Once again, in celebration of Black History Month, Immersed is honoring one of The New Century School‘s most loyal and supportive families. The Moselys have been with TNCS for nearly a decade, with one of their now high school–age children having been one of the first graduates of TNCS’s Middle School, and the other (who currently serves as TNCS Student Council President) about to follow suit!
Apart from these amazing distinctions, the Moselys have been stalwart supporters of the school in multiple ways, and they deserve special recognition for the crucial fundraising they have undertaken through the years.
Dad Damian Mosely is founder, owner, and chef of Black-owned and TNCS parent–owned Blacksauce Kitchen, a mobile food business here in Baltimore (at 401 W. 29th St.), established in 2010. Mere mention of their signature homemade biscuits is enough to elicit a Pavlovian drool, and photos are almost unfair, so, sorry (not sorry).
(Need a biscuit? You can schedule an order now for pickup during your specified window!)
Chef Damian is originally from Virginia, and both of his parents grew up in Mississippi, so “I’m pretty southern in my DNA,” he says (hence the biscuits). “I ultimately came here because of my wife’s job. Having lived in a couple cities further north, Baltimore is an appropriate midway point for me, geographically and culturally.”
Blacksauce Kitchen was a natural evolution for Chef Damian: “Blacksauce was born out of my curiosity, my travels, and my family’s generations-long focus on food,” he explained. As for the name, that, he says, is a tribute to the African Diaspora, “the energies and cultures that inspire the food we’re putting out into the world. I’ve spent time in Mississippi and Louisiana, Senegal and Jamaica, Panama and Brooklyn. Blacksauce is a tacit synthesis of those experiences.”
Blacksauce: A True Baltimore Business
As Damian sees it, Blacksauce is more than food purveyorship. It’s a vehicle for active and meaningful engagement in and with the Baltimore community, and it’s not a finite transaction, but an ongoing relationship:
Being a restauranteur here means participating in the city’s economy and participating in a meaningful dialogue with the immediate, surrounding community. I call it a dialogue because it’s actually a back and forth. It’s not the sort of business where we’re sending our end-product out to the world at large but never having a meaningful interface with customers. We’re serving neighbors. We’re collaborating with adjacent businesses. We often know and work alongside the folks who grow our food on one end of the chain as well as the folks who consume it and compost the scraps on the other end.
Blacksauce and TNCS
Chef Damian applies that same relationship approach to TNCS. So just what is it about the school that prompts him to donate so much of his time, energy, and delicious food? “At first it was the simple idea of paying it forward, a creed that I grew up on. But over time I’ve noticed an interesting dynamic that gives me additional satisfaction: Because our business is so local, we’re often serving the teachers, administrators, and coaches who are guiding our kids at their respective schools; then, as our kids get older, those same teachers return to the farmer’s market or the shop and see those kids working, communicating, and serving.”
Past fundraisers have focused on making sure all 8th-graders were able to attend the annual capstone international service learning trip. Without Blacksauce Kitchen, those trips might have been out of reach. Here are some highlights from two recent “Breakfast with Blacksauce” events from November 2021 and May 2020.
There was also that time when Chef Damian took over TNCS lunch to give then-Chef Emma a break. TNCS students thoroughly enjoyed their week of “Biscuits for Lunch“!
Look out this spring for Blacksauce tents around the city at Farmer’s Markets and other events . . . you just might get lucky enough to taste Blacksauce’s own favorite festival plate: jerk flank steak and smoked green beans.