When Winter Baxter and Kelsey Beckford, co-founders of BeckzBax Supper Club, step into a restaurant, heads turn. It's impossible to miss Winter’s close crop cut and Kelsey’s flowing braids, both with glowing smiles that radiate genuine warmth and confidence. But, it’s not just the two that cause eyes to redirect from glasses of wine and exotic dishes, it's their entire party. The Spelman sisters turned best friends are also flanked by 10 to 15 Black women when they are all escorted to their table.
To many, the concept seems simple- a group of friends out to dinner- but the experiences of the BeckzBax Supper Club are anything but ordinary. This supper club delivers everything from private dining rooms to specialty curated menus with incredible dishes prepared just for them and table visits from the chefs, all in some of New York’s most exclusive and hottest eateries. The New York-based supper club has set its sight on delivering a dining experience that seeks to thrill with its adventurous palette and return to the social aspect of dining. Crafting unabashed moments of sincerity and candidacy with the people seated right beside you and social media posting saved for later.
The founders of the supper club designed by and for Black women dished to xoNecole about the courses they serve before the waiter even places the first dish down.
xoNecole: You are both native New Yorkers, the crossroads of the globe that’s home to a diverse array of cultures and with that, a dining scene that’s unparalleled. How did your childhood fuel your passion for food?
BeckzBax: When you're a city kid in New York, you really learn that going out to dinner or lunch is the thing to do. It's our culture to try out new food in restaurants. So since we were children, we saw how the restaurants and many neighborhoods were changed due to gentrification and how we lost a lot of authentic New York folks, whether they were Senegalese, Italian, Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, [or] African-American. Now a lot of the neighborhoods are just whitewashed and toned down.
So now there are restaurants that are bringing back culture, and we want to experience that.
xoN: How did BeckzBax make it from the group chat to a now highly sought-after event?
BeckzBax: Last summer in 2022, we were out at Moko, which is our favorite Omakase restaurant in the city. We had a 15-course meal, and we loved it. It was such a cool experience. But we looked around and realized we were the only two Black women in the space. We thought it would be more fun and a more fulfilling experience if we can dine in bigger groups.
I feel like a lot of people are trying to rediscover how they want to be social, definitely because of lockdown and just getting older. We have friends who are now sober, friends who don't like going out to clubs, and everybody is doing brunch. So we asked ourselves, “What else is there to do?” We came up with the supper club and focused on dinner because you always need to eat!
xoN: In just a year you have carved out a very unique identity for your supper club. Why do you think so many Black women gravitate toward your events?
BeckzBax: This is not a girl-boss event. This is really just, 'Hey, it's Tuesday night. Are you alone in the city? Do you need company? Do you need a sister? Do you need a friend, even if it’s just for a couple of hours?' We have seen how it really helps people feel like they are safe and supported.
We really appreciate that people give us that honor and privilege of coming to our events by themselves because they feel safe enough that they'll be received and treated with honesty and respect.
xoN: What is it like being a group of Black women occupying restaurant spaces that typically caters to a different crowd?
BeckzBax: We are here to disrupt the hospitality industry in the way that it operates because right now, there are a lot of things that people are not talking about. People are not being transparent about when it comes to having a good time out at dinner at some of these fine dining restaurants.
The treatment from the door is very different. If they don't know that we are the supper club that's booked for the private dinner, they assume that it's not us.
xoN: What ideas are you trying to dismantle with your supper club?
BeckzBax: The gatekeeping! There’s no gatekeeping food. It's food, it's an ingredient whether it's a tomato or a truffle. Everyone deserves to try and have new things.
xoN: What has surprised you the most about the restaurants since you’ve started?
BeckzBax: Our attendees are really shocked to find out that a Black woman is behind the menu and has curated this entire experience in a number of upscale restaurants.
That's what we want to highlight: we are the ones behind the success of a lot of these restaurants. Whether or not we are in the room… we are in the kitchen, and nobody talks about that. We're in the kitchen, so we deserve to be in this space just as much as everybody else does.
xoN: Wow! So how do the chefs react when they see your group in their restaurants, especially when you both don’t reflect the makeup of the restaurants you attend?
BeckzBax: We’ve been told it's liberating for the chefs. They don't often get to flex their own muscles very much. They're restricted to their menu and what their clients want. BeckzBax Supper Club allows them the space and freedom to really show what they're capable of.
Instead of repeatedly making the same ten dishes, they can offer seasonal options, and the chef is really allowed to show the fullness of what they can do.
xoN: What about the people that say, “Hey, I can go out to dinner with friends on my own.” What is it that BeckzBax brings to the table… literally?
BeckzBax: You are not going to have the same experience solo that we are able to curate for you. It’s impossible because we take the time to build relationships with chefs, owners, and general managers to provide a very specific experience for our members.
What sets BeckzBax apart is the point of breaking bread together. We've lost the art of socializing without it being for a reason like a birthday or networking. We’re not about a certain aesthetic. Everyone is there because they actually want to come, sit down, have dinner, and have real conversations. They want to get candid and share their life. Whatever you need, and it happens over food.
xoN: How can xoNecole readers join the supper club? Are you all accepting new members?
BeckzBax: Yes! If you’re interested in joining, email us at email@example.com. We’ll send you a welcome email and explain the full process of joining, including how the club works and membership fees and dues. If you want to do a trial run before joining, we also have mini-series events that are usually cocktail hours so you can get to know us and meet current members.
xoN: Do you have any plans to expand BeckzBaz outside of New York?
BeckzBax: We’re going international! Japan is at the top of the list, and our goal is to do world tours, with the food being the basis of it all. This summer we’re also expanding domestically, if you’re in D.C., Philly, California, or Atlanta, keep your eyes open!
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Featured image courtesy of BeckzBax Supper Club
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
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Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
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Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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