Caroline Randall Williams Explores Both the Known and Untold History of Black Food in America in new discovery+ Series Hungry for Answers
The Four-episode Series is Executive Produced by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s Juvee Productions in Partnership With B17 Entertainment and Begins Streaming on Wednesday, June 8th
Caroline Randall Williams is a scholar, award-winning writer, restaurateur and cookbook author with a penchant for asking hard questions to get to the truth of the matter. In the new discovery+ series Hungry for Answers, executive produced by JuVee Productions, Williams travels the country uncovering the fascinating, essential, and often untold Black stories behind some of America’s classic and emblematic food and spirits. From the spicy, crisp flavors of Nashville Hot Chicken to the warm, dulcet taste of Tennessee Whiskey, Williams is out to uncover the origin stories of these quintessential American offerings, as well as surface the truth when it comes to the equity, or in most cases inequity, regarding the recognition and reward, and lack thereof, for the true founding contributors throughout history. Hungry for Answers is a food show but it is not just a food show, it is a Black food show with an ambitious endeavor to serve up a healthy dose of history with each delicious bite and sip explored. All four episodes of the series will be available to stream on discovery+ beginning Wednesday, June 8th.
“All of the greatest moments of vulnerability, conversations and discourse about social, political, lifestyle issues have taken place in our kitchen. The joy of food is like home. When many people are sharing together it is the most powerful tool for connection. I met Caroline Randall Williams on the set of The Help in 2010 and knew she was special. Not only as a cook but as a journalist and critical thinker. She pitched Julius and I her idea of this revelatory cooking show. We are both thrilled to invite her into the JuVee family,” said Viola Davis.
Added Williams, “Hungry for Answers is so many dreams of mine come true – a call and response opportunity to do some question asking, some truth telling, some good eating and fine drinking. I can’t wait to share this wild, spicy, complicated and delicious adventure with an audience!”
In the first episode, Williams sets out to answer the question ‘Who gets to cook Black food?’ It’s a complicated question that finds her delving into the rich history of Nashville, Tennessee’s most famous dish, Hot Chicken. A visit with her mother and grandmother kicks off the conversation as her journey includes uncovering why this now famous dish, with origins traced back to one family, has seen its popularity explode but remains primarily profitable for White-owned hot chicken empires. In another episode, Williams explores the less than sweet history of sugar – from slavery, to convict leasing, to ultimately how it impacts the human body. She travels to Sugarland, Texas and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to dig into the truth and along the way makes some intriguing discoveries including finding a group of determined beekeepers on a mission to change the way their community thinks about sweet treats. Additional episodes explore the history of Jack Daniels Whiskey, spotlighting Nathan ‘Nearest’ Green, a slave and first known African-American master distiller who ultimately taught Jack Daniels how to distill Tennessee Whiskey thus setting the course for the Jack Daniels Whiskey empire, as well as the history of Black farmers in America and how systemic marginalization impacted the availability of quality foods, with Williams meeting some of the Black farmers making an impact in their community.
“Hungry for Answers is ground-breaking in its pursuit of difficult conversations surrounding origins of food,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network and Streaming Food Content, Discovery Inc. “This exceptional discovery+ series showcases Caroline Randall Williams’ bold and forthright mission to explore the complicated backstory of popular dishes.”
Caroline Randall Williams is a multi-genre writer, educator, performance artist based in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is a Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University. She is co-author of the NAACP Image Award-winning cookbook “Soul Food Love.” Her debut collection of poetry, “Lucy Negro, Redux” has also been turned into a ballet by the Nashville Ballet – Caroline performed her poetry as an integral member of the cast, all set to an original score by multiple-GRAMMY nominee Rhiannon Giddens. Named by Southern Living as “One of the 50 People changing the South,” and ranked by The Root as one of the 100 most influential African Americans of 2020, the Cave Canem fellow has been published and featured in multiple journals, essay collections and news outlets, including The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, Cherry Bombe, Garden & Gun, Essence, and the New York Times.
Hungry for Answers is produced by B17 Entertainment and JuVee Productions for discovery+.
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