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Black chefs, business owners plan to start up their food experience in Toledo

The entrepreneurs say they felt as if minorities were left out of Restaurant Week Toledo, and are aiming to have a bigger presence next year.

A group of Black entrepreneurs is creating their own food experience, saying they felt left out of Restaurant Week Toledo

The three chefs say they're looking to celebrate culture while inviting you to give them a chance. 

"This year, looking at the list, myself and many others noticed that a group of individuals were left out. Small businesses, Black owners to put it plain and simple," said Mikhala Bagot, the owner of Island Soul

Bagot is a personal chef with Island Soul. She can't participate in Restaurant Week Toledo because she doesn't own a brick-and-mortar restaurant. 

But Keitha Sheares, the owner of Hotbox Bistro, does, and they're planning something of their own. It's an event called the Culinary Culture Series

"We got together, three chefs, and we decided we're gonna create something of our own to give back to our city so that they can definitely see what we have to offer," said Sheares, the executive chef at Hotbox Bistro. 

It will involve a fine-dining experience on Mother's Day weekend at the new Hotbox Bistro location on 1919 Monroe Street in downtown Toledo. 

"It brings unity. Food is something that brings everybody together. So we're bringing a different culture, different taste, different vibe that I feel Toledo has not seen. So you don't have to go to an Atlanta, Georgia to get this kind of vibe. You don't have to go to North Carolina to get this kind of vibe," said Michal Gaston, a private and personal Chef who is a part of the Culinary Culture Series

The chefs say they're hoping to bring the event involving other minorities back every year, and even merge it with Restaurant Week. 

"I don't want the diversity. I don't want it to be restaurant week for x amount of restaurants and then there's you know, the collaborative culinary series. We don't want that. We want everything together," said Bagot. 

Restaurant Week Organizers tell WTOL: "Restaurant Week Toledo is always looking to connect with new restaurants and enhance our partner lineup." 

 The Culinary Culture Series will be held on May 8 and 9. 

You can already purchase tickets for the four-course meal and Mother's Day brunch here.

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