A Peek into Chef Works’ Partnerships: Dr. Lezli Levene Harvell of the Iconoclast Dinner Experience

What do an award-winning event series, food, and culture have in common? For Dr. Lezli Levene Harvell, founder of the Iconoclast Dinner Experience, it’s the pursuit of equal representation.

Dr. Lezli Levene Harvell created the Iconoclast Dinner Experience in 2015 to create high-touch culinary experiences and meaningful content that explore culture through food. She also uses the platform to celebrate talented culinarians of color.

courtesy VW Photography

IDE’s signature event, the Iconoclast Dinner, is unlike any other. Held at the James Beard House in New York City, guests gather to enjoy a multi-course meal and drinks prepared by a global team of culinary, wine, and spirits trailblazers of color.

But the Iconoclast Dinner is more than a dinner party.

“There’s an intimacy in my events,” shares Dr. Harvell. “All of my events are very small — between 50-60 people. That’s important to me because it’s not just about this amazing, beautiful dinner. It’s a one-of-a-kind thing, a chance for the artist and the audience consuming the art to connect with each other.”

As a first generation Jamaican American, Dr. Harvell also uses the Iconoclast Dinner to support the higher education of women from Jamaica and African countries. Proceeds benefit a scholarship made in Dr. Harvell’s name at Spelman College, her alma mater.

courtesy Jocelyn Fille

She has also collaborated with the Farm Insitute & Slough Farm on Martha’s Vineyard to create a female-focused event called ‘The King is Dead.’ This event allows early-in-career female chefs of color the opportunity to work with local farmers and create a farm-to-table menu. “It’s almost like a retreat in the sense that they’ve never worked together before. They tour the farms, meet with the farmers, and understand each farm’s approach to their work.”

“I consider chefs to be original influencers of food. For them to take that experience to their own sphere of influence of how to work with local farmers is aspirational. That particular event is a unique way to bring women together, highlight them, teach them, and have fun.”

At the center of these events is the undeniable partnership that Dr. Harvell and the Iconoclast Dinner Experience team have with Chef Works.

“If you’ve seen any media or if you’ve looked at any pictures, all of our chef’s coats and aprons are all Chef Works apparel,” Dr. Harvell says, “They make us look so good. We have one particular look at the James Beard House, and we have a particular look at our farm events, and all of them look great and unique. At our New York City event, the chefs wear a coat, and at our other events, the chefs wear an apron. And at the New York City event, that’s the event where we honor chefs with Chef Works’ coats! So they’ve just been amazing partners to have.”

This year’s Iconoclast Dinner is happening June 10, 2023 at the James Beard House in New York. Ticket’s go on sale March 10, 2023. Click here to secure your spot!

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