“Food brings everyone together,” says Furard Tate, owner of Inspire Food Service Training. And, with that thought in mind, Tate and two colleagues, Erinn Tucker and Andrea “AJ” Johnson, curated the first DMV Black Restaurant Week, Nov. 4-11. Here, Tucker, Ph.D., faculty director of Georgetown University’s graduate program in Global Hospitality Leadership, talks with her co-founders about what they’ve learned in their inaugural year. One exciting trend: The restaurant scene has “definitely pulled away from the really structured and stiff fine dining,” says Johnson, founder of White Plates, Black Faces and the DMV Greenbook. That trend toward fast casual—and a focus on authenticity and serving the immediate neighborhood—is enabling more people with moderate incomes to get involved in the restaurant scene.