Celebrating National Culinary Arts Month: Honoring 10 Prominent Black American Culinary Artists

Indulging in the finest flavors and savoring exquisite culinary creations is an art form that transcends boundaries and connects people from diverse backgrounds. National Culinary Arts Month is a time to pay tribute to the culinary geniuses who bring their passion and creativity to our plates.

Discover 10 remarkable Black American culinary artists, their extraordinary contributions to the culinary world, and their relentless pursuit of culinary excellence.

Barbara Smith: A Pioneer in Culinary Excellence 


Source: NBC News

Barbara Smith, also known as B. Smith, was a trailblazer in the culinary industry. As an entrepreneur, model, and author, Smith played a significant role in elevating African American cuisine. With her award-winning restaurants and cookbooks, she presented a fresh perspective on traditional dishes, melding flavors and techniques to create culinary masterpieces that delighted the senses.

Edna Lewis: The Grande Dame of Southern Cooking 

Source: Kinfolk

Edna Lewis, often referred to as the "Grande Dame of Southern Cooking," dedicated her life to preserving the rich culinary traditions of the American South. Through her writing and culinary expertise, Lewis showcased the diverse flavors and techniques rooted in African American culture. Her cookbook, "The Taste of Country Cooking," remains a timeless masterpiece and an essential reference for chefs and food enthusiasts alike.

Leah Chase: Queen of Creole Cuisine 

Source: KBPS

Leah Chase, affectionately known as the "Queen of Creole Cuisine," was an iconic figure in New Orleans' culinary scene. With her legendary restaurant, Dooky Chase, she became a cultural institution, nurturing the flavors of Creole cuisine and fostering a sense of community through food. Chase's contributions to the culinary arts earned her numerous accolades, including the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bryant Terry: Advocate for Vegan Soul Food

Source: Wall Street Journal

Bryant Terry is a celebrated chef, author, and activist who has redefined soul food through a plant-based lens. With his innovative approach, Terry emphasizes the importance of sustainable and healthy eating. Through his cookbooks, such as "Afro-Vegan," he combines African, Caribbean, and Southern flavors to create delectable dishes that celebrate both taste and nutrition.

Carla Hall: From "Top Chef" to Culinary Star 

Source: Ebony

Carla Hall gained prominence as a contestant on the television show "Top Chef" and has since become an influential figure in the culinary world. Her vivacious personality and innovative approach to cooking have captivated audiences worldwide. With her soulful cooking style and engaging presence, Hall has become a prominent advocate for African American cuisine.

Alexander Smalls: Exploring Afro-Asian Cuisine

Source: The Diasporic Dish

Alexander Smalls is a distinguished chef and restaurateur who has dedicated himself to exploring the connections between African and Asian culinary traditions. Through his restaurants, he seamlessly blends the flavors and techniques of these two regions, creating a delightful fusion of Afro-Asian cuisine. Smalls' innovative approach has earned him recognition as an ambassador of culinary diversity. 

Jessica Harris: Documenting Culinary Heritage

Source: TODAY

Jessica Harris, a renowned culinary historian, has extensively researched and documented the contributions of African Americans to the culinary world. Her writings shed light on the rich tapestry of traditions, ingredients, and flavors that form the foundation of African American cuisine. Harris's work serves as a valuable resource for understanding and appreciating the culinary heritage of Black Americans.

Adrian Miller: Celebrating Soul Food's Legacy

Source: 5280 Magazine

Adrian Miller, a culinary historian, lawyer, and author, has dedicated himself to preserving and celebrating the legacy of soul food. Through his book, "Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine," Miller delves into the historical and cultural significance of this iconic culinary tradition. His research highlights the contributions of Black cooks and chefs throughout history.

Tanya Holland: Reimagining Southern Comfort Food 

Source: Food & Wine

Tanya Holland is a talented chef and restaurateur who reimagines Southern comfort food with her innovative and contemporary twists. Through her restaurants, she showcases the diverse flavors and ingredients of the American South, while incorporating her own unique culinary vision. Holland's commitment to culinary excellence has earned her widespread acclaim and recognition.

Stephen Satterfield - The Trailblazer 

Source: The New Yorker

Stephen Satterfield is a culinary icon known for his trailblazing work in the field. As a writer, podcaster, and entrepreneur is the founder of Whetstone Magazine, an independent print publication that explores food origins and culture from around the world. Satterfield has also made appearances on television, notably as the host of the Netflix documentary series "High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America." The series explores the profound influence of African American culinary traditions on American cuisine, tracing the roots of Black foodways from Africa to the present day. His commitment to sharing diverse voices and stories within the culinary arts has made him a prominent figure in the industry.


National Culinary Arts Month provides an opportunity to honor the talent, creativity, and cultural contributions of Black American culinary artists. Through their remarkable skills, these individuals have reshaped the culinary landscape, reimagining traditional cuisines, and creating new dining experiences that captivate and inspire. As we celebrate their achievements, let us appreciate the diverse flavors, stories, and journeys that these culinary artists have brought to our tables, enriching our lives and reminding us of the power of food to unite and ignite our senses.

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