A culinary renaissance is occurring before our eyes. After generations of historical marginalization, black chefs across New York City are finally being recognized for their industry-leading talent. Exactly 100 years after the Harlem Renaissance birthed a crop of African-American musicians, artists, authors, and academics acclaimed for their excellence, food creators of color are leading a similar era of innovation today.

‘Chef’ not ‘Cook’: The Process to Plate is a photo series that captures the story of eight industry-leading African-American chefs. Heavily influenced by the African and Caribbean diasporas, these black culinary artists are impacting gastronomy through their food, voice, and cultural authenticity. For generations, dishes associated with black food were excluded from the discourse of fine American dining. Leveraging the significant contributions of black chefs before them, the current generation of chefs is evolving the historical narrative of black food into the pantheon of global cuisine.

The goal of this series is to give viewers an intimate look into the stories of elite minority chefs. The exhibit reveals a close-knit community that collaborates and uplifts each other through a unique bond of kinship. Food transcends race, class, and gender, leaving an enduring legacy. Black food creators are an integral part of America’s culinary history, and ‘Chef’ not ‘Cook’: The Process to Plate is a capsule that captures the breadth of this contemporary renaissance.

Artist Bios

  • Brendan ‘FotoDiaspora’ Miller

    My name is Brendan Miller (FotoDiaspora on IG), I’m from White Plains, NY, and I’m the son of a South Bronx native and a Trinidadian immigrant. I’ve been taking pictures on trips across the globe for my entire adult life, but the pandemic changed my photography journey. I used the additional time to enroll in a photography class offered through the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), where I learned about photo history, editing, and framing techniques. I began shooting candid street photography and instantly fell in love. My work has been featured in Docu Magazine, Anthology, and recognized by countless other print organizations. During the summer of 2023, I decided to expand my focus to documentary storytelling. I designed a series entitled ‘Chef’ not ‘Cook’: The Process to Plate, which captures the story of eight industry-leading chefs of color. The title is a nod to the historical marginalization of BIPOC food creators who were labeled as ‘cooks’ but denied the esteemed title ‘chef.’

    For my work on this series I have been selected as a finalist by Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year for the 2024 James Beard Foundation Photography Award.

    This journey has taken me to chefs’ homes, gardens, family gatherings, farms, and so much more. I’ve also conducted hours of interviews to document each subject in their voice. This beautiful project encapsulates my love of food and photography in a way that’s deeply personal. I can’t wait for the world to see this work.


  • The Seaport

    The Seaport

    The Seaport is New York City’s original neighborhood, a maritime hub of history, culture, entertainment, and dining, located along the East River in Lower Manhattan. The neighborhood celebrates emerging and resident artists, local organizations, and community connectivity through its curated events & activations, including its public art program, Seaport Arts.

  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

‘Chef’ not ‘Cook’: The Process to Plate

 coming soon

Featuring: Brendan ‘FotoDiaspora’ Miller

Curated by: Brendan ‘FotoDiaspora’ Miller

Presented by: The Seaport and Photoville
  • The Seaport
  • Photoville


View Location Details The South Street Seaport

23 Fulton Street, as well as windows on the corner of Fulton & Front Streets
New York, NY 10038

Number 68 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map

This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings