Seeking to highlight male role models in the commnity, the Belafonte Tacolcy Center will host a Real Men Cook event on June 19.

The food-tasting family celebration will involve amateur and professional male chefs providing food samples for the public, just in time for Father’s Day. It’s an opportunity to bring men — black men in particular — together to celebrate the love of their community, said Alison Austin, the Tacolcy Center’s CEO.

“In our community, collectively, we just don’t show our black men enough love,” Austin said. “We’ll have seven Mother’s Day events and concerts, and Father’s Day will go by [almost] unnoticed.”

Celebrated in 16 cities including Atlanta, Baltimore and Phoenix, Real Men Cook began over 20 years ago to highlight the important contributions provided by males in the family and the community.

So driven is the event to celebrate men that the qualifications to become a Real Men Cook chef are simply that one must be male and show willingness to cook (participants must provide their own groceries). The whole idea is for them to cook what they are best at, Austin said.

Kervin Clenance, an entrepreneur and volunteer at the Tacolcy Center, has helped organize at least four other Real Men Cook events. He said he expects to see a lot of great culinary masterpieces.

“You literally stand behind what you prepare,” Clenance said. “So I’ve never seen it happen where somebody has brought something that is atrocious.”

While Clenance said he hopes to have 20 to 30 non-professional chefs volunteering, the event will also feature the talents of professionals such as Wilkinson Sejour, a chef and owner of the popular Haitian restaurant chain, Chef Creole; and Chef Hugh A. Sinclair, whose professional moniker is Chef Irie Spice.

For Sinclair, events like Real Men Cook can help change the perceptions that individuals have of cooking. He said he hopes that young people will see cooking as an alternative career path, instead of the usual choices of football player, rapper or drug dealer. He said he earned an associate’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University in North Miami.

But whatever a person’s career choice, Sinclair said, he hopes he can inspire anyone to overcome their fears of cooking.

“[People] lose sight of the fact that it’s only food,” Sinclair said. “Don’t take it so seriously.”
In addition to the cooking segment, the Tacolcy Center’s Real Men Cook event will hold a two- on-two basketball tournament featuring father/daughter and father/son teams.

The event has the potential to attract a diverse crowd, including men, women and children. But Austin said she expects a large female turnout, also, because watching men cook can be a very sexy thing.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Tacolcy Center, which provides services to young people in Liberty City.


WHAT: Real Men Cook

WHERE: Belafonte Tacolcy Center, 6161 N.W. 9th Ave., Miami

WHEN: Saturday, June 19, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

COST: Tickets are $20 for adults. For children 12 years old and younger, tickets are $12.

CONTACT: For more information, please call: 305-751-1295 ext. 139.