Ethnosh is a unique program started by Donovan McKnight in Greensboro, North Carolina as a way to shine a light on the many immigrant-owned, ethnic food businesses in the community. After attending a “NoshUp” in Greensboro, my friend and mentor, chef Jay Pierce immediately told me that I should expand the Ethnosh program to Raleigh, NC.
Ethnosh has three main components. First, a writer and a photographer meet and document the stories of the families and businesses, and of course the food. Ethnosh organizers then produce a NoshUp so that the public can meet the families and experience the restaurants as a community. Finally, Ethnosh is developing a comprehensive website that will house all of this great content and continue to connect the public to these businesses in an ongoing way.
As an avid CouchSurfer, I enjoy learning about new cultures and meeting people from different backgrounds. I began CouchSurfing in February 2012 and have used the website to meet new people from all over the world. In two years I have CouchSurfed in numerous countries like Spain, Germany, Austria, Turkey and more. However, without purchasing an expensive plane ticket, CouchSurfing has brought the world to me. From Venezuelan chocolate and coffee to CD’s filled with Bulgarian punk rock music, each CouchSurfer has given me a taste of their culture.
Similar to CouchSurfing, Ethnosh sounded like the perfect way to become exposed to new cultures and of course, ethnic food. After meeting with Donovan and the Ethnosh team in Greensboro, expansion to Raleigh was hopeful. I partnered with Jennifer Martin of Shop Local Raleigh and started planning NoshUps throughout the city. We’ve had packed events so far at Neomonde, Jose and Sons, Royal India and Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant.
The NoshUps are a great way to expose people to a new type of cuisine. Last night we hosted a NoshUp at Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant. About two-thirds of the crowd had never experienced Ethiopian food and many decided that they will come back to the restaurant and bring new friends.
The NoshUps have allowed me to spread the word about the amazing entrepreneurs behind immigrant-owned restaurants in Raleigh. These owners have big hearts and desire to share components of their cuisine and culture with others. It’s a joy to be a part of this community in Raleigh. But perhaps the best part of Ethnosh is the relationships I have built with the families behind the restaurants. They consider me to be one of their own. From inviting me to their daughter’s jazz recital to planning unique Indian cooking classes, I’ve developed strong connections with these families.
I encourage you to attend the next NoshUp on Tuesday, June 10 at Jasmin Mediterranean Bistro on Walnut Street in Cary.