This episode of On the Fly is with Jay Foster, a well-known San Francisco chef and restaurateur, who has been feeding us with heart and intention in his authentically cool and soulful establishments for the past 18 years. From his early days at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack and Blue Jay Cafe, to 13 years running the beloved and greatly missed Farmerbrown, Jay has been a champion for the diverse and vibrant San Francisco we are, or should I say were once known for being.
Jay has fought hard for the disappearing Black San Francisco, and now he’s part of its list of casualties: he’s one of our few Black chefs, and with the closure of Farmerbrown and his most-recent project in the Fillmore last fall, Isla Vida, we’ve lost one of our city’s few Black restaurateurs. Jay has been trying to take a break from the grind of disadvantaged ownership and work for others for a change, utilizing his years of experience and knowledge and well-honed skills. In a city where upper-level restaurant managers and executives are a valuable asset, in our interview, you’ll hear his discouraging experience that further revealed a racist system designed to undervalue him.
What is a San Francisco without Black executives, and Black-owned restaurants, and diverse places for the community to gather? What happens when our keepers of the flame, of our city’s African American heritage and traditions and cuisine and vibrant history, are continually being blown out? As you listen to this interview with Jay Foster, you’ll hear his firsthand account of what happens when we don’t do enough to protect and uplift the Black community, culture, business, and heritage, and support equity, equality, opportunity, and visibility.
Articles mentioned in the podcast:
Bloomberg: Black Business Owners’ Ranks Collapse by 41% in U.S. Lockdowns
Bon Appétit: Running Restaurants in San Francisco Made Me Rethink Everything I Thought I Knew About Success
1. La Cocina Catering: lacocinasf.org/cater. Black-owned businesses include A Girl Named Pinky, Boug Cali, Crumble and Whisk, Healing Kitchen, MexiQ, Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, Peaches Patties, Pinky and Red’s, Teranga Life, and Zella Soulful Kitchen.
2. Bayview Bistro Box: bayviewbistrosf.com
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