A Night of Culinary Excellence: The Iconoclast Dinner 2024 Celebrates Diversity and Innovation

The event, curated by Dr. Lezli Levene Harvell, featured an eight-course dinner, live stream insights, and special recognition from Scott M. Mills, CEO of BET Media Group.

On Saturday, June 1st, the Iconoclast Dinner Experience (IDE) hosted its annual Iconoclast Dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City. Founded in 2015, IDE is dedicated to honoring diverse and trailblazing culinary and beverage professionals and celebrating their unique contributions to the industry.

This year’s event was a captivating evening of storytelling and culinary brilliance. Curated by IDE founder Dr. Lezli Levene Harvell, alongside the 2024 Class of Iconoclast Dinner Honorees, the night was both intimate and inspiring. The esteemed honorees included:

  • Chef Jahlea Henry, Ten Restaurant, Toronto
  • Chef Montana Houston, Restaurant Aleksander, Philadelphia
  • Chef Masako Morishita, Perry’s Restaurant, Washington, D.C.
  • Chef Carlos Portela, Orujo, San Juan
  • Chef Emilie Van Dyke, Californios, San Francisco
  • Chef Akino West, Rosie’s, Miami
  • Wine Honoree: Arni Cabatingan, Atomix, NYC
  • Spirits Honoree: Andre Sykes, Alpino, Detroit

The celebration began with a VIP and General Reception, followed by an exquisite eight-course dinner featuring haute cuisine and a dynamic beverage program. Throughout the evening, supporters on Instagram enjoyed a Behind the Scenes Live Stream Show, hosted by Zuri Levene Harvell and Jordan Rose. This innovative feature offered an engaging glimpse into the kitchen and showcased the talents of the 2024 Honorees.


Chef Preston Clark of Lure Fish Bar in NYC served as the Culinary Chair for the event, while Scott M. Mills, CEO of BET Media Group, took on the role of Honorary Chair. Mills, a key figure in the media industry, has significantly contributed to the growth and success of Black Entertainment Television (BET). Under his leadership, BET has expanded its reach and influence, consistently delivering culturally relevant content that resonates with African American audiences. Since its founding in 1980 by Robert L. Johnson, BET has become a cornerstone of Black culture, offering a platform for Black voices and narratives across music, entertainment, news, and public affairs.

Now in its ninth year, the Iconoclast Dinner Experience continues to shine a spotlight on the achievements of underrepresented voices in the culinary and beverage worlds. Net proceeds from IDE events benefit Spelman College, the alma mater of both Dr. Lezli Levene Harvell and Zuri Levene Harvell.


The evening was a resounding success, characterized by exceptional cuisine with expertly paired wine and spirits, inspiring narratives, and a steadfast commitment to diversity and excellence. Attendees left with a renewed appreciation for the innovative spirit and talent within the industry, eagerly anticipating next year’s celebration and the milestone 10-year anniversary of IDE.

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