DeVonn Francis

The performance artist-turned-chef on immigrant culture, activism, and rethinking what it means to share a meal.


This Conversation appears in Volume Two of our print magazine. You can pick up a copy here or at a stockist near you. It also makes a great gift, so why not buy two? Hell, make it three.

It’s been a year since I started Yardy, which is crazy to me. We do lots of different events: dinner parties, private dinners, things that involve a lot of performance. The hosts and guests who we feature at our events tackle issues of activism—thinking about identity, thinking about sexuality, and also thinking about wellness in a more holistic sense. Our focus isn’t just food, but how food can be a catalyst for a larger experience. It’s an opportunity to talk through things that are important when you’re coming together around an idea or celebration. We ask for our audience to engage with what's in front of them and to think beyond what a normal dinner party is. 

Being a queer person of color plays into the ways I think about events. I wanted to create a space in which people could feel good about having more intimate time together. A place that felt like family or that allowed you to make new connections with people that maybe you wouldn't think you otherwise could. Obviously, restaurants are great, but it’s a very classic way of sitting down. You only engage with the person in front of you. Or the only information you receive is on the menu in front of you. There’s no exchange or value that exists beyond the time you sit down and when you pay your check and leave.