they seem cool

The Chef Putting Caribbean Culture on the Table

Meet DeVonn Francis.

Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis
Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis

DeVonn Francis hosts dinner parties with a mission. Through his company, Yardy, he creates experiences to bring visibility to Caribbean culture and support migrant communities. The goal is to be “able to capture someone’s attention and create an experience that they’ll remember and feel like they’re a part of,” he says. “Food is a really generous gesture, and sort of a beautiful disarming act.” We spoke with Francis about Miss Lauryn Hill, the Farmer’s Almanac, and Viola Davis.

What is your most-used emoji?
There’s three. I’ve been doing the combination of the woman, the wind element, and the nails. So it’s a woman blowing her nails. Dark girl nails, too — gotta rep the black girl.

What is your favorite holiday?
Definitely New Year’s. It’s your reset button. It’s personal but shared by a lot of other people trying to reset.

If you could spend three months anywhere, where would it be?
Jamaica. I haven’t been there a lot in my adult life and I want to connect with my family again.

What superpower would you have and why?

What’s the best album ever made? 
Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It will never not sound good when you put it on.

Who do you think is cool?
Viola Davis. I watch videos of Viola Davis to make myself feel better. That’s my little secret.

Go-to karaoke song?
Anything by Missy Elliott or Nicki Minaj, but now Cardi B.

What fictional character would you want to hang out with?
Blanca or Angel from Pose. Talking about trans identity as it relates to the gay community is an important thing that’s happening.

If you could be a magazine, what magazine would you be?
Farmer’s Almanac. I was thinking of weird, useful things.

If you could speak to animals, which animals would you want to talk to?
Octopi, because they’re really intelligent, flexible, resilient, and really chic.

Jeans or sweats?

What’s something your social-media followers don’t know about you?
They don’t know that I like to identify trees. I have a few friends who are arborists and farmers so I’m always like Oh! My favorite tree is the willow because it’s flexible and by the water.

What was the last website you looked at?
I was on Amazon buying Caribbean literature books.

If you could be outfitted by one designer for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Comme des Garçons, because of the shapes. I love weird stuff that’s not anybody’s body.

What do you eat for breakfast?
If I’m in a rush, it’s yogurt and granola. If I have time, it’s a poached egg cooked really well, thick toast, and salad greens.

If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Salad greens in general, because fiber is what’s up; ceviche; and really crispy fries dipped in chocolate shake.

If you were a color, what would it be?
Gray. It’s like me where I’m not trying to stir up trouble.

Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis

DeVonn wears Jil Sander shirt and pants, 3.1 Phillip Lim coat.

The Chef Putting Caribbean Culture on the Table