What's for Lunch? Honoring Notable Black Chefs in the Culinary Industry

What's for Lunch? Honoring Notable Black Chefs in the Culinary Industry

In honor of Black History Month, SAGE Dining, Missouri Military Academy’s food service partner, offered a special menu on Friday, February 17, 2023, inspired by dishes from top Black chefs — Carla Hall, Marcus Samuelsson, Matthew Raiford, Kwame Onwuachi and Edna Lewis — who have paved their way in the culinary industry.   

Below, read about these five chefs whose culinary successes have inspired five dishes — cornmeal apple crumble, dora wat, Gullah rice, charred cauliflower with romseco sauce and shrimp and grits.

Doro Wat (Ethiopian-Style Spiced Chicken), Inspired by Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson is a strong activist for Black chefs. He holds accolades from the culinary industry, including being the youngest chef to receive a Michelin three-star rating and being named Best Chef: New York City by the James Beard Foundation. In his dishes, he brings an innovative approach to cooking by using a variety of flavors that span from Africa to the Caribbean, while paying tribute to his own Ethiopian-Swedish culture.

Gullah Rice, inspired by Matthew Raiford

Mathew Raiford is paving the way for future culinarians by showing the everchanging ways to enjoy authentic Southern food through his organic farming practices and farm-to-fork cooking style. Raiford calls himself a “chefarmer,” a term that connects the roles of chef and farmer. He combines history and family in his creations to honor and celebrate his Gullah Geechee heritage.

Charred Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce, Inspired by Kwame Onwuachi

Kwame Onwuachi started a catering company at 20 years old, starred on “Top Chef” and opened his first restaurant at 26 and won the James Beard Foundation Rising Chef of the Year award at 29. Onwuachi’s cooking draws from his heritage, and he is inspired by Jamaican, Nigerian, Trinidadian and Louisiana Creole cuisines.

Shrimp and Grits, inspired by Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis helped shape America’s view of Southern cooking by showing how authentic Southern food is directly tied to the earth, using seasonal, fresh ingredients. She began cooking at Café Nicholson in Manhattan in 1949, which boasted a guest list that included Eleanor Roosevelt, Marlon Brando, Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote, among other notable figures. Lewis passed away in 2006 at age 89.

Cornmeal Apple Crumble, Inspired by Carla Hall

Carla Hall is a two-time “Top Chef” finalist. She is a driving force in culinary world and highlights the contributions the Black community has made to the craft. She received an NAACP Image Award nomination for her cookbook “Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration.” She honors her Nashville upbringing, as well as her West-African ancestors, by incorporating Southern U.S., African and Caribbean flair into her recipes made with farm-fresh ingredients.

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