Klancy Miller may have formally entered the food world at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where she studied pastry, but she had her first job as a dishwasher at age 15—and her life has been entwined with the industry ever since. In 2016, she published her first cookbook, Cooking Solo: The Fun of Cooking for Yourself, and now, she wants to launch a print biannual dedicated to celebrating Black women in food and wine: For the Culture.
As she writes on the IndieGoGo page where she’s raising the funds to release the first issue, “This project is important to me because I got my first food job when I was 15 and went to culinary school in my early 20s and in all my time reading my favorite food magazines I never saw many women who look like me. Over the past several years I’ve met numerous Black women chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, food stylists, writers, bloggers, bakers, sommeliers, bartenders, food activists, entrepreneurs (and the list goes on) and I want to create a publication and a community that centers our stories and perspectives.”
The idea to put this magazine together came to her two years ago, when she was in talks to put out a special issue of an existing magazine dedicated to Black women. It didn’t come to fruition, but a seed had been planted. “It was a fun process just talking to a lot of writers, meeting a lot of different talented photographers,” she tells me, “and I just thought, Oh well, I’m really enjoying this process and I’m really enjoying hearing people’s ideas, and it’s really fascinating for me as a Black woman to meet so many other Black women who are doing so much and food and wine and beverages, and there’s so many people out here. And so it was a combination of feeling like I just love all these new people, and there’s so much talent and so many ideas, and this should happen.”
Now seemed like the perfect moment to put the idea into action. “Moments in time like Leah Chase passing. Toni Morrison passing, and kind of feeling like, ‘Oh my gosh, there are these icons passing, but then they are also kind of icons in the making and I don’t know—something struck me about the importance of capturing moments and capturing voices while they’re doing vital work. And that quote from Toni Morrison, ‘If there’s a book you want to read, write it,’ right? So that was one part and then also, frankly speaking, feeling like if I don’t do this now, I might not do it.”
The IndieGoGo campaign will be live until early February, with many donation tiers available. If all goes well, For the Culture will be on shelves and in mailboxes in summer 2020.