l-r; Renuka Christoph, Aakanksha Patel, Owner of Taj, Mayur Patel, Owner of Patel Brothers and Katherine Burns

By John Sterling

NASHVILLE, TN — Renuka Christoph, owner of Christoph Communications and contributing lifestyle writer for the Tennessee Tribune, wants to promote Nashville’s diverse populations. Her passion for inclusion, combined with a travel writing background birthed the idea of Nations in Our Neighborhood, an initiative to promote ethnic dining in Music City. A Passport to the Nations in Our Neighborhood will give passport holders access to chef’s authentic creations from 15 international restaurants, each representing a different country.

“The self guided tour will provide passport holders a unique opportunity to sample chef’s creations at ethnic restaurants around the city. The tour is designed as a FAM (familiarization) tour, offering great value while acquainting the Nashville community with our diverse populations, their culture and cuisine.”

There is an underlying message that Christoph is promoting, and that is “to defy prejudice, racism and bigotry and embrace the nations in our neighborhood.”

“We have our immigrant populations to thank for bringing their rich cultural heritage into our communities and providing global flavors from around the world,” states Christoph.

She believes food serves as a great connector of diverse people groups.

A team of students from the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management has joined Christoph Communications to launch NiON. They are part of the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures.

“My passion for social impact and strategy with an international context attracted me to be a part of Nations in our Neighborhood,” states Katherine Burns (M.Ed ’18).

Burns has served as an international consultant spanning from the US to Asia to Africa. Also part of the team are Mike O’ Hara (MBA ’19) and Lan Le (MBA ’18). O’Hara served as a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting, where he advised Fortune 500 companies on business and talent strategies. Le worked seven years in corporate finance in Vietnam.

“We’re privileged to be working with Renuka on this venture – it’s a powerful way to highlight the vibrancy of Nashville’s diverse communities by bringing people together around food and culture,” said O’hara.

How it works

Passport holders will get a complimentary chef’s sample plate and access to a prix fixe dinner. There will be a featured restaurant/country each week beginning June 8 – Oct. 4, offering a chef’s specialty dinner for $21.95. Details will be posted on the website. A kick off party will take place at Plaza Mariachi June 1 from 5 pm to 9 pm and will include festivities, Mexican food and drinks. Passports will be distributed at the kick off. Any no shows will be mailed in time for the June 8 – Oct. 4 tour.

The Bavarian Bierhaus will host a closing ceremony October 4 with live music food and festivities and drinks. Limited quantities of passports are now available. The cost for the passport is $39.99.

Participating restaurants/venues include Anatolia, Bavarian Bierhaus, Chateau West, Gojo, House of Kabob, Jamaica Way, Ken’s Sushi, Lucky Bamboo, Mason’s at Loew’s Vanderbilt Plaza, McNamara’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, Miss Saigon, Plaza Mariachi, The Pub, Salsa, Taj and Texas de Brazil.

Limited quantities of the passport are now available. Visit www.nationsinourneighborhood.com for more information.

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