Diaspora Kitchen + Provisions is an engine for local agricultural economies. We believe that both ends of the food chain -- farmers and consumers both -- deserve to be supported and encouraged to participate in the production of food. To that end we seek out farmers who work well with the land, using minimally intensive practices, and growing varieties of produce with names and histories that are fascinating and occassionally ridiculous (I mean, Cosmonaught Volkov Tomatoes? RUSSIAN SPACE TOMATOES?!). On the other end, we're not only looking to use methods that preserve the flavors and characters of this produce, but also provide our community with the skills and education to do the same. We believe strongly that everyone has the capacity to do amazing things in the kitchen, and we want to not only showcase what is possible, but help others in their journey to do the same.
Stephen Wade has a foot in both the food systems world and the specialty coffee realm. He has his bachelors degree in City Planning and History from UC Berkeley, where he was involved with a host of activities, running a farmers market on the Berkeley campus and managing a kitchen in the University co-op housing environment. Following graduation, Stephen became a wholesale assistant and wearer of many hats at Barefoot Coffee Roasters, a cult specialty coffee roaster in the San Francisco Bay Area. After two years, he spent some time working in specialty coffee shops, from Local 123 in Berkeley, CA to Coffee Commissary in West Hollywood, CA, and consulted on a number of café projects – including developing the pop-up Faygele Baking Co. Diaspora Dinner Party. In the summer of 2011, Stephen moved to NYC to get his master's in Food Studies, Nutrition and Public Health at New York University. While there, he interned with Shuna Lydon, then at Peel’s Restaurant, and with the team at Brooklyn Grange, one of the innovators of urban rooftop agriculture in the nation. He has spent two years on the team of quality evaluators at Craft Coffee , further applying the skills he learned at Barefoot. He consulted for the group Good Profit in New Rochelle, NY, providing community outreach, backgrounders, and research for a food hub conceptualization and redevelopment of the Naval Armory owned by the city. Throughout, Stephen has stayed involved with the specialty coffee world, working with the opening team at Toby’s Estate NYC, and now still with the team at Everyman Espresso. His research and work has looked extensively at both systems of hospitality and their role in food systems more broadly, seeing how the needs of all stakeholders – from farmers and growers to employees to customers and the environments they live in – can be met through innovation and warmth. He currently resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC with an ever-growing affinity for electronic dance music, classic spycraft novels, and ceramics, along with his partner in love and life, T'ai Chu-Richardson.
T'ai Chu-Richardson grew up surrounded by the smells of garlic, ginger, and scallions. Defoliating his parents' herb and vegetable gardens from a young age, he became a quick believer in the value of fresh, organically grown ingredients, home cooking, imaginative use of flavor, and skilled execution. He currently resides in Brooklyn and is extremely opinionated about everything.