Legendary chef Marcus Samuelsson will begin traveling across the United States to showcase the culinary history of Black-owned restaurants in a new mini-series entitled “You Have to Taste This”.  In one episode, Samuelsson will interview and visit renowned Atlanta vegan restaurant chain Slutty Vegan. The new docu-series will provide insight to viewers about the future of plant-based cooking in the South and how pioneers such as Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole are challenging the traditional dining experience.

The upcoming episodic docu-series will follow Samuelsson’s dining experiences at restaurants in Atlanta, Miami, and Washington D.C., giving viewers the opportunity to learn about Black cuisine in America, ranging from Southern styles to Caribbean cuisines. The award-winning chef’s docuseries will be supported by Pepsi through the company’s 'Pepsi Dig In' campaign which is dedicated to supported Black-owned restaurants across the US.

The beginning of the series will take place in the Southern US, spotlighting the vegan entrepreneur and her growing Slutty Vegan empire in Atlanta. Cole’s vegan empire has rapidly become a staple in Atlanta, expecting to begin growing across the entire South. Samuelsson will feature the vegan classics that propelled Cole’s Slutty Vegan to its status, giving the new docuseries

“It is long past time to recognize Black excellence in the culinary world. I’m thrilled to partner with Pepsi Dig In to highlight the cultural history and diverse deliciousness of so many incredible Black-owned restaurants,” Samuelsson said.

The Pepsi Dig In campaign aims to generate $100 million in sales for Black-owned businesses across the United States. The company hopes to help the businesses and restaurants recover from the financial hardships that occurred following the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign will also provide the business owners with several resources to help jumpstart the businesses that experience negative consequences due to the nationwide shutdown including mentorship, services, and training.

“With this series for Pepsi Dig In, we wanted to bring Black-owned restaurants to the forefront by honing in on the unique stories behind the food they serve,” Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of PepsiCo Beverages North America (South Division) Chauncey Hamlett said. “Marcus’ expertise and experience made him the perfect host to bring these stories to light, and we’ve only just scratched the surface. We hope that viewers are inspired to visit these restaurants and discover their next favorite dish.”

This is not the first time that Pepsi and Slutty Vegan have crossed paths. Earlier this year, the PepsiCo Foundation and the National Urban League launched The Black Restaurant Accelerator Program with Slutty Vegan as one of its initial recipients. The coalition’s program set out to distribute $10 million to Black-owned businesses across 12 US cities. The money, divided among 500 Black restaurants owners, is intended to help solve the financial disparity exposed by the pandemic.

“Black businesses and consumers are among the key contributors to the economic strength of our nation, and they deserve equal recognition and support for the vital role they play in our communities,” President and CEO of the National Urban League Marc Morial said at the time. “We are proud to partner with The PepsiCo Foundation on a matter of crucial importance that helps business owners and addresses one of the critical economic disparities impacting Black communities.”

Chef Samuelsson plans to also compose the very first all-vegan Met Gala dinner this September. Tasked by Vogue Editor-in-Chief and event organizer Anna Wintour, Samuelsson is preparing to bring a vegan twist on the modern American dining experience. The renowned chef hired several highly qualified chefs to develop an innovative, delicious, and plant-based menu including Fariyal Abdullahi, Emma Bengtsson, Lazarus Lynch, Nasim Alikhani, Junghyn Park, Thomas Raquel, Erik Ramirez, Simone Tong, Sophia Roe, and Fabian von Hauske.

“They represent what the food scene in New York today looks like … what the next generation of food looks like, tastes like, where it lives,” Samuelsson told Bon Appetit. “We thought it was important to really talk about what’s present, what’s happening — how food is changing in America. We want to be the future of American food, of plant-based food. That conversation is happening now.”

Before the Met Gala on September 13, viewers can begin watching Samuelsson’s “You Have to Taste This” show starting on August 18. The docu-series will be available on the Pepsi Dig In social media accounts (@PepsiDigIn) as well as the chef’s personal Youtube Channel.

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