TenTalks 2021 focuses on food entrepreneurs building community

The 2021 TenTalks event, a favorite of Eastern Mennonite University’s Homecoming and Family Weekend, moves to a new, larger campus venue this year. Join us Saturday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. in Suter Science Center 106 for 10-minute talks with food entrepreneurs Oz Blackaller ‘06, Kirsten Moore ‘93, and Kaleb Wyse ‘10. They’ll talk about their work and community-building with food in three different areas of the country.

View the livestream of this event on the EMU Facebook page; recordings will also be available after the event. You do not need a Facebook account to view the livestream.

Oz Blackaller: Let Food Bring Us Together

Oz Blackaller is a husband, father, chef, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Mexico, Chef Oz moved from Virginia to San Diego in 2009 with his growing family, determined to leave his mark on the culinary world. He owns, operates, and creates dishes for his University Heights-based DeNada Kitchen and Market, formerly known as Cueva Bar. He has been featured on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” and on “CHOPPED” where he was praised by Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli for his unorthodox cooking skills and his delicious chimichurri. His eatery has gained mentions for Best Empanadas and Best Tapas in San Diego.

Check out more at www.denadakitchenandmarket.com.

Kirsten Moore: Good Food, Good Neighbors: The Intentional Work of Nourishing Our Community

Kirsten Moore opened Magpie, a diner-inspired restaurant and bakery, and The Perch at Magpie, a coworking space, in July 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. Both businesses are located in a newly renovated auto service building adjacent to downtown Harrisonburg. An entrepreneur and food writer with a background in design and marketing, Moore says that Magpie is the culmination of many aspects of her career and synthesis of her passions. 

Check out Magpie Diner’s website and Facebook page.

Moore worked in marketing and business development for higher education, architecture and banking, and taught graphic design as an adjunct professor. Her entrepreneurial journey started as a founding member of Woodland Montessori School as a simple way to solve her own childcare problems. After years of throwing epic backyard parties of her own, she went on to found Taste. A Food Company, a special event catering company–that grew her reputation as a creative force and in the food community. After selling the company to an employee in 2016, she co-founded the pop-up dinner series Sub Rosa Supper Club. Sub Rosa has over 2,500 members and has been featured in Virginia Living Magazine

The Perch (formerly known as The Hub Coworking) was a spinoff opportunity from some of her business development work. She is a trained CoStarters facilitator, frequent guest speaker, and serves on several boards including Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. If you ask her, there is always another project up her sleeve.

Kaleb Wyse: Gathering for Food, Virtually

Kaleb Wyse is the fourth generation to live on his family farm in Iowa. With a business and accounting background, he started the lifestyle blog and YouTube channel “The Wyse Guide” as an outlet for his passions in the garden and in the kitchen. His Facebook page has 465,000 followers.  

Wyse’s goal is to show visitors how they too can start a garden, no matter the size; preserve the food; and create a meal and the home they love to live in. With his website, he hopes to inspire folks to start projects and to cook, “to gain some new ideas and receive the encouragement you need to enjoy the seasons to the fullest.”

Portions of this article were contributed by the speakers.