In Honor of Black History Month

Huffington Post

03/28/2014 02:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 Black Chefs That Are Changing The Food World As We Know It

By Jessica Dickerson

The “talented black cook” stereotype is a stale one — leftover from a long history of slavery and servitude in white kitchens — and tightly bound to the notion of “black food.”

So let’s set the record straight. Blacks can cook. And preparation and serving is not the only black contribution to food culture. In fact, the tantalizing world of black chefs is a sweet and salty medley of kitchen savvy educators, restaurateurs, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, authors, activists and celebrity personalities. There’s a new generation of black foodies in town, and they’re breaking down barriers like butchers breaking bones. 

You’ve probably heard of Marcus Samuelsson, but here are thirteen other chefs you may not know but definitely should — big names in the game that help shape the ever-evolving culinary world.

Some food for thought; it’s actually a good thing we can say that many amazing chefs didn’t make it on to this list because not so long ago it would have been difficult to name a plethora of black chefs in the public eye. Thanks to fearless culinary geniuses like those listed below, this is no longer the case. 

Haile Thomas

It’s hard not to be intimidated by Chef Thomas who has, at the of 12, accomplished more than some people do in a lifetime. She’s cooked an original recipe for first lady Michelle Obama at a White House Kid’s Lunchtime State Dinner where, naturally, Thomas’ was named Best Kids Dish of the Year. She’s given a TEDxKids talk about the importance of food and health and founded her own non-profit called The Happy Organization that offers classes to children on how to cook and garden as well as offering a leadership program. But that’s not all, Chef Thomas has also appeared on Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri’s “Kids Cook-Off” television showhosts her own web series. Oh and did we mention her Healthy Girl Adventures Club? You can even follow her on twitter! It goes without saying, this young lady is someone to lookout for, because if she keeps up this pace the sky’s the limit for what she can do.

Jeff Henderson

Chef Henderson’s journey to the kitchen is unlike any other. He realized his calling for cooking while serving a 10-year prison sentence on drug charges. From a penitentiary kitchen to one that belongs to his culinary world persona, Cheff Jeff has proved himself to be a remarkably talented businessman. Today the inspiring figure owns a catering, publishing, and consulting company. He’s written books, hosted shows, and even shared his story with Oprah. There is a lesson to be learned from Henderson’s transformation — especially for young people : “I use my story to convince at-risk people that they have the gift, traits, ability to create their own business,” Henderson said. “I tell kids I’m still a homeboy, I’m still a hustler — I just changed the products and the terminology.”

B. Smith

Barbara Smith’s motto, “whatever you do, do it with style” is fitting. She built her culinary empire without any professional training, yet has expanded her influence in the culinary world across multi-media platforms and manifestations in several different, related industries. B. Smith’s culinary career boasts a variety of impressive projects including “The B. Smith” and “Thank You Dan Show” alongside her husband on SiriusXM Radio, serving as a culinary resource for the State Department (National Chefs Corps), various TV commercials and product endorsements, gracing the covers of magazines (such as Mademoiselle whose color barrier she broke in 1976), her hit NBC show “B. Smith with Style,” and even her own home collection with Bed Bath & Beyond. Chef Smith is, among other things, a celebrated restaurateur, author, model, TV personality, spokesperson, and culinary ambassador. You can also add patriot to that list, since her partnership with Rady Pac that aims to bring culturally diverse food to service men and women in the Armed Forces. Barbara Smith is truly, the whole package. 

Bryant Terry

The man is as much a food justice activist as he is a chef. Bryant Terry categorically defies the “black people only eat soul food” stereotype with his Afro-vegan cookbooks — of which he’s written four — not to mention his web series Urban Organic. He graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City, but he also has a masters degree in American History from NYU. It’s no surprise that a Food and Social Policy Fellows Program participant would become a concerned and conscious chef. The social context of Chef Bryant’s position in society and the world does not go unnoticed by the great talent, nor does he waste his influence hiding in a kitchen. World-renowned chef Alice Waters once aptly said, “Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege.” He is, essentially, an eco-friendly culinary superhero.

Ron Duprat

The only thing wider than Chef Duprat’s palette is his heart. The Haitian-born “Top Chef” competitor and gifted food lover makes a point to align himself with and give back through organizations like No Hungry Kids, the Black Culinary Alliance (BCA), Real Men Charities Inc., the American Culinary Federation, International Youth Foundation, and FLOTUS’ Let’s Move against childhood obesity… to name a few. Additionally, Chef Duprat authored a book titled “My Journey Through Cooking.” He began his culinary career a teenager, and today encourages young people to do the same. 

Marvin Woods

An Emmy Award nomination, two popular cookbooks (“Home Plate Cooking” and “The New Low Country”), and the honor of being chosen as the first chef to kick off FLOTUS’ Let’s Move initiative combating childhood obesity are definitely things to brag about, but this foodie’s coolest accomplishment is his program, ‘Droppin’ Knowledge with Chef Marvin Woods. A testament to his concern for child health issues and affordable meals for families, Chef Woods has traveled across the country giving talks and demonstrations to educate parents and children why it’s important to eat well and why it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to do so. 

Miami, London, and New York are a few of the cities the Atlanta based chef has cooked at well known restaurants, yet he remains dedicated to food and cooking that is for people that don’t find themselves in Michelin star rated establishments. Chef Woods continues to travel and spread the word of healthy cooking and healthy living not just on behalf of Droppin Knowledge but for other like-minded organizations like the American Heart Association.

G. Garvin

Gerry Garvin is part chef, part author, part television host, and packs the same punch of personality in all three of arenas. He cooked at well known restaurants and Ritz-Carlton’s from Georgia to California and back again, before opening his own restaurant, G Garvin’s, in his hometown of Atlanta. His one-size-fits-all approach to cooking certainly seems to suit his ever-growing growing group of foodie fans. The host of two immensely popular TV series, Chef Garvin’s personality translates as well on screen as it does in his cuisine. His most recent TV project “Road Trip”, followed “Turn Up The Heat” — also the name of the first of his three cookbooks

Chef Garvin started the One Bite At A Time Foundation in 2009. In addition to supporting communities with food drives and donation, the non-profit boasts a Culinary Boot Camp mentoring program for teenagers that teaches youth about the cooking world as well as hospitality. With this effort Garvin hopes increase awareness about a need for diversity in the culinary world and bring an end to minority stigmas in the food world. 

Joe Randall

Chances are you’ve seen Joe Randall on TV, heard him on the radio, or read one of his recipes in a magazine — he’s worked in the culinary world for half a century. Although he’s been in the business for a long time, don’t assume for one second that Chef Randall has slowed down. He continues to teach classes at his cooking school — Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School — and remains a figure of leadership in culinary education and community service. 

From his early days in Air Force flight kitchens, to apprenticeships under big names at fine dining restaurants, Chef Randall has maintained a passion for sharing good food. A founding board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and connected to organizations like the American Culinary Federation, it’s safe to say you shouldn’t expect an early retirement from this culinary veteran anytime soon.

Tiffany Derry

From IHOP, to the Art Institute of Houston, to “Top Chef,” Chef Tiffany Derry has certainly worked her way up in the culinary world. She opened the renowned, now closed, restaurant ‘Private Social’ with partner Patrick Halbert before leaving to pursue a successful career in food television. You can watch her on Spike TV’s ‘Hungry Investors’and ‘Bar Rescue’, Fox’s “Good Day” culinary segments, and various other appearances as an expert on cooking and hospitality. 

A friend of the Dallas Independent School District and The North Texas Food Bank, she’s not only a TV personality for the fame and fortune, but genuinely for a love of culinary arts and advocating the importance of them. It shouldn’t be hard keeping tabs on Chef Derry, being an Art Institute’s Culinary Arts Program spokesperson, a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (an organization dedicated to the philanthropic work of women leaders in the world of food and hospitality), and owning her own company, Tiffany Derry Concepts

Govind Armstrong

Famous for his long dreads and devotion to sustainable, local ingredients in his cooking, Govind Armstrong’s name is well known in the restaurant circuit. A devoted California native and restaurateur, Chef Armstrong has successfully established nationwide chains like Table 8 and 8 oz Burger Bar, along with a handful of one-off spots ‘ROFL’, Post and Beam and Willie Jane in Los Angeles. He famously began apprenticed under Wolfgang Puck at the tender age of 13, and has since appeared on the likes of ‘Iron Chef America’ and ‘Top Chef’, as well as authored the cookbook “Small Bites, Big Nights.” Oh and he can count Oprah on his list of fans. 

A New Year's Resolution Worth Keeping

So, it's that time of year again when you may be thinking, "I'm giving up sweets". But wait and think about this...

Chocolate’s Good for You

Many scientific studies suggest that eating chocolate ward off strokes, heart attacks, and diabetes. So here are some reasons to indulge in our Black Forest Gateau:

1. Chocolate decreases stroke risk

Chocolate contains flavonoids, whose antioxidant properties help fight strokes.

2. Chocolate reduces the likelihood of a heart attack

Eating chocolate prevents blood clots, which in turn reduces the risk of heart attacks. Blood platelets clump together more slowly in chocolate eaters.

3. Chocolate protects against blood inflammation

About 6.7 grams of dark chocolate per day keeps the blood inflammation-inducing proteins away. 

4. Chocolate helps with math

When you're eating chocolate, numbers just don't seem as scary.

5. Chocolate may prevent cancer

Cocoa contains a compound called pentameric procyanidin which disrupts cancer cells’ ability to spread. 

6. Chocolate reduces the risk of diabetes

The Italians know a thing or two about good eating. And a small study from the University of L'Aquila, in Italy, found that eating chocolate increases insulin sensitivity, which reduces the risk of diabetes. 

7. Chocolate is good for your skin

Not only does it not cause breakouts, dark chocolate is actually good for your skin! Flavonoids found in dark chocolate protect our skin from the sun’s UV rays.

8. Chocolate can control coughs

One of chocolate's chemical components, theobromine, seems to reduce the activity of the part of the brain that triggers coughing fits. Plus it makes your breath sweet and kissable.

9. Chocolate improves blood flow

In 2008 Harvard scientists forced test subjects to undergo “two weeks of enhanced chocolate intake.” A fortnight of chocolate face-stuffing, they found, sped up blood flow through their subject’s middle cerebral arteries. In other words, more chocolate means more blood to your brain.

10. Chocolate strengthens your brain

Dark chocolate shields cells in your brain, and accordingly protects it from damage caused by stroke. Epicatechin, a compound found in chocolate, significantly reduced the brain damage in mice who suffered strokes. 

11. Chocolate makes you live longer

Jeanne Louise Calment lived to the age of 122—the oldest anyone has ever lived. She ate two and a half pounds of dark chocolate per week.

Let's Party

Fayetteville Pie Company is the perfect place to host a private, after hours party. We seat 70 people inside and 32 people outside on our umbrellaed, pet friendly patio.

Fayetteville Pie Company

Renting the space is $100 an hour with a two hour minimum. A non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to hold the date and time. Beer, wine, and champagne can be purchased at the restaurant.

Call 910-483-4097 to make a reservation.

Dinner Parties


Have your wedding reception, birthday bash, or baby shower with us. The menu will vary depending on what we are serving that day. Your guests will be able to choose from the three savory pies and the three sweet pies on the daily menu. Pies will be baked fresh and served approximately 20 minutes after the orders have been placed. Your guests can pay individually or you can pay for everything with the credit card on file. Savory pies are $10 each, sweet pies are $4 each and non-alcoholic drinks are $2 with unlimited refills.

Pie Bar


Have your holiday or office party with us. Purchase an assortment of our sweet pies from the current menu for your guests to enjoy. We will set up a beautiful display of pies and we can box up any remaining pies for you to take home. Sweet pies are $4 each.

Pie Bites


Host a chic cocktail party or jazz night for your guests with our pie bites. Pie bites are hors d'oeuvre size portions of our savory and sweet pies and layered trifles. Your guests can enjoy a glass of wine while our wait staff serves your selections. Vegetarian quiches can be provided as well. Pie bite trays are $96 each with 48 pieces.

Giving Thanks

As the weather in Fayetteville finally starts to get chilly and the leaves begin to fall, our thoughts turn to everything we have to be thankful for. As we approach our two year anniversary at Fayetteville Pie Company, we just can't believe how far we've come. Not only have we learned a lot about running a small business, we've managed to create quite a number of original pie recipes. We now have about fifty savory pies and seventy-five sweet pies in our regular menu rotation. We've refined our processes to ensure quick service, we've created an app for online ordering, we have free wi-fi, we partnered with FayToGo for our delivery service, we've made loads of new customers who have become like family to us, and best of all, we successfully moved to a bigger location. At Westwood Shopping Center we are much more centrally located, have double the seating capacity, and unlimited parking. We extended our hours and are now open on Saturdays. 

Thank you Fayetteville for your warm embrace and your enthusiasm about our pies! Without your support this wouldn't be possible. 

Pumpkin Pie Fayetteville NC