Tiara Darnell is a determined African-American entrepreneur.
Tiara, hailing from Washington, DC, has made history by introducing a taste of home to Mexico City.
She has launched Blaxicocina, the first and only successful soul food restaurant in the bustling capital city, home to over 16 million residents.
A rich tapestry of cultures and generations influenced Tiara’s culinary journey, and her culinary prowess has struck a chord with the Black community and locals alike.
Upon arriving in Mexico City in 2021, Tiara noticed the absence of some seasonings she loved.
Particularly, she noted her beloved Old Bay seasoning, a staple in her hometown of Maryland, was not used.
It was this realization that sparked the idea of opening Blaxicocina.
She knew she could share her cherished family recipes passed down through generations, as reported by DCist.
To recreate the flavors of home at Blaxicocina, Tiara turned to an unexpected source: her mother.
She then imported bulk-sized containers of Old Bay seasoning from Restaurant Depot.
She knew this would help cater to cravings for Old Bay seasoned fries, among other beloved dishes.
Blaxicocina’s menu also features quintessential soul food classics like
- fried chicken
- carrot cake
- sweet tea
Crafting authentic soul food in Mexico came with its unique set of challenges.
She realized the crucial ingredients for traditional recipes were not readily available.
Tiara had to craft cornmeal from scratch painstakingly.
She was forced to adhere to the Mexican methods regarding her cornbread and coatings for fried green tomatoes.
She even collaborated with local farmers.
This was in a bid to cultivate collard greens, a soul food staple not commonly found in Mexico.
Blaxicocina Transcends Its Role As A Mere Soul Food Restaurant
The restaurant has become a focal point for a growing community of Black Americans.
This is especially true for those who have chosen Mexico City as their new home.
The restaurant is closely associated with the “Blaxit” movement, representing a departure from the United States to pursue a better life abroad.
For Tiara, this decision was driven by a desire for a higher quality of life.
She was also motivated to escape from systemic racism.
Tiara’s inclusive approach extends beyond her menu.
She is committed to integrating with the local community by collaborating with Mexican vendors.
She hires local staff and works with local contractors.
She aims to enrich the community rather than exploit it.
By doing this, she fosters cultural exchange and mutual respect.
“Mexico City definitely feels like home. I have a really great community around me. I have friends that are family at this point, and I just feel really connected here, culturally, socially, in a way that I just didn’t in the U.S.”
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You can support Tiara and her restaurant by following them on Instagram @Blaxicocina or visiting their location at Caleta 554, Narvarte Poniente, Benito Juárez, 03023 Ciudad de México, CDMX.