What does racial equity and inclusion actually feel and look like? Some of these shifts in culture cannot be quantified. One way that we’ve embedded racial equity into the “look and feel” of our culture is through food. Within a white institutional cultural context where dominant culture is prioritized, the choices we make around food are a manifestation of our intentional racial equity practice. What is deemed acceptable for a corporate lunch, versus what is considered “exotic” or “ethnic,” and why? Why would a turkey sandwich be more acceptable than biryani for an organizational event? These are the types of questions that we have dug into to consider how we might shift from prioritizing dominant white culture.

Over the last year, we started looking for real-time opportunities to better align internally with our programmatic focus by supporting businesses owned by people of color. We’ve learned a lot in the process. For more on our learnings read our decolonizing lunch series: Part I and Part II.

For your convenience, several Living Cities staff have compiled a list of tried and true caterers and restaurants owned or operated by people of color. The bulk of them are in NYC and Washington, DC, with a few added options in cities where we have worked. Next time you have a company event, we hope this resource can be useful for you.