Black, White, And The Grey : The Story Of An Unexpected Friendship And A Beloved Restaurant by Mashama Bailey and John O Morisano

Black, White, And The Grey : The Story Of An Unexpected Friendship And A Beloved Restaurant by Mashama Bailey and John O Morisano

A captivating tale of perseverance and camaraderie, this book delves into the remarkable journey of a Black chef hailing from Queens, New York, and a White media entrepreneur from Staten Island. Together, they forged a meaningful connection and set out to create a restaurant in the heart of the Deep South. Their ultimate goal? To foster conversations about race, gender, class, and culture while bridging societal biases.

Recognized as one of the top cookbooks of the year by Garden & Gun, “Black, White, and The Grey” has left a lasting impact on readers. In this compelling dual memoir, Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano take turns recounting their path from tentative business partners to cherished friends, all while transforming a dilapidated and once-segregated Greyhound bus station into the illustrious establishment known as The Grey – now a staple in the culinary world.

Through the highs and lows of their journey, Bailey and Morisano chronicle the arduous process of building their restaurant empire. Along the way, they delve into their most poignant and joyous moments, unraveling how they learned to embrace their dissimilarities, confront their preconceived notions, and continuously push themselves and each other to grow.

What sets this memoir apart is the unwavering vulnerability, wit, and humanity that define the Bailey-Morisano bond. Amidst a backdrop of racial adversity, the duo showcases their unwavering commitment to driving societal progress. They exemplify the significance of taking individual responsibility and contributing towards the pursuit of equality.

Black, White, and The Gray: A Journey of Food, Partnership, and Race

Meet Mashama Bailey and Jono Morissano, two individuals who left New York City to start a successful restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. Mashama, a former social worker turned personal chef, and Jono, an entrepreneur, joined forces to open The Gray in 2014. Their journey took them from being inexperienced in the restaurant industry to winning prestigious awards and being featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Along the way, they faced challenges as a biracial business partnership in the South and decided to document their experiences in a book.

Titled Black, White, and The Gray, the book delves into their personal and professional relationship, the struggles they encountered, and their unique perspective on Southern cuisine. Originally conceived as a cookbook by Mashama’s agent, the final version weaves recipes with personal anecdotes from both partners. The writing process brought them closer but also forced them to confront difficult conversations about race and privilege.

The book explores the impact of their restaurant on Savannah’s food scene and the reimagining of Southern food from a black perspective. It also sheds light on the disparities and divisions within the city, highlighting the contrast between the historic district and marginalized neighborhoods. Mashama and Jono are determined to be positive role models and make a difference in their community.

However, their journey hasn’t been without challenges. Moving from New York to the South came with cultural differences, and running a restaurant during a pandemic proved to be particularly difficult. They emphasize the importance of supporting local restaurants and understanding the struggles they face due to staffing shortages and supply chain disruptions.

Through their book and their restaurant, Mashama and Jono hope to inspire others and encourage a reevaluation of expectations placed on restaurants. They want people to recognize the hard work and dedication behind the scenes and the impact small businesses have on their communities.

As their story continues to unfold, there is potential for a sequel to their book, capturing the ongoing journey of Mashama and Jono as they navigate the ever-changing restaurant industry and their evolving relationship.

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