I would love to share my passion for culinary history with you. Below are my most requested presentation topics.
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Black Chefs in the White House
An entertaining and informative look at the African Americans who have fed our First Families since the days of George Washington. In a typical presentation, I focus on the men and women who have cooked for Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and Obama. Material for this presentation is drawn from my most recent book on African American presidential chefs, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet. Upon request, I can focus my presentation on the cooks and food of your favorite president. Just let me know.
Leadership Lessons from the White House Kitchen
This presentation will help your team bond over presidential history and food. Through the use of some entertaining anecdotes from presidential history, you’ll see how the White House Kitchen has the power to inspire.
A Liquid History of the U.S. Presidency
An overview of the favorite drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, of U.S. presidents. This presentation includes cocktails, coffee, soft drinks and wine. This presentation also includes an explanation of how wines have been selected for state dinners at the White House. An emphasis will be placed on the drinking habits of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump.
An Edible History of White House State Dinners
A journey through the state dinners hosted by different presidential administrations. I describe how the meals are planned, how the dining spaces are configured and decorated, and review past menus and wine selections. An emphasis will be placed on the state dinners hosted by Presidents Jefferson, Hayes, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump.
Women Chefs in the White House
Most of the cooks in presidential history have been women. My presentation focuses on fascinating stories of the women who have cooked for Presidents Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Truman and Lyndon Johnson.
Does Soul Food Need a Warning Label?
You may think that you know the true history of soul food, but you probably don’t. I trace the journey of this cuisine from West Africa to the American West by showing what people of West African heritage ate before European contact, during The Middle Passage, during slavery in the American South, after Emancipation, and while migrating and settling in other parts of the United States. I end by identifying the current and future trends in soul food. In the end, you’ll see that soul food is healthier than its current image suggests. The material for this presentation is drawn from my James Beard Award-winning book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time.
The History of Barbecue
I give a brief history of the early years of barbecue in the American South and the give a brief description of its many regional styles: the Carolinas, Deep South, Kansas City, Kentucky, Santa Maria, California and Texas. I also share my experiences on becoming a certified barbecue judge in the Kansas City Barbecue society.
Food and Faith
The Theology of Barbecue
A fun exploration of how barbecue became a central part of church life in the U.S. I also describe barbecue’s denominations (regional styles), profile churches that operate barbecue restaurants and preachers who double as pitmasters.
The Theology of Soul Food
A fun exploration of how soul food went from being a linguistic term to describes one’s action to edify their spiritual life (listening to a sermon, studying scripture, singing hymns) to a popular label for a traditional food of African Americans. As this cuisine moved from the rural South to urban centers across the country, the church and religiosity still maintained a strong association.
I also speak on a wide range of culinary history topics, including: Chicken and Waffles, Hot Sauce, Macaroni and Cheese, Shalom Soul (the connections between Jewish food and soul food) and Soda Pop and Other Soft Drinks.
Other Topics & Services
I have interesting experiences in racial reconciliation efforts. My methodology is primarily informed by my White House experience with the President’s Initiative for One America. In this presentation, I offer insight on what makes racial reconciliation possible and sustainable.
For the past decade, I’ve worked with caterers to provide unique meals in your home or for large groups. I provide the recipes and the history, and they’ll do the cooking. I also cook meals for eight to ten people in private homes as a unique silent auction item that typically goes for $500 to $1,000. I specialize in African heritage cuisines like Creole, Lowcountry and soul food. I have also collected a number of celebrity cookbooks. I’m also an expert on presidential cooking. Pick your favorite president, and I’ll make a meal featuring that president’s favorite dishes. I could make a special meal comprised of the favorite dishes of your favorite celebrity. Just let me know!
The cost to do a catered meal event will vary upon the costs charged by the caterer, the location of the event, and what role you would like me to play at the event.