A History of Southern Food with Chef Kevin Mitchell

Conversations around southern food have been met with passion and debate. Oftentimes, the holders of these traditions are overlooked. Chef Kevin Mitchell, C.E.C, C.F.S.E, M.A, examines the stories of the freed and enslaved Black cooks from Charleston, who, through their skill, created the authentic cuisine still alive today. In this session, you will discover the lives of some of the greatest black caterers of Charleston and explore some of the most important ingredients, such as Carolina Gold Rice, that play a vital part in the story of Southern food, ingredients that still today show how deep the African influence is on Southern food.

Chef Kevin Mitchell is a Nathalie Dupree Graduate Fellow of the Southern Foodways Alliance and became the first African American Chef Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Charleston in 2008. He is a 2020 South Carolina Chef Ambassador (read that article to learn more about Kevin!) and currently serves on the Slow Food USA board of directors. 
Read about Kevin’s re-creation of Nat Fuller’s Feast and this¬†Op Ed on From Black Hands to White Mouths. Find links to more articles and also where to get some of the ingredients Kevin talked about in his session! ‚ÄĒ like Carolina Gold Rice,¬†Sea Island Red Peas, Benne Seed Oil and Fonio to bring this important story alive in your own kitchen.

Follow Kevin on Instagram and Facebook @chefscholar.

Kevin Mitchell’s Recommended Reading List

Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes by Todd Richards

The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton Martin

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook by Toni Tipton Martin

South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations by Sean Brock

The Taste of Country Cooking: The 30th Anniversary Edition of a Great Southern Classic Cookbook by Edna Lewis

Consuming Identity: The Role of Food in Redefining the South (Race, Rhetoric, and Media Series) by Ashli Quesinberry Stokes and Wendy Atkins-Sayre

Dethroning the Deceitful Pork Chop: Rethinking African American Foodways from Slavery to Obama (Food and Foodways) by Jennifer Jensen Wallach and Rebecca Sharpless

Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs by Psyche Williams Forson

Southern Provisions by David Shields

The Cooking Gene by Michael Twitty

The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South by John T. Edge

The Edible South by Marcie Cohen Ferris

Soul Food by Adrian Miller

High on the Hog by Jessica Harris

Hog and Hominy by Frederick Douglass Opie

What the slaves Ate: Recollections of African American Foods and Foodways from the Slave Narratives by Herbert C. Covey and Dwight Eisnach

A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food by Elizabeth S.D. Engelhardt 

The Larder, edited by John T. Edge, Elizabeth S.D. Engelhardt, and Ted Ownby  

Black Rice by Judith A. Carney

In the Shadows of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World¬†by Judith Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff


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