BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Getting fired up for ‘The Great Soul Food Cook-Off’

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By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

Just in time for some serious culinary uplifting comes “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” from Discovery+ and OWN — the Oprah Winfrey Network. 

Hosted By Kardea Brown (“Delicious Miss Brown”) with judges Eric Adjepong (“Top Chef”) and Harlem restauranteur and author Melba Wilson, it boasts being the first-ever soul food cooking competition series featuring the nation’s finest African-American chefs and their inspired cuisine.  

A remarkable group of culinary giants have been assembled as additional judges including Tanya Holland (Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen), Alexander Smalls (Chef/author “Meals, Music & Muses”), Gullah Geechie chef B.J. Dennis, Tiffany Derry (“Top Chef”), New York chef/caterer Millie Peartree and Kwame Onwuachi, whose best selling memoir “Notes From A Young Black Chef“ has been filmed with LaKeith Stanfield of “The Harder They Fall” in the lead. 

“The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” contestants vying for $50,000 are Chris Scott (Chef/Owner of Harlem’s Butterfunk Biscuit Co.); along with Atlanta chefs Jamarius Banks, Dorian Hunter (Elevated Soul), Fred Fluellen (Fluniversity) and Razia Sabour (Fuller Foods); Jermaine Smith (D.C.’s Henry’s Soul Cafe); Shacafrica Simmons (Tallahassee’s Southern Fusion) and Tirzah Love (Oakland’s Tirzah Supper Club). 

Tasty Clips looked to the suave Scott, a “Top Chef” season 15 finalist, for an answer to a question posed often in foodie circles — what’s the difference between soul food and southern food?  

“Soul food” is southern food,” he replied, “but with more depth, more story more flavors that also depict our journey from Africa through the Caribbean and into the states. In soul food, you’re able to taste Africa, Haiti, Jamaica and North Carolina in the same bite.” 

Scott called the experience of competing in “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off,” with challenges such as reinventing the dishes of their ancestors, “a fantastic one.” 

“Finally, our stories can be told, and people will know soul food beyond fried chicken and mac and cheese. They’ll learn the stories behind the food.” 

The six-episode, one-hour series, from the producers behind “Chopped” with James Beard award-winning culinary historian Michael W. Twitty (“The Cooking Gene”) serving as consultant, debuts on Discovery+ Nov. 20, with new episodes every Saturday through Dec. 18.

TICKET WATCH: Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera headline the free World AIDS Day concert at The Forum Dec. 1. Tickets are going fast at Tickemaster.com. Proof of full vaccination is required to attend. 

Stevie Wonder’s 23rd annual House Full of Toys benefit concert is set for Dec. 18 at the Microsoft Theater. Axs.com has further info.

A historic holiday performance featuring El DeBarge and his late brother Tommy DeBarge’s group Switch on stage together for the first time happens on Dec. 19 at the Globe Theatre. 

Maxwell announced “The Night Tour” with an April 15 date at the Forum in support of the release of “blacksummers’NIGHT” due in the spring. He will be joined by Anthony Hamilton and Joe with seats at ticketmaster. 

TASTY QUIP: “Yes, my grandfather [Peter Maivia] was a Bond villain in ‘You Only Live Twice’ with Sean Connery. Very, very cool. I would like to follow in his footsteps and be the next Bond. I don’t want to be a villain. Gotta be Bond.” – DWAYNE JOHNSON to Esquire 

CLIPPETTES: Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” returns for a drive-in performance, Nov. 19 at Santa Monica Airport. The holiday classic flipping Tchaikovsky’s ballet to 1928-era New Orleans features original songs from Mariah Carey, Arturo Sandoval, James Ingram and others. Debbieallendanceacademy.com has details  

Broadcasting Hall of Fame radio host Joe “The Black Eagle” Madison of SiriusXM’s Urban View has gone on a hunger strike evoking the memory of his good friend Dick Gregory until the Freedom to Vote Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is passed  

Je’Caryous Johnson Presents “Set It Off” with Da Brat, Vanessa Simmons, Latoya London and Keisha Knight Pulliam on Nov. 19-20 at the Orpheum Theatre. Visit Ticketmaster for seats  

Rumors are flying that due to Letitia Wright’s injury and alleged anti-vaccine stance that halted the filming of “Marvel’s Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever” until 2022, Winston Duke (M’Baku) may replace her in the lead role vacated by the death of Chadwick Boseman …  

Snoop Dogg’s new album “The Algorithm” is now available from Def Jam Recordings with guests Usher, Mary J. Blige, Ice Cube, E-40, Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes and more  

Enrique Iglesias & Ricky Martin perform Nov. 19 at the Staples Center as Harry Styles has a make good show at The Forum  

“The Chi” and “Twenties” executive producer Lena Waithe is adapting the award-winning classic documentary “Hoop Dreams,” following two different young talents with NBA ambitions, into series form    

On Nov. 20, Walt Disney Music Hall hosts “Reel Change: Kris Bowers“ with the composer and jazz pianist presenting his own music including selections from his scores for “Green Book” and “Bridgerton.” The evening also finds Musiq Soulchild at City National Grove of Anaheim    

Rubén Blades Salswing Tour! hits the Dolby Theatre Nov. 21. Meanwhile over at the Shrine Auditorium, Trippie Redd + Cordae with BlueBucksClan lead the Culture Jam: Music & Sports Festival. 

TASTY QUIP: “I didn’t wake up one day and say ‘You know what? I’m tired of making this money and making this show!’ No.” – ANTHONY ANDERSON (revealing ABC decided this eighth season of “black-ish” would be its last) to The Breakfast Club 

TC ON TV: Nov. 19 – “King Richard” (HBO Max): The story of Richard Williams, who guided daughters Venus and Serena Williams to tennis glory starring Will Smith. Listen for Beyonce’s new song “Be Alive.” “Everybody Loves Natti” (Prime Video): A docuseries that follows Dominican reggaeton superstar Natti Natasha. “Cowboy Bebop” (Netflix): John Cho, Mustafa Shakir and Daniella Pineda bring the anime cartoon to life. “Exinct” (Netflix): Zazie Beetz, Ken Jeong and Reggie Watts lend voice to this computer-animated film. “Tick, Tick… Boom!” (Netflix): The film directorial debut of Lin Manuel-Miranda (“Hamilton”) with Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Joshua Henry, Mj Rodriguez, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Vanessa Hudgens. “The NY Times Presents” (FX): “Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson” explores what happened at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show and beyond. 

Nov. 20 – “2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” (HBO): Tina Turner, JAY-Z, Kraftwerk, Gil Scott-Heron, LL Cool J, Billy Preston and mogul Clarence Avant are among the inductees with performances by Jennifer Hudson, Lionel Richie, H.E.R., Paul McCartney and more. “Austin City Limits” (PBS): Brittany Howard “Saturday Night Live” (NBC): Simu Lui (“Shang-Chi”) hosts with musical guest Saweetie.  

Nov. 21 – “2021 American Music Awards” (ABC): Cardi B makes her hosting debut with sets by BTS with Megan Thee Stallion, Olivia Rodrigo, Bad Bunny and others. “Who Is Christmas Eve?” (Bounce): Paige Hurd (“Power Book II: Ghost”) and Romeo Miller (“Empire”) star in this fact-based movie based on a case by famed investigative genealogist Pam Slaton.  

Nov. 23 – “Black and Missing” (HBO): A four-part series over two nights following sisters-in-law Derrica Wilson and Natalie Wilson as they strive to locate people of color who are missing by bringing awareness to their cases. “Jonas Brothers Family Roast” (Netflix): Kenan Thompson hosts with shots fired by Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, John Legend, Lilly Singh, Pete Davidson and more. “Great Escapes with Morgan Freeman” (Hist): “El Chapo” “Klutch Academy” (BET): A five-part unscripted series executive produced by Kenya Barris (“black-ish”) and agent Rich Paul documenting the latter’s sports group as they prepare six college basketball prospects for pro careers. 

Nov. 24 – “True Story” (Netflix): Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes team as brothers for this dramatic mini-series co-starring Lauren London  and Billy Zane. “Bruised” (Netflix): Halle Berry directs and stars as an MMA fighter. “Hawkeye” (Disney+): Jeremy Renner reprises his role from “The Avengers” franchise to serve as a mentor for young archer Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld. Deaf Native American newcomer Alaqua Cox is introduced as Echo, whose power is her ability to imitate any opponent’s fighting style, here before spinning off to her own series. “The Real World Homecoming: Los Angeles” (Para+): The second season taps on the West Coast cast with Tami Roman (“Basketball Wives”) in tow. “Even More Funny Women of A Certain Age” (SHO): Marsha Warfield, Leighann Lord

Nov. 25 – “12 Dates of Christmas” (HBO Max): Natasha Rothwell (“Insecure”) narrates this unpredictable dating competition series. “The Beatles: Get Back” (Disney+): Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy) is the director of this three-part documentary series on the iconic band. “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” (NBC): Nelly, Kelly Rowland, Jimmie Allen, Jon Batiste, Jordan Fisher, Mickey Guyton, The Rockettes and the cast (Taraji P. Henson, Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Nicole Scherzinger) of the upcoming NBC live production of “Annie” are some of the float toppers. “Music Box” (HBO): “DMX: Don’t Try To Understand” 

END QUOTE: “Black cooking is the engine of what we commonly understand to be American food. And if you want to understand the culture and history of the United States, you need to understand Black cooks and Black food.” – MARCUS SAMUELSSON in “The Rise” 

As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at tastyclips@yahoo.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.

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