Queer Makers Join Forces for First Queer Kitchen

TanámEllie Tiglao of Tanám. Photo courtesy of Tanám.

Three Cambridge and Somerville chefs have teamed up to host Queer Kitchen, a night of food and music by queer makers that intends to be an alternative space for the queer community.

Owners of Tanám, Tex Mex Eats, and 7ate9 Bakery want to hold an event for the queer community that isn’t focused on alcohol or clubbing.

“Something that I thought would be really cool was to do something called ‘Queer Kitchen,’ which was meant to be something that would bring together people who make food who are queer, and have it be some sort of statement around what it means to queer a kitchen, for it to be different from what we usually hear about kitchen culture being like, and how our identities contribute to what we see as a better kitchen culture,” Ellie Tiglao of Tanám says about her original idea for Queer Kitchen a few years ago. Her restaurant, which is set to open its first brick-and-mortar location in Bow Market this spring, is focused on Filipino-American cuisine and cocktails.

Tex Mex Eats

Amanda Escamilla of Tex Mex Eats. Photo courtesy of Tex Mex Eats.

The owners of 7ate9 Bakery and Tex Mex Eats both say they run their kitchens differently because of their marginalized identities.

“It has an impact on my hiring practices, being a woman, being a person of color, and being queer,” says 7ate9 Bakery Owner Sarah-Beth Chester. “I don’t always see representation in a lot of fields, and I also know that being those minorities in a kitchen comes with a lot of challenges. We have a diverse workplace that brings in diverse foods, it brings in diverse perspectives, it brings in new flavors, it lends itself to the creativity of the kitchen.”

“I try to give people the opportunities that were denied to me based on who I am,” says Cambridge resident Amanda Escamilla, who runs tamale pop-up Tex Mex Eats.

The cooks envision a relaxed environment for Queer Kitchen, where people can sit and listen to music, mingle, and eat good food. They’ve invited four musicians for the event: Black Venus, Quisol, Paper Citizen, and DJ Whysham.

7ate9 Bakery

Mini cheesecakes from 7ate9 Bakery. Photo courtesy of 7ate9 Bakery.

Tanám will offer up spicy kaldereta rice bowls and kabocha and eggplant skewers. Tex Mex Eats will have three types of tamales available: braised pork butt, slow-cooked pinto beans with cheese, and vegan tamales with greens, rainbow Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. 7ate9 Bakery will round out the night with various mini cheesecakes including espresso mocha.

Queer Kitchen will run from 6 to 10 p.m. on April 16 at ONCE Somerville. People can purchase $20 or $60 tickets, or enter for free and buy food a la carte. One-third of each $60 ticket will go to BAGLY, a Boston-area organization benefiting LGBTQ youth.

Reena Karasin is the editor-in-chief of Scout Somerville and Scout Cambridge. Follow her on Twitter @reenakarasin.