Detroit chef Ederique Goudia of Gabriel Hall is Food Fighter
Growing up in rural Louisiana, food was at the heart of Ederique Goudia’s life from an early age.
“My mother’s parents lived across from us and my grandfather had three gardens,” recalls Goudia, one of this year’s Detroit Free Press / Metro Detroit Chevy Dealer Food Fighters. “He made his own sausage, his own wine, ground his own cayenne pepper. We lived on the land. I grew up getting food straight from the garden. I didn’t know what it was like to go to a grocery store to buy products until my grandfather died when I was 16. “
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She fondly remembers the autumn pig harvest in which the whole community would get involved.
“It got kind of like a thing where different families in the area had different pigs, so one weekend everyone came and helped harvest that pig and the next weekend we went to another family’s house to help them.” , she says.
This deep sense of connection with the land, with the food that grows from it, and with the community it receives, is central to Goudia’s adult life.
These principles teach about her work as a cook, cooking teacher, consultant, and co-founder of Taste of the Diaspora, a hugely successful Black History Month initiative that highlighted Detroit’s black-owned restaurants and farmers while celebrating the immense impact of Africa’s celebrated foodways.
The idea was born during a charity event. In 2020, Goudia was named head chef of Make Food Not Waste, a massive company that feeds hungry Detroiters with food that would otherwise be wasted. As a rule, there was an event in the fall where Make Food Not Waste was running at full speed to feed families during the holidays.
For Thanksgiving, Goudia’s team cooked and fed 5,000 Detroiters. At Christmas, the team turned around and cooked for another 6,000.
One of the distribution points was Neighborhood Grocer, a developing grocery store on the east side of the city founded by Raphael Wright.
“After I asked him for the answer, he said,” It felt really good, “says Goudia.” The community was super grateful and he said we have to do this again. “
They hired chef Jermond Booze as their third partner and a month later they launched the “Taste of the Diaspora” concept to get media attention. The month’s worth of meals sold out in two days, and the team was able to donate hundreds of additional meals for the unsafe food.
With this momentum, Taste of the Diaspora is preparing for another initiative that will focus on June 19th.
“We definitely didn’t expect it to be so popular,” says Goudia. “It was beautiful, but also overwhelming. Not just doing this on purpose, but honoring and recognizing our ancestors through it. Not only was it physically overwhelming, it’s also emotional. “
Goudia points out that her hometown of Wallace, Louisiana is best known as the home of the Whitney Plantation, which is now the only museum in the state devoted entirely to the lives of enslaved people.
“For me it just goes back to my roots and brings me back to a southern girl from a small town in rural Louisiana,” says Goudia. “My roots are in the community. We treated our neighbors and friends like family. I want to lead with it and this is how my restaurant should look. “
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If all goes well and the pandemic subsides, Goudia hopes that by the end of the year she can finally open Gabriel Hall, a New Orleans-style Creole restaurant and music venue that she has been working on with partner Damien Gabriel for seven years.
It was a long and arduous process with many offshoot trips on the way, but in 2021 the culinary professional could finally add another title to her growing list with multiple hyphens: restaurateurs.
SURNAME: Ederique Goudia
TITLE: Co-owner Gabriel Hall (Detroit); Class leader, Detroit Food Academy; Co-founder, Taste of the Diaspora; Chef, Make Food Not Waste; Owner, in the grocery store
Hail from: Wallace, Louisiana
LIVES IN: Detroit
EARLIEST FOOD STORAGE: “If you ask my mother, I’ve been cooking since I was 3 years old. My older sister and I got up on Saturday morning and we cooked our parents’ breakfast in bed. When I was 3 years old, I made toast and eggs and grits – in the microwave, of course. The first thing I ever learned to cook were eggs messed up in the microwave. That is how we would surprise our parents. That was my first love for hospitality. My parents said, “Thank you very much, this is so great and it tastes so good good. ‘We felt good when we woke up early. “
FIRST RESTAURANT JOB: “I moved here for love two weeks after graduating from college. I ended up falling in love with Detroit. When I got here I didn’t have a job offer, but I got a job within a few months of staying here as a restaurant manager at Bob Evans in Warren. “
TOUGHEST CHALLENGE OF 2020: “My primary love language is physical touch. So not being able to hug people. Everything I do is really centered and rooted in the community, and we were isolated because we had to. We all tried to literally survive. So not to be able to. ” Meeting and exchanging hugs and physical touch, but also not exchanging ideas and energies – that was the hardest part. We all need this energy so badly, especially in the food community. “
MOST VALUABLE LESSON: “The power of the cooperative economy. This is exactly what the taste of the diaspora focuses on: Working together and collectively. This is how we really survive it all.”
Any regrets from last year ?: Honestly. I would say that I am definitely different. I have grown a lot as a person. I put things into perspective more. I had the opportunity to really practice self-care telling other people to do and attract. I was able to really take stock of my entire life and figure out how I want to go on living. What do you want my legacy to be? It was eye opening and beautiful in many ways. We saw a lot of humanity that we haven’t seen in a long time, so I’m really grateful. “
OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE: “The first thing I can think of is fellowship. So it will continue to work with and for and alongside our community. And that will continue not just through the taste of the diaspora, but through Gabriel Hall, At the Detroit Food Academy’s grocery store, Make Food Not Waste. At the end of the day it will be very community oriented. “