Celebrity chef Marvin Woods brings the World Premiere of his signature cuisine, “Coastal Soul” to Downtown Atlanta at Asante Restaurant and Lounge. The restaurant features Woods’ unique genre of culinary art that pulls from his decades of experience cooking, traveling and studying global influence of the African Diaspora. “Coastal Soul Cuisine,” is coming together of the African Diaspora effect on the culinary arts in one menu.
“I believe that food should be more than something you just shove in your mouth… If you can make food that also has medicinal benefits, to me it’s a bonus. I am striving for that balance as often and as much as possible and if I can’t achieve it in a dish or recipe then I strongly believe in keeping the poison to a minimum. Culinary Arts is an opportunity I get to be creative as well as change people’s lives.” – Chef Marvin Woods
Because of the many years of slavery and the middle passage, the African Diaspora was realized. Areas that have the biggest influence from this and the common thread are Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, Bahamas, St Thomas and St John, Bermuda and, the Continent of Africa. The countries of Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana were most used and affected by the slave trade.
This idea and cuisine is about applying ingredients, herbs, spices, sauces, cooking methods, devices, and techniques that hail from the coastal soul areas such as Kenya, New Orleans, Colombia, the Caribbean Islands, Europe, and South America. Just some of the ingredients that are overlapping and common throughout these areas are coconut, papaya, cornmeal, mango, yucca, chili peppers, bananas, various seafood (shrimp, prawns, kingfish, catfish, conch and salt fish), citrus (lime, lemon, orange) allspice, cinnamon, garlic, okra, eggplant, cassava, rice, goat, chicken, cow, duck, quail, various nuts and seeds.
We create original dishes and beverages that guests can relate to, enjoy something that is prepared in a health conscious manner, and be educated all at the same time.
Asante, the restaurant has been 30 years in the making. A fun, energetic, captivating place where creativity, sincerity and hospitable love are flowing and the influences of our core hail from our provenance.
Thanks to Woods’ experience as an Emmy-award nominated television host of Home Plate, a best-selling cookbook author of Home Plate Cooking and The New Low Country, and as lead chef for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, Woods has developed a signature style that blends the worldly ingredients and techniques of South America, the Caribbean, the Low Country, Southern United States and Africa. The common theme through these cuisines is their use of okra, sweet potatoes and rice, blending well with the soulful cuisine of the American South. Asante’s casual fine dining service, affordable menu and ambience is a remarkable composition of all these cultures coming together in a setting that appeals to Atlanta’s sophisticated culinary set, as well as visitors and tourists to the Downtown Atlanta area.
The space includes two floors, with a second-floor main dining room as well as a private dining room that can seat up to 60. The expansive second-floor outdoor patio can host 65 and the ground level will feature a lounge area and a 12-seat bar with handcrafted cocktails that complement the cuisine. These versatile areas are perfectly suited for parties and receptions of any size.
Chef Woods’ menu is approachable in price, driven by what’s fresh and in season, and welcoming to all types of tastes. The cuisine is creative and adventurous, yet healthy and satisfying.
Asante is a shining star in Downtown Atlanta’s Luckie Marietta District, with plenty of tourist destinations like the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, Centennial Olympic Park, the new College Football Hall of Fame and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights all within walking distance.
“I am delighted to bring my style of cooking to Atlanta, which is the best city to appreciate this blend of flavors and genres of cuisine,” says Woods. “And I think this is exactly the kind of restaurant that Downtown needs—something that is fresh and creative in flavor, yet sophisticated and festive enough to be a destination for both Atlanta locals and its many tourists.”
Asante is located at 250 Park Ave W NW. For more information or reservations please call 404.893.0022. For more information on Chef Marvin Woods, visit ChefMarvinWoods.com.
About Chef Marvin Woods
Chef Marvin Woods is an Emmy Award-nominated television host, celebrated chef, restaurateur, author of cookbooks Home Plate Cooking and The New Low Country Cooking, and a 30-year veteran in the hospitality and restaurant industry. He has also been an owner and a partner in restaurants in Miami, Charlotte and Washington, D.C. In the fall of 2009, he was selected to cook at The White House for the Obamas’ first State Dinner. In June 2010, he kicked off First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” healthy cooking for families initiative.
Currently, Marvin hosts a segment on GPB’s (Georgia Public Broadcast) “Georgia Cooks,” and WSB as well as being a weekly-featured contributor/blogger to blackdoctors.org. He is a contracted spokesperson with United Healthcare, LiveSmart Energy Bars and Sodexo. Woods is a James Beard Foundation “star” chef who also has volunteered his time and talents to American Heart & American Stroke Association, The American Diabetes Association, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He has lived and worked in Europe as well as the Caribbean, South America and Africa. He has been interviewed and featured on Food Network, CBS’ Chef on a Shoestring, The Today Show, CBSNews.com, Country Living, Southern Living Magazine, Oprah and Cooking Light Magazine.
“ASANTE” [ah SAWN tay] means, “Thankfulness,” or “Gratitude” in Swahili – We should all be grateful and thankful every day for the blessings in our lives, and we should be grateful for the vast culinary influence of the African Diaspora.
“Asante Sana,” [ah SAWN tay SAW na] means thank you very much.
A diaspora [dīˈaspərə] (from Greek διασπορά, “scattering, dispersion”) is a scattered population with a common origin in a smaller geographic area. Diaspora can also refer to the movement of the population from its original homeland. Diaspora has come to refer particularly to historical mass dispersions of an involuntary nature, such as the expulsion of Jews from Judea, the African Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the southern Chinese during the coolie trade.