Etel Wagner is Chef/Owner of Bayleaf Diaspora Kitchen

Narrative from original post:

Etel: “As far back as my college days, cooking for others and seeing them enjoy my creations has been one of my greatest joys. I have considered opening my own restaurant, bakery, café, or anything food related, but there was always a reason not to take the plunge. At first, I thought I was too inexperienced and the endeavor too ambitious. By the time I had some culinary experience under my belt, my hands were full raising three children. Even after the kids were no longer kids, I was still daunted by the necessary risks to open a place of my own. My family and I would be putting everything on the line, and I am not one to gamble.

Then, in March of this year, while my husband and I were visiting our daughter in Spain, coronavirus hit. Seemingly overnight, the service industry was turned upside down and my restaurant manager job could no longer provide the stability it did before. Basically, I had run out of reasons not to try bringing my dream business to life. After the initial shutdown in March, I came to realize that these times of stress and isolation presented an opportunity to connect with people through food, specifically, comfort foods made to be enjoyed in the safety of their home.

That is how Bayleaf Diaspora Kitchen (BDK) came to be. My menu is my way of celebrating the cultures and foods of the people I love—many of whom, like myself, immigrated to the United States. Each week brings a new menu item alongside some favorites that I keep on rotation. The changing menu keeps me on my toes while still offering the BDK dishes that my customers have come to love, such as the smoked turkey leg Jambalaya and the Feijoada. To see the latest calendar-menu, check out this month’s offerings on Facebook @bayleaf diaspora kitchen.”

Lexington in the Time of COVID-19 is an artwork about people practicing social distancing at a time of a deadly virus. And also offering kindness.

Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova capture photographs at the periphery of American culture, where drag queens, discarded couches, and abandoned motel signs exist.