I recently had the privilege of attending the fourth seating of the SOUL Supperclub series, titled “LA ALMA: The Afro-Cuban Experience.” Hosted by Chef Myisha “Maya” Mastersson, the event celebrated Afro-Cuban culture and cuisine.
It featured a culturally curated six-course tasting menu, creatively paired cocktails served by Turning Tables’ founder Toure Folkes, a cultural soundtrack by musicologist Funke, and live performances by Bill Summers and Andrea Peoples. The night effortlessly exuded the vibrant world of Afro-Cuban culture. The dinner was held at the historic Hotel Peter and Paul Cathedral. The gorgeous cathedral added a lil razzle dazzle to the evening, making it a true experience.
On the menu.
Chef Maya took us on a culinary journey through history while celebrating the rich history and cuisine of Afro-Cuban culture, deeply influenced by African slaves who brought their ingredients and cooking techniques from the motherland. Each dish was a tribute to their contributions, reminding us of the resilience of the Afro-Cuban people, who continue to persevere through adversity.
Here’s what was on the menu:
Cucumber Carpaccio, hibiscus pearls, sugar cane, vinegar reduction, mint.
Cocktail: Bienveneda – hibiscus, pineapple, lime, bubbles.
Frituras de Malanga, grilled sweet onion, fine herb oil, little gem, mango, jamon.
Cocktail: Havan Nights – Dark rum, lime, mint, simple, yellow Chartreuse.
Confit lobster, crispy rice, soubise, onion ash, butterfly pea flowers.
Cocktail: Rice on the Sea – Rice Distilled Wonderbird Magnolia Gin, butterfly pea syrup, lemon expression.
IV. Rumba – The rhythm of the clave
Cocktail: Smoke from the Conga – Tequila, tomato, spiced pepper syrup, mezcal rinse, tajin.
Fufu de Plantano con Chichiron, smoked coconut hot sauce.
Cocktail: Diaspora – Novo Fogo, coconut cream banana liqueur, guava, lime banana chip.
VI. Boniatillo – In keeping of tradition
Cocktail: Sweet Earth – Whiskey, cacao, marshmallow salt.
Each dish was a perfect blend of flavors and textures, but I must admit that my fave dishes of the night were the Frituras de Malanga and the confit lobster. I also enjoyed the chichiron. Now those cocktails? Yummy and boozy — just like I like ’em! My faves were the Bienvenida, Havana Nights, and Rice on the Sea.
“LA ALMA” was an amazing experience that deeply connected me with the Afro-Cuban cuisine culture. Despite attending the dinner dolo, I shared a table with six others from different backgrounds and places. We introduced ourselves, got to know a little bit about one another, and talked about societal issues. We ended the night with a “cheers” to a great dining experience.
Check out my recap video below!
A very special thank you to Chef Maya for inviting me to have a seat at her ancestors’ table and for curating such a unique culinary adventure. Your artistry is next level, and I look forward to experiencing more opportunities to savor your cuisine.
About Chef Maya
Chef Myisha “Maya” Mastersson is the founder of the Black Roux Culinary Collective and the creative force driving the SOUL Supperclub series. She has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, and has been featured on the Food Network as a two-time contestant on “Guy’s Grocery Games” and as a contestant on “Chopped.”
The next seating of Chef Maya’s SOUL Supperclub series, “AMEN: The Evolution of the Black Church,” takes place in November. For more info, follow @blackrouxculinarycollective!