On January 22, 2015 Black Culinary Alliance, or BCA global, offered up a petition to our First Lady Michelle Obama on Change,org that encourages her and the Smithsonian Institute to recognize the achievements of Chef Leah Chase and Chef Jefferson Evans as two culinary legends. Most of you know these two pioneers from and within our community these two trailblazers are already revered, but what the BCA is trying to accomplish is less about the specific achievements of these two giants, which are monumental to be sure, and more about power a nod from our First Lady would have in opening the door to a larger discussion about the enormous legacy chefs of color have had in the building of American cuisine.
One of the struggles I have personally with black history month and with my black culinary history project is that there is the need for them at all. I love our culture, the power and beauty and creativity we are bequeathed, and the spirit our people have contributed to the fabric of American history, but in the very distinction there is the sense that our history is less important than general American History.
When we consign the teaching of our heritage to one moth there is something that is made small in a nation predisposed to segregating ethnicity into neat boxes. Somehow It feels a let down to our ancestors that we haven't come further. One of the goals of this site and this project is to speak the names of our forefathers for the benefit of our community, but also for the world. I want this work to make our heritage less exotic and less alternative to our collective American culinary identity and make this history more commonplace and more widely accepted and understood.
I support this petition because I believe in the rich legacy that people of color have contributed to American cooking and that both Chef Leah Chase and Chef Jefferson Evans represent the depth and breath oat contribution. If you agree you can support the BCA in their campaign at the Change.org Petition Page