About US

Ode To the Black Chef is a blog celebrating African American foodways a blog celebrating African American foodways & the chefs that inspired a nation of food and culture that often go unrecognized in the landscape of American cuisine.

Here we celebrate, honor & tell the stories of the food and the chefs that have shaped true american cuisine through the recipes & stories of the chefs who created what we know as southern cuisine.

From the plantation fields to grocery store shelves, African American cooks, chefs and grandmothers have been at the heart of the way we consume food today. Yet, when it comes to our food, the face of our cuisine is often whitewashed & erased. We have a long history of cultivating food in the US; however, our stories are being retold through the people who gained their knowledge from the African Americans whose innovations will go on to make cooking fast and easy.

Think pancake mix, instant rice, instant biscuit dough, all the innovations of african american people whose stories get erased and forgotten.

One of the first cookbook ever published was from enslave woman named Malinda Russell, followed by Abby Fisher, whose knowledge of pickling produce gave us the pickle and lets not forget Rufus Estes, who gave us GOOD THINGS TO EAT. The first known ‘professional classically trained” chefs of this country are two enslaved men who were in charge of cooking for the first presidents of this country, yet when we look at the landscape of the culinary industry our faces are far removed and the cuisine our enslaved ancestors created are erased & their contributions forgotten. It is for this reason, I decided to create a blog celebrating our food, our culture and our culinary ancestors.

With more than 13 years in the culinary industry, I have worked for many of the country’s top restaurants in the fine dining sector and found that i was the only African American women in many of my work environments. When I would search for my roots in the industry i love, I found that most thought of southern cuisine or soul food, while comforting, as very unsophisticated & gluttonous, with no real place among the high-end dining industry. I also found that many of the southern cuisine restaurants that flourished were that of white males, with no true tie to the cuisine and its roots. It was at this moment I made it my mission to tell the stories of my ancestors and the culinary giants of African descent that I uncovered while on my journey to food. The time is now -Chef Bella Jones

Chef Bella Jones is an air force veteran and Art Institute of Houston Graduate. She holds a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and is the founding chef of 8Eleven Hospitality Group, Inc.

Her restaurant concept, Liz & Leon’s Southern Kitchen is slated to open in 2022. She is a successful restaurant consultant, helping many small restaurants in Houston, Tx & Atlanta, Ga.

She currently resides in Atlanta Ga with her furbaby, a chocolate husky who she affectionately named Mocha Latte