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Vegas family create pay-it-forward free meal giveaway to support black-owned restaurants

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Posted at 2:06 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 08:58:59-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Noir Culinary Experience organizers announce a new initiative to bolster Black-owned restaurants that have been hardest hit during the pandemic while helping to feed those in need.

Emika and Jessica Porter along with mom, Deborah Porter, created a “Stir Up the Holidays” Pay-it-Forward Free Meal giveaway.

The concept is to have people go into a participating restaurant and purchase as many meal certificates as they want, in any dollar amount (with a minimum of $20 each).

Anyone in need of a meal, can come in and use that paid certificate to obtain an item(s) from the menu.

Meal certificates are good for 30-days.

Several Black-owned eateries valley-wide have joined the list of participating pay-it-forward restaurants as a means of attracting customers.

Most see this as another stop-gap solution to help sustain their business, like curbside pick-up and take-out services. Many Black-owned restaurants missed out on grant monies from the Restaurants Act and the Stabilization Fund.

One of the participating restaurants said they did not qualify for grant money because they opened their business in March 2019, just as the pandemic hit – despite having fifteen years’ experience.

Noir Culinary Experience is reimagining events with smaller, more intimate group settings with social distance seating and mandatory mask-wearing.

The events serve to connect Las Vegas Black chefs, cooks & Black-owned restaurants & local foodies with an element of soul and culture that is steeped in creative ambiance.

Mom Deborah Porter, states, “Our primary goal is to support lesser-known Black chefs, cooks and Black-owned restaurants, who are seeking opportunities to showcase their talent and earn a living.”

The all-women team creates a different theme each month where everyone wears ALL black everything. The group selects a unique outdoor or open-air location that is revealed 24-hours before the event. Much like Diner en Blanc, Noir guests bring their own table, black chairs, black linens, stemware, and cutlery.

Meal service begins with the chef’s story and the introduction of their specially prepared and often locally sourced menu. The Blacklist is open to everyone here.

Noir events are on hiatus until Feb. 2021; however, they are planning to replicate their cultural soirees in Oakland, California, and Austin, Texas, in 2021, with hopes of carving out a small slice of the $279 billion annual foodservice industry.

Deborah Porter spent over twenty years in the event industry including several years as a Senior Event Planner for Wells Fargo Bank. The oldest daughter Emika has worked for over fifteen years in social services.