african american

Lecture and Tasting at African American Museum in Philadelphia

Saturday, February 2Lecture and Tasting with Chef Wheeler Del Torro ~ 1 – 3p

Sit back and relax while food historian, author and lecturer Chef Wheeler del Torro discusses soul food through the lenses of history, culture and gastronomy, then prepares and shares samples with 30 lucky visitors. This presentation discusses the African heritage of this uniquely American cuisine, its generational interpretations and its significance as food that confers centuries of cultural heritage, while also presenting options for creating healthier interpretations of familiar dishes.

Wheeler del Torro divides his time exploring issues of food justice and the historical and cultural links between food and community. He encourages his guests to live healthier, more connected lives through food. His passion for cooking and lifetime of experiences around the world inspired him to host dinner parties, create an innovative gourmet non-dairy ice cream line, open Wheeler’s Café & Dessert Bar in Boston in 2007, and write his first book The Vegan Scoop, currently available in bookstores world-wide.

Free With Museum Admission. Space is Limited and Registration in Required. To Register, Visit:

Lecture at the Culinary Arts Museum

Johnson and Wales University
Johnson and Wales University

Visit us in Rhode Island at the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson and Wales University for a celebration of food and African American culture. The event is free and open to the public.

Lecture by Chef Wheeler del Torro at the Culinary Arts Museum:

“Slavery to Freedom at the Kitchen Table:

a Historical Look at Soul Food from 1830-1975”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — January 2013 —The Culinary Arts Museum is pleased to announce that Chef Wheeler del Torro will be on campus to deliver a lecture which encompasses a historical and anthropological look into the study of Soul Food.

Wheeler del Torro began his investigation study of food while growing up in Jamaica. Whipping up hot chocolate “tea” and other Jamaican specialties with his father, he observed the associations between food, relationships, and imparting cultural heritage. “I have always been fascinated with the concept of food as a vehicle to prompt connections between people and to communicate history, values, and relationships,” says Wheeler.

Since leaving Jamaica, del Torro has lived in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, London, Paris, and many places in between. His passion for cooking and lifetime of experiences around the world inspired him to host dinner parties, create an innovative gourmet non-dairy ice cream line, open a café and dessert bar, and write his first book The Vegan Scoop, currently available in bookstores world-wide.

In addition to running his businesses, Wheeler del Torro is sought after for motivational and informative lectures, as well as consulting businesses and authors. During his appearances, del Torro shares his inspiring story, unique perspective, wealth of experience, and insight into building innovative green businesses. Del Torro particularly enjoys bringing his message to students and entrepreneurs, encouraging them to create their own paths to success in the ever-changing business world.

Culinary Arts Museum

This lecture is free and open to the Johnson & Wales community and the public. Due to limited seating, it is a first-come, first-served event. The lecture will be held in the museum theater on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 and will begin at 6:00 pm. Please call the museum at 401-598-2805 with any questions. For more information about Chef Wheeler del Torro, please visit his website,

Location & Directions

The Culinary Arts Museum is located at 315 Harborside Boulevard on the Providence and Cranston city line, in Rhode Island. From I-95, take Exit 18 and follow the sign to Allens Avenue. At the traffic light, turn right onto Allens Avenue and go straight for one mile. The street name will change to Narragansett Boulevard; continue straight. Turn left after the Shell gas station at the traffic light onto Harborside Boulevard. The Museum is located in the first building on the left. Parking is available in front of museum.

Johnson & Wales University (JWU), founded in 1914, is a nonprofit, private, accredited institution with campuses in Providence, R.I.; North Miami, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; and Charlotte, N.C. An innovative educational leader, JWU offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that inspire professional success and lifelong personal and intellectual growth by integrating arts & sciences and experiential education with leadership and personal development opportunities. For more information, visit

Entree to Black Paris

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Monique Wells of Discover Paris! on the Entree to Black Paris blog. Read the full interview here.

Chef Wheeler Del Torro on Cooking in Paris

I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of 

Chef Wheeler Del Torro

 virtually, after he contacted Discover Paris! about taking an Entrée to Black Paris walking tour over the Christmas holidays. He currently lives in Boston, where he operates the underground restaurant called Pharmacie at 



When I learned that Chef Del Torro hails from Jamaica and that he had cooked professionally in the City of Light, I immediately asked him for an interview. Here's what he has to say about Paris and its place in his culinary career and vegan lifestyle.


ETBP: When did you come to Paris? WDT: My adventure in Paris began when I came to the city in the late 90s. The city was a lot different then. I graduated from high school and moved here with my girlfriend at the time, Max, who was born and raised here. I was so in love. You know how amazing French women can be. Paris is amazing - this city taught me how to cook, how to host a proper dinner party, how to slow dance… and I think the most important thing was just how to enjoy life.

ETBP: How long did you live here? WDT:I had planned to stay for a few months in the summer, but returned to the States 3 years later. I would go home for holidays and birthdays, but that was it. I didn’t want to miss any of the action in Paris. Time just seemed to fly. I spent the time exploring antique shops, markets, bookstores, cafes, and of course, learning how to cook.

ETBP: Where did you work here? WDT: I hosted dinner parties around the city. Also in Nice and Sarlat.

ETBP: Talk about your Fillet of Soul dinners. Where were they held? WDT: Our Fillet of Soul dinners began as book club in the 6th, where I was living at the time. I was trying to expand my social circle, because I had just moved here and didn’t know one person outside of my girlfriend’s family. My idea was a conversation about the book and a meal. I invited people who I wanted to be friends and acquaintances with. The Internet, word-of-mouth and my passion about books and culture helped grow the book club into a bi-weekly dining event. As they grew, we expanded into larger flats (homes) around the city, and included music and sometimes performance art.

ETBP: Who would attend? WDT: Our regular group was a mix of young professionals, budding artists, poets, rappers, and students. We would also reach out to innovative young chefs and entrepreneurs.

ETBP:Your Web site talks about you selling desserts to nightclubs and to high profile events and parties as your reputation grew on the Paris culinary scene. What types of desserts did you sell? WDT: I provided my Black Label desserts, which have alcohol infusions. I created a variety of flavors ranging from a Dom Perignon champagne sorbet to a Kahlua cookies and cream.

ETBP: How long have you been a vegan? WDT: I have been vegan for over a decade.

ETBP: Describe how you came to embrace the vegan diet / lifestyle. WDT: I worked for a banker as a private chef. His doctor gave him the option to radically change his diet or face another heart attack. To help encourage him to change his diet, I made a substantial monetary bet with him to see who could be vegan the longest. I have been vegan ever since.

ETBP: What are some of your favorite vegan eating establishments in Paris? WDT: The Gentle Gourmet is my current favorite. They have delicious options for every meal of the day and have been at the forefront of introducing the concept of “vegan” to Paris. For a casual meal, I like SOL Semilla in the 10th.

ETBP: What would you advise vegan tourists who visit Paris regarding eating? WDT: Enjoy Vegan Paris! There are many great vegetarian and vegan restaurants springing up around the city. Check online with the blogs Vegan ParisMy Vegan Paris Adventure, and the Paris Vegan Meet Up Group.  For supplies ranging from groceries to toothpaste, visit the team at Un Monde Vegan.

ETBP: Do you cook non-vegan foods for your clients? WDT: No, I like the opportunity to challenge and surprise my clients with the many possibilities of vegan food.

ETBP: Compare the London culinary scene with that of Paris. WDT: As a person who travels about two weeks out of each month cooking and entertaining, you can tell a lot about a city and where people are culturally, from the types of people who show up at pop-up dining events. Because I create underground temporary restaurants, which gives me the flexibility to collaborate with local chefs, I would have to say both cities are on the move and producing some amazing young chefs that are going to transform the culinary landscape for the foreseeable future. For the record, Paris does stand out. It is the epicenter of beautiful women (and men) willing to experiment with food.

ETBP: When you came to Paris, did you establish contact with the Jamaican community? WDT: I ventured over to Little Africa and made friends, but I didn’t connect specifically with the Jamaican community. However, many people from the Islands reached out to me because of my jerk sauce. They used to tell me it reminded them of home. I remember at one of my events an older woman started weeping while eating a jerk dish I made. I didn’t know what to make of it; I thought maybe it was too spicy for her. I asked her if she was okay. She told me she hadn’t tasted anything like that since her grandmother had cooked for her as a child.

ETBP: Are there any other national cuisines that have influenced your culinary style? WDT: Other types of cuisine constantly inspire me. Many of my recipes are fusions of different cuisines like soul food with Asian elements or West African street food with traditional French fare. I often do tapas, which can be very experimental depending on who I’m cooking for.

ETBP: What is attractive about the city of Boston as a home base for you and your business? WDT: Boston has over 50 colleges and universities that attract the most brilliant and creative students, professors, entrepreneurs, and people from around the world. You could be riding in subway and hear people talking about quantum physics and the person next to you chatting on the cell phone about their second round of financing for their biotech startup. My offices are sandwiched between Harvard on one side and MIT on the other, which keeps me stimulated and creative. Boston also has a large French community, with an activecultural center hosting events and classes almost every day.

The Gentle Gourmet 24 Boulevard de la Bastille 75012 Paris Telephone: 01 43 43 48 49 Metro: Bastille (Lines 1 and 8), Quai de la Rapée (Line 5)

Sol Semilla 23 rue des Vinaigriers 75010 Paris Telephone: 01 42 01 03 44  Metro: Jacques Bonsergent (Line 5)