About eight months ago, Sharonda Chery had an idea. An idea to break away from the standard night club culture and create a Friday night event that would inspire participants to be the best version of themselves. Her love for all things creative lead to a weekly event called Cuisines & Poetry. The concept might seem simple -- guests read and listen to original poetry while feasting on a different ethnic cuisine every month. But to Chery and her guests, Cuisines & Poetry has become an escape from the doldrums of the real world.
While the poetry fills the room with ideas and motivation, just as much emphasis is put on the food. Chery knows her audience well and has clearly seen that they like to serve up new things to their mind as well as their pallet. Discovering a new food genre, such as Asian Caribbean fusion, immediately feeds a desire for discovery that leads to a higher cultural sense, and the cycle continues. The event is a hit and before the eight installment takes place next Friday, we chatted with Chery about how she came up with the idea, what ways food can change the mood of the room and her message to creative types in the market for a new environment.
New Times: What as the spark that inspired you to create this event?
Sharonda Chery: My love for poetry and the arts and keeping things creative and giving the community different aspects of the arts. It just arose out of my love for it. It's quality entertainment for people who don't necessarily go to clubs or go out to bars. They can enjoy themselves too at a nice event.
Do you try to change the food at each event to showcase different styles?
Yes, every month it is a different cuisine. We try to have smoothing different. This month we are having Asian Caribbean fusion. Last month we had authentic African food, the month before that it was soul food. We do try to keep it different and give people a taste of something they aren't accustomed to or don't normally eat. So we find food vendors personally and we reach out to them so we can open people up to kinds of food that the might not experience otherwise.
Do you think the food also feeds the creativity? Does it effect the mood of the room?
The last show the food definitely did that. It was really, really good and different. I think the different food vendors that come in are inspired as well. They say they never experienced anything like it. Most of my performers as well as my audience love the fact that we change the food every month because they can expect something different. It all feeds off of each other.
What do you want to tell someone who is thinking about going to your event but isn't quite sure yet?
If you are looking for something fun and different and you like to smile and you love to eat and you like to make new friends and network, this would be the place for you. We are going to appeal to your visual senses. Your taste buds, your ears, your mind. You will come for the total body experience and you will leave full of the food and the arts and creativity that take place.
When someone walks away from Cuisines & Poetry. What do you want them to be thinking?
Every time I put on an event, my biggest thought is I want someone to leave inspired. Whatever that means for you. You might not be a poet and you might not be a chef but if you are a painter or if you like to skateboard or if you like to be a mom -- I would love for you to be inspired to be a better whatever it is that you do. Just be better. That's my whole mentality.
Cuisines & Poetry Takes Place Friday, June 6th and the first Friday of every month at Midtown Art Gallery located at 1033 Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. $10 for entry for two before 9 p.m., $10 a person after 9 p.m. Food is $10 a plate. For more information, visit facebook.com/cuisinesNpoetry or call 954-278-0153
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.