LIFESTYLE

What Hospitality Means To Kia Damon

What Hospitality Means To Kia Damon || Kia Damon has maintained her career as a food truck line cook, executive chef, IGTV host and founder of the Kia Feeds the People Project, a non-profit agency that partners with producers , retailers and supplies suppliers to provide Brooklynites with free delivery boxes and pantry items that have difficulty finding nutritious balanced meals. Nevertheless, behind the scenes, Damon is juggling her diet and wellbeing relationship amid the protests of the pandemic and continuing Black Lives Matter.

Bustle talked to Damon, 26, about how she’s shifting her perception of hospitality during this turbulent season.

Food and I have a pretty complicated relationship. I do enjoy it in the technical context. To him I can be creative. Manipulate them. Using it to bring smiles on the faces of the men. I struggle with body confidence and IBS in my personal life and I continually strive to maintain a healthier relationship with myself with what I eat. For that sense it is hard as hell to be a chef.

I started resenting food when I was in quarantine, because everything hurt my stomach.

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#WhatsUpWithKiasGut, a candid view of my Instagram experience with IBS, is about making care of what I put in my body. I’m not doing that with the negative mentality that sometimes comes with health and diet fads, but as someone who enjoys eating ice cream and knows I mightn’t want to. It’s not just what’s known as “junk food” that hurts my stomach, either — sometimes it’s pasta or salad. Often, it’s heat, no matter what’s on my plate. I got into the habit of paying more attention to food, and felt free to learn new things to eat while listening to my body.

I can not fix a whole discriminatory structure that means that the only way to get local food is from the corner store, and I certainly can’t do that overnight.

What Hospitality Means To Kia Damon
What Hospitality Means To Kia Damon

Taking stock of my wellbeing when in quarantine doesn’t mean that I immediately have the freedom to eat during the day, so I’m trying to use what’s in the pantry instead of throwing everything out. I make it a point when making meals to ensure nothing goes to waste, such as converting scraps and carcasses into stocks of vegetables and meat. This creativity is a key component of what I called the battle meal, which is all about repurposing what you already have in the fridge — the epitome of the saying, “We’ve got food at home.” You can create anything from everything.

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It is in this way of thinking that I look at food through a political prism. I make sure my people feed as they put themselves on the front lines. I spent days riding meals with my mates directly to Black and QTPOC demonstrators. Currently, in the hope of battling food poverty in downtown Brooklyn and the surrounding area, I am working on getting back my Supper Club From Nowhere and launching the Kia Feeds People Project. I can not fix a whole discriminatory structure that means that the only way to get local food is from the corner store, and I certainly can’t do that overnight.

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What Hospitality Means To Kia Damon
What Hospitality Means To Kia Damon

All I should do is make sure the black people get good-ass product boxes. I’m aiming to make monthly deliveries as of now, and maybe with enough support and hands, we can do it twice a month. I always learn about the free breakfast program of the Black Panther Party, and keep up-to – date with the programs some of my peers are doing. For my anxiety, there was a lot of meditation involved but also on what it means to be in this line of work.

This is sort of hospitality. We have to serve our people and serve our culture, and I know that it doesn’t have to destroy me, even though it can be demanding task. Most of the work was done before and is now being performed by progressive farmers and fellow chefs. I feel fortunate to follow in their footsteps and have the experience to bear the torch for myself. Awareness allows for self-preservation.

 

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