Kitchen program.

Mills, founder of Diverse Dining, a program that aims to emphasize diversity and inclusion in the industry while hosting events at restaurants throughout the city, co-owns Turning Tables with business partner, Jervel Williams. The Entrepreneurial resource center, Bizstarts, is a partner of the initiative.

Williams is the entrepreneur and chef behind Mister Bar-B-Que food truck and catering. A graduate of the Teaching Kitchen, his food will be the core of Turning Table’s menu.

Tickets for the Who Wants to be a Restaurateur Dining Experience are available for purchase through eventbrite.

General admission tickets are $35 and include a three-course meal. A VIP ticket, $50, includes an alcoholic beverage. Full table general admission is $120, and full table VIP, $200, includes bottle service.

Vegan and allergy-friendly options are available for no additional cost.

For more information about the showcase, visit the Turning Tables Facebook page.

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