Brown and her son Damon Bomar opened Communion at the end of last year, moving forward with their pre-pandemic plans for a Central District space on the site of the first Black-owned bank in the Pacific Northwest. While in the beginning takeout was the only way to commune with Communion, Brown’s “Seattle Soul” cuisine still met with immediate acclaim, brightening the quarantine holidays and this bizarre new year by gracing tables at homes across the city and beyond.
But Brown’s been cooking since 1993 — including at the beloved, departed Kingfish Cafe — so, she said by phone of the sudden worldwide renown, “It’s exciting — it’s interesting!” She laughed. “You’re working all your freaking adult life, and then, all of the sudden, somebody says ‘the world’? Really. ‘The world.’ And I think it’s so funny.” Condé Nast pays tribute to Communion’s deep roots, noting the historic location as well as Brown’s decades of catering and community work with her company That Brown Girl Cooks!, calling her a “soul food master” and lauding her menu’s global crisscrossing cuisine.
Also on the list: Marcus Samuelsson, for his new Red Rooster Overtown in Miami — meaning Brown is keeping epic company. “I know!” she said and laughed again. “I know! I think that’s pretty awesome.” He’s “an amazing chef” whom, she noted, she’s been following for years, “because he was one of the first Black chefs to get a lot of publicity, which is super sad … just to think that it’s only been under 20 years that Black chefs have been getting recognized in spaces like this.”
Given the systemic factors lined up against Black chefs, Brown says, “It’s my time to shine! I feel super grateful for myself for pushing through. Because I could have quit. And I have quit a couple times. Not successfully!” She laughed.
“But I always … food just keep calling me back.”