Black History Month: Embracing Flavors, Embracing Joy

As we celebrate Black History Month through the theme of “Joyful Roots: A Celebration of Black Joy” we are reminded of a remarkable summer event that we as No Kid Hungry staff had the privilege of attending: Chef Kwame’s Family Reunion. 

This event is held annually at the Salamander Middleburg Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia. The Family Reunion is more than just a gathering of culinary enthusiasts, it is a celebration of diversity and excellence in the hospitality community in benefit of No Kid Hungry. As we celebrate the month dedicated to Black history we honor the contributions and heritage of Black Americans as a reminder of the joy and resilience that define our experience.

Visual collage of images at family reunion


At the Family Reunion, attendees are immersed in a world where Black chefs and culinary enthusiasts are elevated, celebrated and embraced. From engaging panel discussions to interactive cooking demonstrations, every aspect of the event is infused with the rich authenticity of Black culture. The prime location of the Salamander Resort allows guests to be welcomed with open arms into a space that felt like a long-awaited family reunion. Strangers became friends, and friends became family forming bonds over shared experiences and of course delicious shared meals. 

When we connected to discuss details of our experience, it was evident how impactful the reunion was. From the sense of belonging we felt as we navigated throughout the acres of the Salamander Resort to camaraderie and joy that permeated every bite of food, we truly were inspired. Over the course of one weekend, not only were we able to elevate No Kid Hungry’s work but had the chance to share it with people who looked like us.

Our experience at The Family Reunion was nothing short of extraordinary. As soon as we walked through the doors of the Salamander Resort, we were instantly hit with the comfort of belonging. The comfort of hearing laughter as if we were surrounded by our cousins. The comfort of eating as if we were sitting in our grandma’s kitchen. The comfort of not having to code switch - we knew we were among family.

Visual representation of family reunion 2

The days were filled with expert panel discussions, fun outdoor activities, and the most amazing family style lunches. During which we were able to spread the word about our work with attendees. Some folks were local so we talked about the upcoming DC Taste of the Nation, while others were unaware of our organization and wanted to know more about our work. 

The food was not only delicious but served as a reminder of home. The family-style lunches, featuring traditional dishes with a chef’s added twist were a highlight for us. They not only satisfied our taste buds but also served as a reminder of the rich culinary heritage that we were celebrating. 

The sense of family at the Reunion was evident from the start. From bonding over shared love for food to engaging in meaningful conversations with fellow attendees, every moment felt like a celebration of Black culture and excellence. We appreciated the presence of Black chefs who not only showcased their culinary talents but also took the time to connect with attendees on a personal level. It truly felt like a reunion with long-lost relatives. 

For all of us the familial aspect of The Family Reunion was what resonated the most. The family style lunches, the Black-owned business and the interactive games, all contributed to the atmosphere of a real union. As individuals from different backgrounds, seeing our roots represented and celebrated was deeply meaningful. And knowing No Kid Hungry was the charity partner of the event added another layer of significance. It was heartwarming to see attendees not only enjoying themselves but also supporting a cause that ensures children don't go hungry.