African American Chefs That Are Challenging and Changing the Food World

Published on June 2, 2020

When turning on your television and you come across any cooking show, you see all of the Gordon Ramsey’s, the Paula Dean’s and the Rachel Ray’s, but what you don’t see are the Edna James’ and the Peter and James Hemings who were America’s first black chefs.

Hearing the words, “talented black cook” or “my head chef is African American” is far out and just as stale as those crackers sitting on your counter right now. African Americans in the kitchen are not unfamiliar. Please don’t get it twisted—blacks can cook and have been in everyone’s kitchen since 1619, so don’t forget who prepared your meals for you and kept you from starving. 

There are many black chefs around the world that aren’t just “a black chef” these chefs are using their platform to change the way the world thinks and the cooking world. They aren’t only here to cook your meals for you boo, they are here to serve you a bomb dish but also educate you at the same time. 

Hallie Thomas 

At 12- years old she had cooked an original for former first lady Michelle Obama at the White House Kid’s Lunchtime State Dinner. While at it she was named Best Kids Dish of The Year and also did a “TEDxKids talk about the importance of food and health”. She founded her own non-profit called The Happy Organization and Now in 2020, she is 19 years old released two books.

Chef Tunde Wey

Chef Wey is a Nigerian born and raised in New Orleans, a cook, and writer. He uses his food to start conversations about America and race. He is using his cooking platform to educate people on change in and out of the kitchen and to address injustice

 Nyesha Arrington 

Growing up in Los Angeles, she was shaped by a multicultural family with a Korean grandmother and grandfather of black and Cherokee descent. She wanted to change the outlook of women being in the kitchen and especially a black woman at that. Before her cooking carrier, she took to art, and now she creates every recipe like its an art canvas.

Bryant Terry

Bryant is a chef, author, and educator. People describe Bryant as someone who is a food justice activist just as much as he is a chef. Terry defines the stereotypical black people as only eats soul food stereotypes. He promotes his afro vegan culinary and has been a chef in residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco.

Jessica B. Harris

Jessica is an American culinary historian, college professor, cookbook author, and journalist. She has written many texts about the culture of Africas in America and has made many television appearances and lectured widely. Harris told NBC News she was there before the trend with food was even popular. “I was in food before food was cool,” Harris, who lives in Marigny, Louisiana, told the assembly. “I was definitely in food before food was diverse. I was in food before food was not diverse. I will repeat that!”

Jeff Henderson

Henderson’s journey into the culinary world was different. Henderson began his career while in prison, but that doesn’t mean he is any less than any other chef. He transformed his life and went from behind bars to an award-winning chef. He shares his emotional journey to the world of never giving up your dreams, and it doesn’t matter where you are in life you will get to where you want to be with a little hard work and struggle.  


We all know the powerful Kelis who inspired us all when we were younger with her outgoing lyrics and dominant attitude, and if you didn’t know, this singer is also a chef and a boss one at that. Her food is loud, just like her music, and she uses flavorful tastes and vibrant colors when it comes to her cuisines. 

Chef Andrea Drummer

Andrea is a chef like no other. She and her food brand, Elevation, focus on making cannabis-infused meals for medical marijuana patients, and recreational weed consumers. They use only locally sourced organic ingredients for all of their dishes to ensure their customers are getting the best quality and healthy meals.

G. Garvin

Garvin is known for his cooking show Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin, that came on TV One and ran for seven seasons. He’s cooked at well- known restaurants from California to Georgia before moving back to his hometown Atlanta, Georgia.

Jori Ayers is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily based in Tampa, Florida. She was formerly with the editorial team at Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

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