Of the 100,000+ recipe collections published over hundreds of years of American history through the end of the 20th century, only 200 or so have been credited to black cooks and writers.
Alvin Starks gestured broadly as he spoke. He was standing in a gallery space in Harlem at the Schomburg Center, a research unit of the New York Public Library. Starks is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Schomburg, the leading research facility devoted to black culture. “The Schomburg is trying to take its material… and put it out,” he said, turning his palms outward and extending his arms, with a wide smile.
When 23rd president Benjamin Harrison and his wife, Caroline, fired their French chef and hired Dolly Johnson, a free black woman who had worked for them in Indianapolis, the move made national headlines. This is in jarring contrast with the recent headlines we’ve seen asking, “Where are all of the black chefs?” Then, as now, they were there doing their thing, hiding in plain sight. — Chef Adrian Miller. Photo Credit Library of Congress: Dolly Johnson, the White House cook for president Benjamin Harrison.
Matthew Raiford and Jovan Sage get up around dawn most days, to take care of a few regular farm chores: feeding the chickens, checking on the ducks, weeding the fields.
A group of chefs speak out about the challenges they face in the restaurant industry, from social pressures to clichéd narratives. This article was written by Nicole A. Taylor for First We Feast.