Block Eatz To Host Chef's Vision Event

By Justin Williams Pope, posted Mar 13, 2024
This month, the event will feature Chef Yanni Lopez, owner of Cultura 311 and Paella Fusion, as the in-house chef at Block Eatz. (Photo courtesy of Girard Newkirk)
Genesis Block and Block Eatz, in partnership with Cape Fear Community College, will host Chef’s Vision this month at the community college’s North Campus. 

The event will feature Chef Yanni Lopez, owner of Cultura 311 and Paella Fusion, as the in-house chef at Block Eatz, a local incubator kitchen designed to foster business relationships in the food industry. 

“Our goal is to help our local community to build sustainable food systems,” said Girard Newkirk, who founded Genesis Block and Block Eatz with his wife, Tracey.  

The couple launched the food incubator in September after partnering with the community college. They aim to help those interested in building sustainable business models and growing their business.

“We saw a real need to help minority business owners to grow and it’s important for local small business owners to have structure as well as have ways to network and connect with other local businesses,” Newkirk said.  

Block Eatz hosts Chef’s Vision, a monthly meetup event that brings together the local food entrepreneurship and innovation community for networking, the introduction of new concepts, industry insights, brand development and business expansion. 

As a launchpad for culinary entrepreneurs and chef hopefuls, the program offers a comprehensive support system encompassing various aspects of restaurant operations. 

Newkirk said Chef’s Vision will be an educational and fun experience for attendees. For those with culinary interests, it provides opportunities to find a community within the local food industry. Chef’s Vision will also be a tasting event where attendees will be able to sample Lopez’s many creations.  
Beginning with this month’s event, feedback cards will be distributed for people to share their thoughts about Chef’s Vision and the food sampling offered.  

Block Eatz encourages those who may have an interest in the culinary industry to come and begin the journey. It’s not only for food industry professionals but also for other chefs seeking to grow their craft and those who might just consider themselves food enthusiasts.  

“We love what we do,” Newkirk said. “If we can help get someone started on a right career path and help them connect with other people in the industry, that is very rewarding.” 

Chef’s Vision is a free event, which will be held this month on March 18 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Block Eatz in the McKeithan Center at Cape Fear Community College’s North Campus. Registration can be found online at

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