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Celebrating Black History Month

Menu Development

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February is Black History Month, which honors the accomplishments, cultures, contributions, and history that the Black community has made in shaping the United States. To celebrate Black History Month, we’re highlighting a few renowned Black chefs who’ve made a powerful impact in the culinary world. You can also check out some of the dishes that were inspired by these chefs, which we’ll be featuring in our dining halls throughout the month. 

Matthew Raiford, who calls himself a “CheFarmer” (chef and farmer), 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. He combines history and family in his culinary creations to honor and celebrate his Gullah Geechee heritage. 

  • Gullah Rice 
  • Blackberry Doobie 
  • Za’atar Roasted Chicken

Marcus Samuelsson, a strong activist for Black chefs, holds some impressive 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. He brings an innovative approach to American cooking by using a variety of flavors spanning from Africa to the Caribbean and pays tribute to his own Ethiopian-Swedish culture in his dishes. 

  • Kale Salad with Root Vegetables and Apples 
  • Doro Wat (Ethiopian-Style Spiced Chicken)

Carla Hall, a two-time “Top Chef” finalist, is a driving force in the culinary industry by highlighting the contributions that 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. 

  • Hot Milk Cake with Buttermilk 
  • Millet Pilaf 
  • Cornmeal Apple Crumble

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. 

  • Southern-Style Potato Casserole 
  • Shrimp & Grits 
  • Buttermilk Cookies 

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

  • Nigerian Jollof Rice with Fried Plantains 
  • Charred Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce 

Try out the recipe below and experience the delightful tastings from Edna Lewis with her Sautéed Chicken with Hominy Casserole. 

Sautéed Chicken with Hominy Casserole by Edna Lewis
Servings: 6 


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds bone-in, skin on 8-cut chicken
2 ¼ cups canned hominy
1 medium yellow onion
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots
1 dried bay leaf
⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons white wine
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
fresh parsley to taste
1 ½ tablespoons heavy whipping cream 


STEP 1: Preheat oven to 325°F. Peel, wash, and thinly slice carrots. Skin and dice onions. Pick, wash, and chop parsley. Drain and rinse hominy. 

STEP 2: In a skillet, melt butter until light brown. Begin searing the chicken but don’t caramelize; just enough to seize the skin so it doesn’t shrivel while cooking. 

STEP 3: In a deep casserole dish, place the drained hominy. Lay the chicken pieces over the top followed by the onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Top with the bay leaf, dried thyme, and white wine. Cover tightly. 

STEP 4: Bake for 45 minutes or until proper internal temperature is reached. Uncover and season with salt and pepper. Add the parsley and heavy cream. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes. 

STEP 5: Place in serving dish and serve immediately. 

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