A Black History Month Salute to Atlanta’s Top Black Chefs

Some of the city’s top chefs are African American

Chef Ed Harris honed his skills at New York's Buddakan and won Food Nework's Chopped.

With the busiest airport in the world comes a reputation as a convention-friendly destination, and Atlanta has become increasingly popular as a food lover’s haven. Styles ranging from classic to trendy all merge together to create eating experiences far beyond the thought of some finger lickin’ good fried chicken. And with a 54% population of Blacks/African Americans, according to the 2010 US Census report, Black History Month is particularly great time to pay homage to a few of the greatest chefs in town:

Marvin Woods
Chef Marvin Woods is an Emmy Award-nominated television host, celebrity chef and author of cookbooks Home Plate Cooking and The New Low Country. The Atlanta luminary is recognized by his signature bandana and healthy approach to food rooted in traditions of northern Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and the United States Low Country, for which national publications, including O Magazine, Food & Wine, Southern Living and more pay homage to him.

Chef Marvin was recently chosen as the first chef to kick off Michelle Obama's “Let's Move!” cooking series — a project  designed to help busy families create nutritious and affordable meals.

Ed Harris
The work of chef Ed Harris — winner of the Food Network’s CHOPPED “Turbot Powered” season four episode — is not just limited to creating meals for his private and celebrity clients and other city-wide events. Before, during, and after stints in such esteemed kitchens as New York’s Buddakan, Chef Harris has dedicated much of his leisure time to teaching children about food and culinary business, and to raising money for charities like the Taste of New York and the James Beard Foundation. The St. Lucia native also appeared as a chef on 24-Hour Restaurant Battle.

Todd Richards
Chef Todd Richards — two-time winner of the Mother Clucker Fried Chicken Festival — approaches food as a historian and scientist, honoring regional culinary tradition while passionately pushing the boundaries of modern technique and creativity. From The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead to The Shed at Glenwood, Chef Richards described the new endeavor like this to us: “If you look at Paris, for example, there are places like Frenchie and Le Chateaubriand, where chefs are in the kitchen, running their places using the best ingredients. Yet the restaurant environment is very casual. Le Chateaubriand is ranked ninth in the top 50 restaurants in the world (according to San Pellegrino ranking) and the wait staff are wearing t-shirts, jeans and bib aprons. People want great food & beverage and refined, but not pretentious service. That’s what you will find at The Shed.”

In addition to appearances on NBC’s Today Show, where he cooked his signature chicken and waffles with Al Roker, chef Richards was also chef/owner of Rolling Bones BBQ, named one of the “Top 10 New Barbecue Restaurants in America” by Bon Appétit.

Darryl Evans
Although currently on medical leave, Chef Darryl Evans — a three-time recipient of the American Culinary Chef of the Year award and winner of four gold medals at the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany — holds the title of executive chef at The City Club of Buckhead. Among all other private clubs in the country, City Club of Buckhead distinguishes itself by a “Live Well” level of concierge service and an exceptional restaurant menu.

Duane Nutter
Chef Duane Nutter is the guy you want to meet the next time you’re passing through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport. There in Terminal E, at One Flew South, the part-time comedian, motorcycle enthusiast and executive chef extraordinaire delivers “southernational” cuisine that has been recognized by Esquire Magazine, Frommer’s, and US Airways as a top airport restaurant.

At One Flew South — the first upscale travel-dining restaurant in the world’s busiest airport — chef Nutter makes it possible for diners to partake of spirited global fare featuring premium ingredients from regional farmers and purveyors. The beauty of it all is the option to eat in a chic environment or take out to take flight!

Having studied under such esteemed culinary greats as chef Daryl Evans during his tenure at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta, then on to The Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach, followed by Louisville, Kentucky’s Seelbach Hilton’s Oakroom--one of only 48 AAA Five-Diamond restaurants in the world, chef Nutter takes pride in bringing a new twists to old favorites.

Scotley Innis
Chef Scotley Innis — a featured chef in Essence Magazine’s Men Who Cook series — has worked under a number of all-star Atlanta chefs to include Allistar Carter and Michael Baurad at Au Pied de Cochon, the signature restaurant at InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead.

Today, chef Innis holds the title of executive chef at Ormsby’s, a warm and inviting neighborhood tavern with an extensive craft beer and classic cocktail selection to accommodate a dazzlingly fresh pub menu to be enjoyed with backgammon, darts, pool, bocce ball and shuffleboard.


Jamika Pessoa
Chef Jamika Pessoa is an Atlanta based personal chef to the stars known to produce magic in the kitchen through her innovative style, sassy personality, and inspiring tenacity.