Black History Month
Each Tuesday in February, Donahue, Dougherty, & St. Mary’s dining halls will feature menus inspired by renowned Black chefs from across the country!
February 9, 2021 Featured Chef
Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopian-Swedish chef and restaurateur, was born in Ethiopia in 1971. At a young age, Samuelsson and his sister were adopted and moved to Gothenburg, Sweden, where Samuelsson was then raised. Food has always permeated Marcus’s life. He fondly recalls fishing with his father and cooking with his grandmother in Sweden. Marcus also pulls inspiration from Ethiopian relatives, spices, and culture. Samuelsson studied at the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, and later practiced his craft in Switzerland and Austria before moving to the US in 1994.
At age 24, Marcus Samuelsson became the youngest chef ever to receive a three-star review from The New York Times. In 2003, he was named Best Chef: New York City by the James Beard Foundation. Today, Marcus lives in New York City and owns over 30restaurants worldwide, including New York City’s acclaimed, Red Rooster Harlem. He has authored seven books and co-founded the online magazine FoodRepublic.com. Marcus has achieved many more accolades, some of which include, serving as a guest chef at President Obama’s first state dinner, speaking at TEDxHarlem, and appearing as a judge on Chopped. Above all else, Samuelsson’s company, The Marcus Samuelsson Group, “is committed to creating outstanding culinary experiences, community support, and thought-provoking storytelling that celebrates food, music, culture, and art.”
February 16, 2021 Featured Chef
Leah Chase, fondly known as “the Queen of Creole Cuisine,” was born in Madisonville, Louisiana in 1923. As a child, she grew up on a large strawberry farm, which she noted as an integral experience that led to her knowledge of food and cooking. When she finished 6th grade, Chase’s town no longer offered school for Black children, so she moved in with relatives in New Orleans to attend a Roman Catholic school.
After graduating high school, Leah Chase took a job in a French Quarter restaurant, which sparked a love for the restaurant industry. Chase later married musician, Edgar “Dooky” Chase, whose family owned a sandwich shop in New Orleans. Leah began working in the kitchen of the shop in the 50s. Eventually, she developed it with her own family’s Creole recipes to become one of the first upscale restaurants open to African Americans. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant was a melting pot of culture, feeding everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. and Nat King Cole to Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Dooky Chase’s was a key meeting spot during the Civil Rights Movement and was named one of the 40 most important restaurants of the past 40 years by Food & Wine in 2018. Later in life, Mrs. Chase was a champion for women, African American Arts, and people of color, receiving multiple honors for her Civil Rights work. She was known to say, “In my dining room, we changed the course of America over a bowl of gumbo and some fried chicken.”
February 23, 2021 Featured Chef
Edna Lewis, affectionately known as the Grande Dame of southern cooking, was a chef, culinary ambassador, author, restaurateur, and teacher who helped refine the American view of southern cooking. Edna was born in Freetown, Virginia in 1916, where she grew up in a small community that her grandfather helped to create. Members of the Freetown community grew and prepared their own cooking ingredients, which taught Lewis a resourcefulness in the kitchen that was central to African American cuisine.
At age 16, Edna moved to Washington D.C. and soon after to New York City. In 1948, her dream of becoming a chef came to be when she opened her restaurant, Café Nicholson, in Manhattan with close friend John Nicholson. Lewis cooked every dish and utilized simple, tasty Southern dishes, which attracted many celebrities. After she left the restaurant, Lewis authored multiple cookbooks in a memoir-style and taught cooking classes to further share her love of culinary arts. Edna Lewis went on to achieve various awards and honors, including two lifetime achievement awards, an honorary Ph. D. in Culinary Arts, and the James Beard Living Legend Award.
March 2, 2021 Featured Chef
Patrick Clark, a master chef and restaurateur, was born in Brooklyn N.Y. in 1955. Following in his father’s footsteps, Mr. Clark attended New York Technical College. He further pursued his education at Great Britain’s Bournemouth Technical College and later launched his career as an apprentice at Braganza restaurant in London.
After moving back to New York, Clark worked at Regine’s, Le Coup de Fusil, the Pear Tree, and most notably Café Luxembourg. In 1988 he opened his own restaurant, Metro. Ownership was short lived as he preferred to maximize his talents in the kitchen. Clark moved to Beverly Hills, and as the executive chef at Bice’s Beverly Hills, he garnered 3 star status. He furthered his career at the Hay- Adams Hotel and was once again awarded 3 stars for his expertise. Clark served many celebrities and politicians during his time at the Hay-Adams Hotel, most notably the Clintons, who considered him for the position of White House executive chef. Mr. Clark was awarded many honors throughout his life, including the James Beard Best Chef Award: Mid-Atlantic Region, becoming the first Black chef to win a James Beard award. Patrick Clark’s last executive chef position was at the Tavern on the Green, one of the most successful restaurants in the United States, where he was able to utilize his passion and creativity.