As we enter the month of February and continue the conversation about cruelty-free living, we’re taking this opportunity to fall in love – with the amazing Black women who spread their love and light to the world through nourishing its people.
From upscale dining establishments to hole-in-the-wall gems, these Black women chefs are healing by serving delectable vegan meals to their communities. Today, we’re highlighting the many nurturing women who feed us.
Here are nine amazing vegan Black women chefs who have inspired our palates – not to mention ambitions – to new horizons!
By: Elizabeth Toy
1. Chef Babbette Davis
Restaurant: Stuff I Eat
Location: Inglewood, California
At 65 years old, Chef Babbette Davis is no stranger to shock when she reveals her age. After suffering from digestive issues and skin problems for years, Babbette made a conscious decision to change her lifestyle and diet and began eating for nutrition.
A vegan for more than 20 years now, she has been experimenting as a chemist in her own kitchen and in 2008, opened her restaurant, Stuff I Eat, in Inglewood, CA. Read more about Babbette’s story here.
2. Chef Leonie McDonald
Restaurant: Strictly Vegan
Location: Los Angeles, California
After working as a legal records officer for a law firm for 30 years, Leonie McDonald was laid off during the 2010 financial crisis and decide then “to pursue her passion of health-inspired creative vegan cooking.”
Leonie has since opened Strictly Vegan, a Jamaican-inspired vegan kitchen and catering company. Read more here.
Can going vegan change your eyesight? It did for Leonie! Read more about her vegan journey here.
3. Chef Makini Howell
Restaurant: Plum Bistro
Location: Seattle, Washington
Owner of four restaurants in Seattle under the umbrella Plum Restaurant, cookbook author, and personal chef to Stevie Wonder in his 2015 “Songs In The Key Of Life” tour, Makini Howell has been named “one of the world’s most creative chefs.”
Read more here.
4. Karyn Calabrese
Karyn’s Fresh Corner
Previously a model, Karyn is a raw foodist, holistic health expert, and restaurateur with the longest-standing gourmet raw food restaurant, Karyn’s Raw Bistro, in the United States.
“Founded by renowned living-foodist and holistic health expert, Karyn Calabrese, Karyn’s exists to rejuvenate the way people approach achieving and maintaining timeless health, well-being and clarity, by celebrating the purity of nature’s original design— in food and the human mind and body.”
Read more here.
Interested in creating your own vegan meals at home? Check out our grocery list of essential ingredients that you should buy!
5. Erika Boyd
Detroit Vegan Soul
“Five years ago, Kirsten Ussery-Boyd, 38, and her wife Erika Boyd, 43, discovered that a vegan diet could help them avoid the health problems that ran in their families, like diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.”
Selling one-off meals to begin with, they eventually opened their own catering business and later, their first restaurant, Detroit Vegan Soul.
Read here for more.
6. Chef Tamerra Dyson
Restaurant: Souley Vegan
Location: Oakland, California
Vegan since the age of 17, Tamerra’s recipes are a result of her own experimentation of traditional foods with a vegan spin.
Learn more about Chef Tamerra and the challenges she’s faced as a Black-owned business in the health industry here.
If you want to try making your own vegan meals, check out these three quick, easy-to-make meals!
7. Dr. Bretta & Belinda King
Two Vegan Sistas
Two Vegan Sistas is comprised of Dr. Bretta King, a chemist and educator with a strong nutrition background, and her sister Belinda, an artist, poet, and graphic designer who also uses her artistic ability to help to create some of their recipes.
Read more about their journey here.
8. Chef Brenda Beener
Restaurant: Seasoned Vegan
Location: Harlem, New York
Chef Brenda and her son Aaron opened the first and only full-service gourmet vegan restaurant, Seasoned Vegan, in Harlem, New York.
The restaurant serves soul food with vegan flair.
In an interview with ABC7, Brenda said: “Our definition of soul food is food prepared with love and comes from the soul. It’s the food you love, veganized.”
9. Azla and Nesanet
Los Angeles, CA
A family-run restaurant by a mother-daughter team, Azla is a vegan Ethiopian restaurant located in South LA.
Azla and her youngest daughter, Nesanet run the restaurant using Azla’s experience and recipes, after adjusting her cooking to each of her seven children’s palates – all of whom became vegan or vegetarian for their own reasons.
Read more about Mama Azla’s journeys between Ethiopia and North America, here.
Do you know any amazing Black women chefs who deserve the spotlight? Share with us in the comments!