he black influence in the culinary world is both flavorful and far-reaching. It is black-eyed peas on a Monday afternoon, the deep sizzle of buttermilk covered chicken and vinegary steam rising from a pot of collard greens. It is also so much more than just soul food. For years, our gift has been to make something out of nothing in the kitchen. We have taken simple recipes and infused them with worldly flavors as bold and diverse as our heritage. There are thousands of African-American chefs in this country, from sous chefs, teachers, caterers, and Iron Chefs. They are creating art with food, feeding communities, and using their influence to change the face of the food scene in this country. Here are a few chefs that continue to pave the way for future culinary professionals.
Chef Maxcel Hardy
Chef Max Miami, Miami, FL
Chef Maxcel Hardy’s culinary adventure proves that hard work and a little creativity can lead to ample reward. As an 18-year-old culinary student in Miami, Chef Max worked his way into a catering job and used the funds to print up business cards that read “Chef to the Stars.” Years later, that is exactly what he is. As New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire’s personal chef, Chef Max has created Soul Food Sunday, a group gathering at Stoudemire’s New York City penthouse where guests feast on items like Corn Fritters with Spicy Remoulade, Ambrosia Salad with Toasted Coconut, and Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Sweet Potato Waffles. He also owns his own catering company in Miami, Chef Max Miami, with recipes rooted in American, French, Asian and Caribbean cuisine. “Food has always been around whenever my family shared moments of joy as a means of socializing, it’s just uplifting when I think about meals with my family,” said Hardy. Chef Max isn’t stopping with food. He is also creating a line of modern and fashionable chef jackets. In 2010 Hardy launched his humanitarian effort “One Chef Can 86 Hunger” to help combat hunger in the America. He has also written a cookbook called Recipes of Life.