Sheila Johnson’s Salamander Hotels & Resorts and FOOD & WINE magazine have announced the debut of The Family Reunion presented by Kwame Onwuachi. The Family Reunion will be a multi-day event that will celebrate diversity in the hospitality community through cooking classes and demonstrations, wine tastings and dinners, and panel discussions with world-class chefs, sommeliers and industry leaders. Participants include Carla Hall, Edouardo Jordan, Nina Compton, Carlton McCoy, Gregory Gourdet, Mashama Bailey, Rodney Scott, Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Pierre Thiam and more.

Co-hosted by chef and author Kwame Onwuachi and Salamander Hotels & Resorts founder and CEO Sheila Johnson, The Family Reunion will take place August 19 – 22, 2021 at Johnson’s Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, located just one hour from Washington, D.C. 

Kwame Onwuachi

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Nurturing, developing and celebrating racial and ethnic diversity within the next generation of hospitality professionals is a core mission of the event. In addition to experiences taking place throughout the 340-acre property’s outdoor event spaces, Cooking Studio, Culinary Garden and restaurants, there will be a center stage venue hosting a rotating lineup of presentations and panel discussions. Throughout the weekend, speakers, chefs and sommeliers will delve into the Black cooking traditions that have shaped cuisine in America, share lessons from the past and focus on building a better and more inclusive future.  

Good to know: A portion of the proceeds will be used to create a mentorship and scholarship program that fosters diversity in the hospitality industry, as well as to support efforts to help end childhood hunger.

Sheila Johnson

The only Black woman to wholly own a Forbes Five-Star resort, Sheila Johnson is also the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television a partner in Monumental Sports & Entertainment. As CEO and founder of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which manages luxury properties in the US and the Caribbean, she has spoken frequently about the need for greater diversity within the hospitality industry.

“Our remarkable, constantly renewing and evolving industry is as diverse as any other,” said Johnson. “But we can, and should, do more. Therefore, I’m immensely proud to partner with FOOD & WINE and Kwame Onwuachi and delighted Salamander Resort & Spa can provide a platform for thoughtful discussion about inclusion.”  

Leading up to the event, Onwuachi, who is also a 2019 FOOD & WINE Best New Chef and the author of the culinary memoir Notes from a Young Black Chef, will spend nine days in residency at the resort, where he will be cooking food based on his Afro-Caribbean heritage.

The Family Reunion enjoys sponsorship support of Virginia Tourism Corporation, Lexus and the Brett Johnson Collection. Event tickets will go on sale in April at www.salamanderhotels.com/familyreunion. Resort packages and individual ticket options will be available, while specific programming will also be unveiled at that time. (Note: The event will follow appropriate COVID-19 health and safety measures in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines.)

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