Black women have been the mothers of the kitchen since the beginning of American culinary tradition. As the primary chefs of southern cuisine, the cultural influence of Blacks in American cuisine began with what is now known as “soul food.” Women like Edna Lewis–a chef, culinary ambassador and caretaker of genuine Southern cooking, (who opened her first restuarant in the 1940’s), paved the way for the influx and influence African-Americans would continue to yield over American cooking. And while the culinary tradition of Black cuisine runs deep–the evolution of African-Americans in the culinary world has never been as impressive as it is today. With cooking shows dominating the airwaves, more and more Black women have emerged as heavy hitters in the race for culinary greatness.
Check out this gallery of some of the top black female chefs who cooked food delicious enough to make them famous.
1. Gina Neely
As 1/2 of cooking's cutest couple, Gina Neely cooks with love in her heart. Alongside her hubby, Pat, The Food Network star has shared her love for southern cooking through books, TV shows and a restaurant--Neely's Bar-B-Que and the lovebirds are just getting started!
2. Edna Lewis
A true piece of Black history, Edna's restaurant, Cafe Nicholson was a New York City staple in the 50's. Her southern cuisine was a favorite for the likes of Truman Capote, Gloria Vanderbilt and Marlene Dietrich. Her easy southern style and cookbooks have influenced and inspired countless young chefs.
3. Carla Hall
As a 'Top Chef' castoff, Carla made the most of her rejection. She is now a co-host of ABC's 'The Chew,' alongside other top foodie big wigs. She also runs her own cookie company--Alchemy--which spreads little bites of love to whoever's lucky enough to eat them.
4. Sylvia Woods
As the Queen of Soul Food, Sylvia was known for her sweet, Southern soul. In her Harlem restaurant--naturally named after her--Sylvia was known for her personal attention to her customers as well as the flavors of her delectable dishes. The legend passed away earlier this summer, but will always be remembered as a cornerstone of Harlem food culture.
5. Delilah Winders
When you Google Delilah Winders, you'll find the mouth-watering recipe for her Mac & Cheese. Why? Because Oprah's deemed it the best Mac & Cheese ever. This celebrity chef is the first African-American woman honored with the James Beard Foundation, Women in Food Business Award.
6. Angela Shelf Medearis
Angela calls herself the Kitchen Diva. Often appearing on 'Dr. Oz' or 'TODAY,' Angela has turned her love of cooking into a franchise. She's an author of several cookbooks, blogs about life, family, health and food; her easy and delicious recipes and more!
7. B. Smith
B. Smith's expertise stems beyond food. The talented chef's three restaurants are all so beautiful, they inspired a home decor collection--The B. Smith with Style Home Collection--at Bed, Beth & Beyond.
8. Sunny Anderson
Sunny is all about real food for real life. As a Food Network personality, she brings her love of comfort food to the masses, but simplifies recipes with easy-to-access ingredients and uncomplicated dishes.
9. Robbie Montgomery
Robbie wasn't always the face and personality behind "Sweetie's Pie's," matter of fact, she started out singing background in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Once Oprah noticed this sassy woman with a knack for all things southern, Robbie's star shined even brighter! Catch Robbie and her family juggle business, food & more on "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" Saturdays at 9/8c on OWN!
Catch Robbie and her family juggle business, food & more on “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” Saturdays at 9/8c on OWN!
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