A local restaurant enthusiast is shining the light on Culture and Cuisine in the DMV

Written by Staff Writer-Blog Events Now

Keiristin Wilbert, Founder, and Creator of Bacon & Bellini Explore the Culture and Cuisine in an engaging documentary style, which, featuring the top chefs, restaurants, cafés, bakeries, and food trucks in the community. As, a restaurant Enthusiast, Foodie, and Food Writer, Keiristin, founded, Bacon & Bellini in 2017 to highlight excellent restaurants. Keiristin credentials can be credited to being a member of YELP Elite DC for six years.

In the summer of 2020, Keiristin and her cousin Melissa started the online marketplace Cast Iron Skillet, www.shopcastironskillet.com, in response to the demand in the community to find and support Black-owned companies, particularly Black-owned food goods. Cast Iron Skillet strives to be the number one source for Black-owned grocery merchandise in the United States. The goal of Cast Iron Skillet is to provide a single platform for Black-owned food businesses to advertise their products to the rest of the world.

As the creator of Bacon & Bellini, Keiristin believes the perfect life is one in which one spends time doing things that provide happiness while also having time to help others and their community. Through helping others, Bacon and Bellini offer a range of services such as Restaurant Assessments, Restaurant Consultations, and Restaurant Tour Guru services.

We had the opportunity to learn more about, Bacon & Bellini during our Q&A, with Keiristin Wilbert.

Q: Tell us about Bacon & Bellini.  How did the name come about?

A: My name is Keiristin Wilbert and I created Bacon & Bellini in 2017 because it represents two of the things I love the most…..food and drink.  It is also a perfect representation of brunch.  Bacon & Bellini began as a restaurant review blog.   Think of Bacon & Bellini as a restaurant tour guide.  I tell you all of the best restaurants to visit for brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert!  I have also been an actual restaurant tour guide for musicians during their concert tours.

“Bacon & Bellini Explores Culture and Cuisine” is the name of my culinary adventure TV show.  I selected that name because I am taking my viewers on an adventure to discover the best restaurants in America.  While we are eating, we learn about the culture of the area.  You will notice during each episode, I accentuate the cultural uniqueness of the restaurant.  Many times, that appears in the artwork displayed on the screen. 

Q: Tell us about the mission behind Bacon & Bellini?

A: Bacon & Bellini’s mission is to highlight the best of chefs, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and food trucks.  One goal is to shine a light on worthy restaurants that are often overlooked by larger publications.  In the past two years, Bacon & Bellini has featured mostly Black-Owned Restaurants.

Season 1 of my tv show “Bacon & Bellini Explores Culture and Cuisine” featured all Black-owned restaurants, a Black-owned food truck, a Black-owned bakery, and a Black-owned chocolate factory.  I wanted to show people that these are excellent restaurants.  Notice I said excellent restaurants….not excellent Black-owned restaurants.   While it is great to acknowledge that the restaurants are Black-owned, I believe some restaurants deserve the title of BEST…that’s it.

Q: Prior to the Pandemic, how were you able to build your brand?

A: I build my brand organically.  I personally visit each restaurant.  I personally taste food and interview chefs and owners.  I get to know each place I write about on a personal level.  I also attended restaurant-related events, lectures, conferences, and festivals.

Q: As CEO of your company, what are some challenges that you face?

A: Funding is a major challenge.  I did not charge any of the restaurants that I have featured on my TV show.  They all appeared free of charge.  In order to continue to produce my tv show, Bacon & Bellini needs funding, sponsorship, and Patreon supporters.

Q: Could you share with us the importance of a food critic?

A: A food critic is similar to a quality control expert or a building inspector.  Food critics make sure restaurants provide the food and service that they promise to deliver at standards set by governing organizations.

Q: The pandemic has affected many restaurant industries.  What is some advice you would give to someone who wants to be a food critic during this time? 

A: I do not consider myself a food critic.  I am a food enthusiast.   I highlight delicious food and unique restaurant concepts.   A food critic visits all restaurants, even the chain restaurants that are familiar to us all.   I would say, however, that patience is needed to be a food critic.  You must have an open mind.  You also must be very knowledgeable about food preparation, food storage, restaurant management, and more.

Q: The DMV is slowly becoming a foodie arena.  What is the difference between a food critic and a foodie?

A: An analogy is the best way to answer this question.  Let’s think of it in terms of sports.   A foodie is like a sports fan.  A food critic is like a sports commentator. Foodies have their favorite restaurants just as sports fans have their favorite teams.  Foodies have and state their food and restaurant preferences openly.   Food critics must be much more diplomatic when speaking about restaurants and when visiting restaurants.  Food critics also have specific questions to answer and guidelines to follow when reviewing restaurants.

Q: What are some of your favorite restaurants you have interviewed?  How were they able to gain traction from your business?

A: All of the restaurants featured in Season 1 of Bacon & Bellini Explores Culture and Cuisine are my favorites. (Shameless plug).  All episodes are available on-demand on the Taste On TV app www.tasteontv.com and replay at various times during the week on the Taste On TV network.  That gives these restaurants lots of exposure all over the world.

Q: Events and food tend to go hand in hand.  Could you share with us how an event curator would benefit from Bacon & Bellini?

A: To invite Bacon & Bellini to your event is to certify your event as a major event that foodies need to attend.  Bacon & Bellini does an excellent job of creating the idea of FOMO (fear of missing out).  When people see my event recap reels, they often send messages stating that they “wish they had attended” or “OMG looks like you had so much fun!” 

Q: Your interview with KitchenCray was insightful.  As a minority-owned business, why is it important to support one another?

A: We must support each other because we must validate ourselves.  We are great because WE KNOW we are great.  We do not need to wait for someone else (outside of our communities) to acknowledge our greatness.  

We need to support those restaurants.  More support from the community and surrounding cities could result in their expansion, remodeling, and just growing in general.  Our local restaurants need our support. 

Q: How can we get in touch with Bacon & Bellini? 

A: I am on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube @Baconandbellini     

Q: Is there a website to learn more about Bacon & Bellini?

A: Of course, Bacon & Bellini began as a website before joining social media, and before the TV show. Visit www.baconandbellini.com

For up to the minute links visit https://baconandbellini.com/important-links/ 

To purchase Bacon & Bellini merchandise, visit https://baconandbellini.com/shop/

Watch Season 1 of Bacon & Bellini Explores Culture and Cuisine here Bacon & Bellini Season 1

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