EP 43 Food Pioneers: Life and Career Highlights of People Who Make Food Great
The first episode of a new As We Eat series highlights the accomplished lives and careers of Leah Chase and Edna Lewis - two African-American chefs who not only had brilliant careers but whose work in the culinary world highlights how important food culture is to community-building.
Food Pioneers: Leah Chase and Edna Lewis
As We Eat is launching a new series highlighting chefs, influencers, and food pioneers of renown and it seemed appropriate to start with two great African-American chefs who not only cooked great food that nourished people, but who in turn created opportunities to elevate and improve the lives of others.
Chef Leah Chase, famed Executive Chef of Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans, not only amplified Creole and Cajun foods in Louisiana, but her restaurant served as a critical hub for Civil Rights activism and community building. Over her 70 year career, Chase served all manner of celebrities, activists, and politicians - including two American presidents - but made it clear that what mattered most to her was serving good food.
From her early life in Freetown to her Executive Chef career in New York, Chef Edna Lewis - the Grand Dame of Southern Cooking - deeply cared about the journey that food takes from seed to plate. She is truly the originator of the farm to table ethic and was a great proponent for the joys of eating food that is seasonally fresh. Her seminal cookbook - A Taste of Country - is a master lesson about Southern cooking and how food orientates us to both time and place, whether in historic Freetown or urban New York City.
What Food Pioneers have inspired you and how you feed yourself, family and friends, and your community?
Sources We Found Helpful for this Episode
Oral History interview with Leah Chase (with video)
Books We Think You’ll Enjoy Reading
The Dooky Chase Cookbook by Leah Chase
And Still I Cook by Leah Chase
Leah Chase: Paintings by Gustave Blache III
Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim by Jessica B. Harris
The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis
The Edna Lewis Cookbook by Edna Lewis and Evangeline Peterson
Recipes You Really Need to Try
Gumbo 101 (Nourish with Leah Chase)
Leah Chase’s Gumbo z’Herbes (Southern Living)
Edna Lewis’ White Pound Cake the Kitchn
Episodes We Think You’ll Like
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