According to studies, culinary arts are still a predominately white career field and it is rare to find a black top executive chef. It’s even rarer to see black chefs on TV. Folks have been asking the Food Network for years about why their cast of cooks is so bland. And while they’ve taken steps to add some variety and spice to their line-up, the pickins’ are still slim when it comes to finding black chefs on the small screen. Luckily, the ones who are in the spotlight represent well and will hopefully open the door for more up and coming African-American foodies. Here are our top five favorite chefs on TV:
Marcus Samuelsson is a serious chef who just happened to become a celebrity chef. At age 24, this Ethiopian-born over-achiever became an executive chef at a top New York restaurant and sky-rocketed from there. Chef Samuelsson got his start on television on the Discovery Home channel with “Inner Chef.” Since then, he’s been whipping up fare on BET and went on to win Top Chef Masters on Bravo. Samuelsson has also judged competitions for Top Chef, Iron Chef America and Food Network’s Chopped.
Patrick and Gina Neely
This dynamic duo is one of my all-time favorites, mainly because it is a joy to watch them cook. I love their playful banter and the way Gina keeps Pat in check. They offer up a heaping example of how married couples should interact in the kitchen, while cooking up down-home grub that will make you want to smack your mama. Down Home with the Neelys premiered on the Food Network in 2008 and continues to be one of the network’s most popular cooking shows thanks to this First Couple of southern cuisine.
Carla Hall first came on the scene in season five of Bravo’s Top Chef. Although she didn’t win the competition, Carla quickly became a fan favorite. Carla returned for Top Chef All-Stars, but her biggest victory came when she landed a co-hosting gig on ABC’s The Chew. Slow to start, this daytime talk show has gained momentum, thanks in large part to Carla’s magnetic personality and relatable recipes. I love her philosophy which is to cook with love. Hall says if you aren’t feeling up to cooking, “the only thing you should be making is a reservation.”
Chef Roble Ali
A Brooklyn caterer, Roblé Ali first hit the tube on Bravo’s “Chef Roblé & Co.” which followed the young entrepreneur as he began catering to New York’s elite. Now, Roblé is known as one of the youngest and hottest chefs throughout the country and is often called upon to cook for daytime shows like TODAY and Wendy Williams. No word on whether Chef Roblé and his band of misfit caterers will return for Season 2, but this chef is definitely one to watch.
We’re a little biased with this chef, but for good reason! Gerry Garvin, known simply as “G,” is not only nice to look at, but his cooking techniques are adaptable for the at-home cook. His show on TV One, “Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin” showcased his philosophy, which is “If I can do it, you can do it.” Chef G continues heating up the screen with his new show on The Cooking Channel, “Road Trip with G. Garvin” which takes viewers through the South in search of the best cuisine.