These famous black chefs are carving out a name for themselves in the hyper-competitive food world. They represent a wide variety of cooking and food styles.
Born and trained in France, Dable worked in many luxurious hotels and restaurants in what many consider the best food city in the world—Paris. He took his talents to the Ivory Coast in East Africa and opened his restaurant Migrations. Dable took what he learned in France and combined that with African cooking traditions to create his signature Afro-fusion cuisine. He also teaches locals about the joys of cooking and stressing the use of readily available ingredients.
Bailey went to cooking school in New York after getting fired from a job as a social worker. She started as a personal chef and worked in some of the best kitchens in New York City. In 2014, she opened The Grey in an abandoned Greyhound station in Savannah, Georgia, which was nominated for a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. She makes traditional southern dishes with some New York City flair thrown in, like collard greens imbued with pecan smoke.
After opening a restaurant and catering company at 22, Chef Marisa Baggett was asked to host a sushi-centered dinner. She accepted the challenge and became fascinated. She went to the California Sushi Academy and became the first black female to graduate. She worked in sushi kitchens and gained fame for her southern twist on the Japanese specialty. She now travels as an itamae and teaches the art of sushi making to anyone willing to learn.
Pitmaster Bryan Furman stands out in the crowded Atlanta barbecue scene, winning “Best New Restaurant” awards from all over. His restaurant B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue is committed to whole hog cooking and heirloom animal husbandry. All the sides are made from scratch and use local ingredients. That’s rare in barbecue joints, especially in Atlanta.
Growing up in the tough LA streets isn’t easy. Jeff Henderson knows this well, as he was stabbed in the chest by a rival gang member at just age 16. In 1988, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking. It was in prison where he found his love for cooking and turned his life in a different direction. He penned his story of redemption in the best seller COOKED, which is being made into a movie. Henderson is now a bestselling author, motivational speaker, and celebrity chef.