Tonya Hopkins

Tonya Hopkins, a.k.a. The Food Griot, is a Culinary History Consultant, Wine and Spirits Storyteller, Cocktail Cognoscenti and Provider of Nonfiction Food and Drink Narratives across many mediums.

She helped cofound the nonprofit James Hemings Society as an organization and platform to recognize and actively uphold the timeless Black culinary talents that so profoundly shaped the development of fine dining in the Americas. Tonya was the first and only food historian to be featured and appear in episodes of the long-running, daily ABC TV show, “The Chew” and she served as the foremost food historian for the best-selling Celebrity Chef cookbook “Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration.” In the beverage arena, Tonya teaches wine education classes at a Black-owned wine boutique in Brooklyn (Good Wine: A Food Lover’s Wineshop) and creates historically informed, culturally-relevant cocktails for a range of clients, including drink design and wine curation for award-winning chefs seeking her help with what best pairs with their fare for the multi-course meals they're invited to make at the famed James Beard House.

Ms. Hopkins custom-researched and wrote the “African Origins of Beer” narrative prominently displayed onsite at Harlem Hops, the nation’s first 100% African-American owned & operated Craft Beer Bar & Restaurant, in addition to designing its inaugural wine list and creating the flagship cocktails. Tonya serves as the lead Culinary History Advisor for the Old Stone House of Brooklyn’s Food & Public History program where she launched a seasonal spirits sipping series to convey inclusive American history through the “liquidy lenses” of pillar potations (e.g., rum, gin, brandy, American whiskey and bourbon). Tonya is an active Advisor on the Museum of Food & Drink’s (MOFAD) “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table” exhibition and she currently produces and hosts the weekly multi-media show “Savory & Sweet: Food History & Culture”on which is one of just a few Black-owned and operated talk radio stations in the nation.