Photo depicting Black-presenting hands chopping vegetables on a wooden cutting board.

Black & Tan Hall Searches for Chefs for Pop-Up Residency

by Amanda Ong

Black & Tan Hall is launching a pop-up residency for chefs at the new Black & Tan Hall performance venue and community space scheduled to open later this year. Recently they created a survey to gauge interest in the residency from chefs. 

“Black & Tan Hall is a Black-led multicultural organization,” Joe Seamons, Black & Tan Hall’s partner development manager, said in an interview with the Emerald. “So we are searching for chefs whose cuisine reflects their heritage and whose identities and backgrounds are underrepresented in Seattle in terms of who gets to have their own restaurant.” 

Seamons says that the idea for the chef residency came out of two things — the need for a chef in the kitchen of Black & Tan Hall’s new performance venue, which has been in the making for over six years, and from the realization of community needs during the pandemic. 

“Being in a pandemic and the nature of the food service business being so variable, it seems like a good way to create flexibility for our chefs in our business,” Seamons said. “[We want] to make sure that we’re performing our mission of stewarding our hall as a cultural space for the community members that need it the most.”

Currently, what they’re looking for in chefs and restaurant pop-ups is extremely flexible. They are open to anything from a one-week pop-up to pop-ups running for six months. Right now, Seamons said, they hope to be receptive to community needs first and foremost, which is part of the intention of the survey. Their long-term goal is that after some time, one or more of the pop-up chefs will emerge to become a permanent fixture at Black & Tan. But for now, they will have to wait and see how both the business and their partnerships grow and change over time.

In the meantime, Seamons emphasizes that hosting a pop-up at the Black & Tan Hall is a worthwhile opportunity for any chef. “Black & Tan Hall is composed of 27 partners, and so you will forge relationships with some very amazing and wonderful people,” he said. “Our marketing team is strong and growing stronger, and so we will do our utmost with both the word of mouth network of our 27 partners and our marketing circle to promote your cuisine to our community … You’re going to bring more attention and awareness to your cuisine by taking part.”

There’s also the potential to work long-term as a chef at Black & Tan Hall and become a partner and co-owner of the business.

“This role is important because we are a business that is rooted in our values,” Seamons said. “[We are] working to develop an experimental model for how communities can address displacement in their own backyards by establishing cultural spaces that are owned and controlled by the marginalized people of our society … Having the kitchen component of it, having the essential element of food as both a need for survival and a tool for building community, is vital to the success of the model we are working to build.” 

Learn more about the chef pop-up residency program on Black & Tan Hall’s website and fill out their interest survey. Black & Tan Hall’s performance venue will be opening late 2022 at 5608 Rainier Ave. S.

Amanda Ong (she/her) is a Chinese American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Washington Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnicity and race studies.

📸 Featured Image: Black & Tan Hall is in the process of seeking chefs for pop-up events at its Hillman City venue. (Photo: Jared Baz)

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