Born and raised in Philadelphia, Chef Kurt Evans found his culinary spark cooking southern style dishes, alongside his grandmothers as a child. Since then, he’s gone on to hone his skills in some of Philadelphia’s most esteemed kitchens. In 2017, Kurt decided to use his culinary skills to rally his community around ending mass incarceration.

Chef Kurt Evans

A member of Vetri Community Partnership’s Chef’s Circle, Chef Kurt took a few minutes to chat with us about his love of cooking, what it means to be a member of the Chef’s Circle, and his newest restaurant endeavor, Black Dragon.

Tell us about yourself and your life as a chef.

KE: My culinary journey has been one of passion, learning, and community. Cooking for me is not just about the food; I use food as a vehicle to share stories, and make connections. 

What is your favorite thing to cook?

That’s always a tough question! If I had to choose, it would be anything that allows for creativity and seasonal ingredients. I love dishes that tell a story, whether it’s a modern twist on a classic or something entirely new. 

VCP: Can you tell us a little bit more about Black Dragon?

KE: Black Dragon offers traditional Black American food through the aesthetics of classic Chinese American Takeout. Black Dragon is more than a restaurant; it’s a concept that looks to bring revenue and invest in community. This means continuing the practice of employing formerly incarcerated individuals as well as ensuring that the people from the restaurant’s immediate community are provided with opportunities for employment.

Dishes from Black Dragon

VCP: What can we expect to see from Black Dragon in the future?

KE: Looking ahead, we aim to expand pop ups and collaborative dinners with chefs & restaurants to get the brand more recognition. 

VCP: What does being a member of the Chef’s Circle mean to you? 

KE: Being a Member of the Chef’s Circle: It’s an honor and a responsibility. Being part of the Chef’s Circle is about leadership, mentorship, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the culinary world. It’s a platform to share knowledge, champion sustainability, and inspire the next generation of chefs.  

VCP: And finally, a question we ask everyone: if you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?

KE: I’d be a Collard Green – versatile, resilient, and a bit unexpected. Collards have depth, they’re adaptable, and for me they represent my culture, and I love to rep my culture every chance I get! 

Thank you, Chef Kurt, for chatting with us and for being a member of the Chef’s Circle! We can’t wait to get our hands on some Black Dragon.