Announcement by Deb Freeman
James Hemings was a son of Virginia whose life and legacy has never been fully appreciated. This tour de force figure was a former slave of Thomas Jefferson, and was brought to France in order to be trained by top chefs. He returned to America with recipes for macaroni and cheese, crème brûlée, whipped cream, and other dishes that we continue to enjoy today, and yet his life and legacy has largely been erased. His innovation, creativity, and skill created the half-Virginian and half-French style that revolutionized the way fine dining was experienced in this country. In order to help illuminate Hemings’ contributions, six chefs of color, including four Hampton Roads based chefs, have been chosen to pay tribute by recreating dishes originated by Hemings on October 8 at Andrea’s La Bella in Ghent from 6-9pm.
The selected chefs are: Alvin Williams, chef and owner of Cobalt Grille, David Hannah, chef and owner of Stoley’s, Alvin Hyman, chef at Sweetwater Cuisine, Al DeVane, chef and owner at Carolina Son Bbq, Frank Crump of GFC Catering, and Keith Williams, pastry chef of the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort in Miami, Florida. Each chef brings their unique and creative talents to the event, and will create a bridge between the present and the past through each dish. Ashbell McElveen, chef and founder of the James Hemings Foundation will also be on hand to meet attendees and shed much needed light on the influence of James Hemings on American food as we know it.
In order to truly broaden the conversation about often overlooked aspects of culinary history, Southern Grit Magazine will host a series of historic dinners called Stirring the Pot. In conjunction with the James Hemings Foundation and the Culinary Institute of Virginia, the inaugural dinner will pay homage to Hemings. The Stirring the Pot dinners were created to illuminate culinary figures whose stories have either been glossed over or not told at all, and to look below the surface to stir up the real history behind how we experience food.
To purchase tickets to this special dinner honoring the contributions of James Hemings visit stirringthepot.eventbrite.com
For more on the James Hemings foundation visit jameshemingsfoundation.org
For more on the Culinary Institute of Virginia visit chefva.com