• Tonya Hopkins

    Food & Drink Cultural Historian • Wine & Spirits Specialist •

    Cocktail Cognoscente • Culinary Consultant

  • @TheFoodGriot’s “American Food History For ALL... from a Black Perspective” PODCAST 🎙 via The Philadelphia Citizen’s “Foodizen” Series is Here! Scroll Down to Link/Listen 🔊 👂🏽 to Latest Episodes + More 2020 Culinary Content!


    My NEW PODCAST pilot Launched in Nat’l IceCream 🍦 Month (July), based in “America’s Birthplace” —Philadelphia PA, a.k.a. “Philly” —Famous City of FIRSTS — Relevant to Food (& Drink!) & History Loving Folks Everywhere! New Episodes are added in sequential order below + each link has EXTRA CONTENT (recipes,videos)

    Hear all about Ice Cream’s MISSING HISTORY in America! A short, semi-sweet story that blends back in the essential 18th - 19th Century Black Culinary Professionals previously all but ERASED from Publicly Known History!...

    This episode shares the savory story of Pepper Pot —best known as a favorite soup consumed (from a can ;) by millions of Americans throughout the 20th century. BUT it does not begin at Camden’s Campbell’s Soup Co. nor via a white male (German-immigrant) soldier in George Washington’s army (credited as its creator). Pepperpot originates in W. Africa, evolves in the Caribbean, and became Philly’s 1st official SIGNATURE DISH, made & sold in smoking hot servings by entrepreneurial BLACK WOMEN on Philly’s waterfront streets from the Colonial Era thru the eve of the 20th C. Make your own Pepper Pot using my personal recipe...

    The last day of Kwanzaa is the FIRST day of the New Year and a fantastic way to start it off just right! Click this link to hear the fascinating story of the ancient food history & traditions behind the birth of this uniquely American holiday called “Kwanzaa” (Swahili for “First Fruits) created in 1966 by Activist Scholar Dr.Karenga. With special audio appearances from 2X James Beard Foundation award-winning author Michael W. Twitty AND The Kwanzaa Holiday Creator/Founder himself: Dr. Karenga❣️🖤💚

    It also includes one of my ONLY cookie 🍪 recipes (I don’t really have a sweet tooth - more cook than baker;) that shows you how to make super simple — and naturally delicious — (customizable) Kwanzaa cookies! I also included my pepperpot 🌶 🥘 🥄 recipe —a near perfect hearty winter stew that’s spiced just right for the holiday season. 😋❄️⛄

  • The Food Griot

    Sharing Savory Stories:

    On The Makings of American Cuisine (Cocktails)...

    Because Inclusive Stories Matter

    The Food Griot platform's primary focus is on discovering and sharing inclusive and nearly lost /unknown food and drink history narratives of The Americas. Tonya created, launched and hosts the first food history PODCAST for The Philadelphia Citizen’s “Foodizen” program; Conducts Live Storytelling Presentations in Classrooms, at Museums and other Cultural & Nonprofit Orgs; Makes on-air TV, Video, Film and Radio Appearances; Educates and “Edutains” via Public Programs; Moderates Panel Discussions (Culinary Conversations); Does Wine & Spirits Education + Food Pairing Events and Dinners...see Tonya's full bio at: .http://thefoodgriot.tumblr.com/bio

  • Something Always Simmering....

    See What a Food Historian Does & Tonya "The Food Griot" at Work:

    “Soul Food“...

    Has A Uniquely American, Often Unknown Story....

    Food history is everywhere, inspiring and influencing everyone from the most decorated chefs to the everyday home cooks. I bring this history to life as a researcher, expert, writer, and storyteller — to place historically accurate narratives back into the public discourse where they should’ve always been — to help fill the vast void of what’s not taught in classrooms at all levels nationwide. Now more than ever, we all need to know the goodness that every group has brought (and still brings) to the table, and ideally to be much more grateful for each other and those who came before us.


    I love bringing hidden, rarely told stories to light and believe in an inclusive narrative of modern american food that acknowledges and appreciates the contributions of African American Ancestors....who all Americans are indebted to for bringing so much flavor (literally and figuratively) to this nation. Building upon the cultivating genius of indigenous peoples combined with the brilliance of enslaved Africans — captured, debased and constrictedly transported by early European colonists to create a New World...

    Food History is Valuable in Many Industries. Incl. Culinary Industries African (American) Ancestors were Instrumental in Creating...

    I Provide a wide range of Creative & Culinary Services for Businesses & Orgs:


    * for Individuals, Restaurants/Bars/Hotels, Schools (Culinary, Hospitality, History Programs, etc.): Comprehensive AA Culinary History Curriculum Development, Wine Education/Guided Tastings, Wine & Food Pairings/Menu Planning, Customized "Batch" Cocktail Creation (Historically-Informed & Cultural-Rooted); Griot-style Storytelling for Special Events.


    * for Chefs, Cookbook Authors, Writers: Historically-Informed and Cultural-Rooted Context for Recipes/Sidebars in Cookbooks, Travel Memoirs, Food-Filled Novels and other Texts with Major Food/Drink Themes.


    * for Historic Homes & Museums: Public Education Programs, Guided Tastings & Talks (Linked to Location’s Historic Significance) Utilizing Relevant Scholarship/Research, Food/Drink Product Curation, Panel Discussion Facilitation/ Culinary Conversations with Thought Leaders and Influencers.


    * for Food & Drink Media, TV & Film: On-Air Appearances + Advise/Consult TV/Film/Radio/Broadcast Producers and Multi-Media Creators for Historic Accuracy in Culinary Content of the African American Diaspora (New World/The Americas)



    2014 – Present

    The James Hemings Society (JHS) is a nonprofit culinary arts and education organization inspired by its namesake who was the enslaved man who became America's first classically trained Chef de Cuisine, in France, at the behest of his owner, Thomas Jefferson. JHS is leading the charge to remember, uphold and continue black culinary contributions to the creation of iconic American cookery, brewing and distillation. JHS is dedicated to educating and informing the public on the profound and prolific impact of African American foodways nationwide and globally. We endeavor to reverse the historical omissions of the black chefs, cooks, caterers, farmers, brewmasters, distillers, etc. who were the foundation of professional cookery and fine dining throughout America. With chef Hemings life’s work and legacy as a portal, JHS honors an inclusive American culinary history and Jame's legacy in particular while also showcasing and supporting the brilliant work of today’s contemporary African American chefs/caterers/cooks, bartenders/brewers/distillers, food historians, writers, culinary curators, etc.

  • Work with Me to Make Some Meaningful Magic Happen



    Work Scope

    Define what you’d like from me/TFG (i.e. the “project”) incl. what specific deliverable(s) you need by when. Include start and end date, and how much you’d like/not like :) to spend.



    Is it a short (1 to 3 mos) or longer term (6 mos +) is a retainer required or is this an a la carte request or for a one-time appearance?



    Please be prepared to make a 30% to 50% downpayment upfront for most projects. Then be ready to be

    “WOW”ed ;)



    Subsequent payments align with deliverable dates and your balance is due upon receipt of final deliverable.

  • Connect with me to enjoy & share the journey!

  • Follow @TheFoodGriot on Social Media!