Celebrating Culinary Heritage: 7 Sensational Cookbooks by Black Chefs and Authors

From Southern classics to fresh takes inspired by icons of today, we’ve compiled 7 cookbooks by Black chefs and authors that will revolutionize your kitchen.

Food & Wine Lifestyle

In the expansive, ever-evolving world of culinary arts, cookbooks serve as more than just a collection of recipes. They tell stories, reflect history, and preserve traditions. Each recipe results from many evenings spent around dinner tables, accidentally adding too much of an ingredient and making the best of it (which sometimes makes the meal even better), and most importantly, sharing the creation with others.

Among the myriad voices in the food world, Black chefs and authors stand out with their unique perspectives and experiences, as they have carved out a place for themselves in the culinary community. Food creates and reflects community. Cookbooks, in turn, serve as a collection of experiences and a window into the rich, diverse heritage of Black cuisine. Read on for 7 recipe books by Black chefs and authors you’ve got to add to your kitchen bookshelf.

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook by Toni Tipton-Martin

Jubilee by Toni Tipton-Martin, book cover

The award-winning record of this cookbook speaks for itself, with its stunning compilation of recipes from hidden corners of US history. Toni Tipton-Martin brings to light recipes nearly erased from history, featuring a wide breadth of sources. From enslaved chefs to upper-class entrepreneurs, Martin highlights decadent classics, such as seafood gumbo and pecan pie, as well as modern delicacies like champagne cocktails with maraschino cherries and brandy. Whether you’re looking for a Southern classic or fresh adaptations, Jubilee has got a recipe that’s sure to delight your taste buds.

Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health by Gregory Gourdet

Winner of the 2022 James Bearde Book Award, this revolutionary cookbook revamps healthy eating with absolutely delectable recipes free of dairy, gluten, soy, legumes, and grains. Perfect for readers and chefs with food intolerances, wellness devotees, and anyone who just loves delicious, healthy food, this cookbook contains 200 energizing and flavorsome recipes so satisfying you’ll never notice the omissions.

Everyone's Table by Gregory Gourdet and JJ Goode, book cover.

Focused on nutrient density and a global approach to cooking, Gourdet combines his French culinary education, Haitian upbringing, and love of African and Asian cuisine into this flawlessly beautiful collection of health-forward recipes packed with flavor and texture. Everyone’s Table provides a delightfully fresh take on food as humanity’s best and most tasty fuel, powering a healthy life. 

For The Culture: Phenomenal Black Women and Femmes in Food: Interviews, Inspiration, and Recipes by Klancy Miller

In this stunningly moving anthology of recipes by Black women and femmes who are and have been reshaping the culinary landscape, Klancy Miller highlights women leaving their mark on all elements of the world of food. From interviews with women utilizing Afro-indigenous farming methods to restore and sustain their communities to TV hosts spotlighting the deeper stories behind today’s food systems, this book is certain to illuminate aspects of food culture that are often forgotten but no less important today than they were a hundred years ago.

For the Culture by Klancy Miller, book cover.

Miller showcases vivid tales from a variety of culinary and social icons that paint a vibrant picture of the effect Black women and femmes have had on the world of food. Featuring stories of experiences and mistakes, advice, and cherished recipes, this anthology will do more than teach you how to make a delectable lemon tart; it will introduce you to some of the women who have shaped cooking throughout generations and redefine the way you think of women’s role in culinary history. 

Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora by Bryant Terry

Black Food by Bryant Terry, book cover.

As much as it is a cookbook, this breathtaking and earnest tribute to Black culinary creations is a vibrant celebration of Black culture from around the globe. With contributions from international chefs and authors, Black Food offers a poignant exploration of experience throughout the African diaspora. With fresh combinations like jerk chicken ramen and mango salad complimented by stunning artwork and design, plus a playlist curated by Bryant himself, this cookbook will immerse you in the varied histories and recipes of Black chefs and authors spanning the world over.

Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs, and Juice: A Cocktail Recipe Book: Cocktails from Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin

Inspired by the history, creativity, and hospitality of Black drinking culture and boasting recipes from over two centuries of Black cookbooks, Toni Tipton-Martin draws on her expertise and research to create this stunning collection of innovative and delicious cocktails and beverages. From recipes outlining how to make ancestral classics like Kalua to modern favorites like the Jerk-Spiced Bloody Mary, Martin has created a rich anthology of beverages and stories highlighting a wide array of worldliness from the last two centuries.

Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs, and Juice by Toni Tipton-Martin, book cover.

She jumps on the opportunity to feature some of her influences, culinary and beverage icons new and old, from Tom Bullock to Snoop Dogg. This collection of beverages recognizes and celebrates the vibrant history and contributions of Black mixologists and innovators throughout the last two centuries. 

Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts: Stories and Recipes from Five Generations of Black Country Cooks by Crystal Wilkinson

Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts by Crystal Wilkinson, book cover.

In this hauntingly titled guide to not only conquering the kitchen but also celebrating your ancestors and the lessons and love passed down through families, Crystal Wilkinson shares nearly forty recipes, accompanied by touching stories from the buried history of Black Appalachian women. Inspired by her experience baking a jam cake, when she felt the presence of her grandmother in the kitchen with her, Wilkinson was called to create not only a cookbook but a memoir of the generations of Black women from Appalachia who created their own cuisine and legacy. This cookbook shares some of Wilkinson’s family inheritance and stories sure to touch your heart. 

Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day by JJ Johnson and Alexander Smalls

Between Harlem and Heaven by JJ Johnson and Alexander Smalls, book cover.

This breathtaking blend of African, Asian, and American influences combines history, experience, storytelling, and culinary magic and takes readers on a journey beginning over 400 years ago. Treasuring recipes that survived the Middle Passage and have since melded with American and Asian flavors, this recipe book goes far beyond the bounds of traditional southern cooking to give us a glimpse into a beautifully blended, truly global cuisine. Inspired by three decades of travel and experience with chefs of color, Between Harlem and Heaven truly lives up to its name as it delves into tantalizing dishes sure to expand your palate and exhilarate your taste buds. 

From Southern classics to globally inspired innovations, the contributions of Black chefs and authors to the culinary world are as vibrant and unique as their individual livedness. Whether drawing inspiration from ancestral recipes, trips around the world, or today’s icons, there is no limit to the creativity and culinary prowess that result from true, heartfelt creation.

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Check out more of the Bookstr team’s recommendations here!