I could wish you a happy Black History Month; however, “happy” in this instance seems inappropriate. This 28-day month needs a little more gravitas, breadth, richness. I would like to wish you an exuberant Black History Month filled with reflection on the past, introspection on the present and projection for the future. Yes!

To celebrate the month and the continued richness of our community, I will be interviewing some of our notable cooks, chefs, food makers and restaurateurs in Harlem. These people have stories to share and I am curious to know what Black History Month means to them and how they communicate their message through what they do.

This year I celebrate my 18th year in food. It has been no easy feat, but nothing worth it is. Each moment in my career has been a stepping stone to the next one and an opportunity to evaluate my worth, both monetarily and professionally. I imagine this is true for most self-starters who can create great things from nothing.

I have been privileged to meet and talk food and the business of food with world renowned chefs, but there is something so powerful about the food makers of my home of Harlem. From the makers I have met through my writing here, of course, but also through the works of Harlem Park to Park, Harlem Business Alliance, Experience Harlem, Hot Bread Kitchen, to name a few, and as associate producer for Harlem EatUp!, I get to see passion and self-determination of myriad artisans and their impact on their customers and community.

I know this month is mostly to celebrate those spirits who fought for our civil rights, paving the way for our greatness and for that of our future generations. However, there are others who were just doing what they love in spite of all the personal and professional obstacles they faced. This remains true with today’s pioneers as they pursue their dreams and goals.

We are always creating history for ourselves and those around us. As a result, I am calling this series, Harlem Happening History. It will begin with the dynamic chef owner JJ Johnson of the newly opened Fieldtrip. He is doing exceptional things and making great food in the process.

In the coming weeks I will be sitting down with my friend and sister, Harlem’s “born, bred and buttered” Melba Wilson of Melba’s, husband and wife team Skai Young and Chef Raymond Zamanta Mohan of LoLo’s Seafood Shack and more. I am looking forward to it all.

My recent “Happening History” as the culinary producer for “Hot Ones the Game Show” will premiere on Feb. 18th on TruTV. It’s a really hot time on TV!

…Harlem eateries, what’s on your menu this month? Email me and tag us on social media and use #HarlemHappeningHistory.

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback?  Invitations!  Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!