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"Dropping Knowledge Like Hot Biscuits"®

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Speaking Requests

 Watch me “Dropping Knowledge Like Hot Biscuits”™ in person!

Photo by Jacqueline Yau

Photo by Jacqueline Yau

Presentations

I would love to share my passion for culinary history with you. Here are my most requested presentation topics:

Presidential Chefs

      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Leadership Lessons from the White House Kitchen–this is a great presentation to 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. 

    Soul Food

      • 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.

    Barbecue

    • 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.

Speaker’s Fee: For speaking events, I request a fee and reasonable travel expenses. Please contact me at Adrian(at)adrianemiller.com to discuss what will work best for your event.

Catered Meals

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.

Testimonials

“Thanks so much for your involvement in our event last night.  It was an absolute honor and joy to have you be our feature speaker. You are a natural storyteller. I learned a lot, laughed, and so enjoyed hearing you speak about your work and what James Beard has meant to you.”–Elizabeth Mayer, Rocky Mountain PBS, May 9, 2017.

“It was a rare combination of captivating storytelling and solid scholarship. I’ve picked my way through Soul Food and now want to start your new work.”–Jim England, attending library talk in Longmont, Colorado, March 9, 2017.

Moderating Panels

Adrian was recommended to us and agreed to moderate two panels . . . Adrian did a wonderful job of formulating and asking his own questions that generated great insights from our panelists and made the issues come alive for the audience. Adrian was a good time manager and handled the audience participation portion very well. In the feedback that we got from our evaluation forms, the participants felt the panel discussions were very informative.

Rev. Linda Gertenbach, 2013 Faith Advocacy Day coordinator, Denver, Colorado (February 2013).

 

Higher Education

Using Adrian Miller’s, Soul Food, in a university history course on immigration and ethnicity opened up students’ minds to the significance of food as a vehicle of change, exchange, and understanding why history matters—with a lot of yummy fun along the way! One student described it as, “one of my favorite books that I have ever read. It’s so interesting to read a thoughtful and well-developed book that so accurately details soul food.” Thanks to Adrian Miller, students noted their desire to dig deeper into their own family history, an unexpected but appreciated outcome. Peppered with humor, the book kept all students’ attention and continues to resonate. I highly recommend Soul Food for aficionados, historians, wide-ranging university courses, curious cooks—or just the curious!

Dr. Pamela Stewart, Historian, Arizona State University (October 2017)

Government

Nonprofit Organizations