Buy Cookbooks From Black Chefs and Authors

Add more diversity, variety and flavor to your culinary library with cookbooks and reads from renowned Black chefs and authors.

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Updated on June 15, 2023

I have a lot of little collections — plants, spices, colorful wigs — but one I’m most proud of is my cookbook collection. It started out small, with a few gifted from friends and others found secondhand, but as it started to grow and as I become more serious about my culinary journey. I wanted to be more intentional with the cookbooks with which I was cluttering every surface of our apartment.

So, a few years ago, I made the call to start buying cookbooks exclusively from BIPOC authors. I love cooking and eating cuisine from all cultures, and the decision vastly improved my cookbook and recipe collection. As a Black amateur chef (hit me up, Chopped!), I've amassed quite a few cookbooks from renowned Black authors around the country.

For me, cracking open one of these books often feels like a warm hug, with many recipes calling back memories of childhood — the smell of my mother's turnip greens stewing away on Sunday mornings or summer afternoons spent hovering over a bowl of watermelon cubes. Memories like these remind me why I love cooking in the first place.

So now I'm sharing some of my favorite cookbooks and food-centric reads from Black chefs and authors that I've read over and over, plus a few on my wishlist.

$19.29

Like so many of us here in Atlanta, chef Todd Richards is a transplant; he grew up in Chicago before he and his family moved to Georgia in the '90s. Having worked in prestigious, high-end kitchens, his book Soul showcases contemporary cooking techniques with classic Southern ingredients. Instead of being chaptered into courses, Soul is broken up by ingredients — collards, berries, beans & rice — which personally I'm a big fan of. Soul may just be my favorite cookbook I own — the recipes are interesting and beautifully photographed, Richards adds wine and food pairings for each recipe, plus the cookbook comes with a playlist.

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$22.61

Ghetto Gastro is a Bronx-born collective of chefs and foodies originally founded by Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao and Lester Walker in 2012. Through food, they fight against the whitewashed and colonized standards of the culinary and commercial food industry. Their events showcase Black chefs and Black stories, and their recipes opt for ancestral ingredients from across the diaspora and plant-based dishes. Their book, Ghetto Gastro Presents Black Power Kitchen, gives readers a taste of their mission in a format that fits compactly on their kitchen countertop. Recipes and stories range from a signature “Twerk N Jerk” chicken to “State Greens,” a marinated and massaged raw collard greens dish that acts as a “rejection of the nutrient-deficient foods that end up on the prison plate.” And while there are definitely some difficult subjects, the book is still filled with humor and light. Black Power Kitchen isn’t just a great cookbook, it’s just a great book. It’s filled with gorgeous art, stories, interviews and guest features, and feels great in your hands. Plus, who can resist a recipe for “Red Drank?”

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$31.35

Farming While Black, by Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm, encourages Black people to reconnect with the land through farming and gardening when too often, people can't source where their food comes from or live in food deserts. The book is an in-depth guide accessible even to a beginner that reminds us that Africans developed the world’s first irrigation system, among Black people’s many other contributions to modern agriculture. Go from cultivation (no matter how small your outdoor space is) to the table with everything from tips to seed-starting to heritage recipes with crops from the harvest. It's a great read to get kids interested in gardening and cooking — skills that will serve them for life.

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$15.39

James Beard Award-winning chef Mashama Bailey and business partner John O. Morisano come together for an honest retelling of the trials and tribulations to open The Grey, their Savannah, Georgia, restaurant housed in a beautifully restored, formerly segregated Greyhound Bus Terminal. I had the pleasure of meeting (and accidentally photo bombing) Mashama Bailey at their book signing dinner event and am happy to report she is just as delightful as her food.

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$20.07

Toni Tipton-Martin is an award-winning food writer (she’s a two-time James Beard Award winner and a Julia Child award recipient), nutrition journalist and currently serves as editor-in-chief of Cook’s Country. She’s spent much of her career poring over vintage cookbooks that tell the story of how the Black community has shaped food culture for many generations, stories that in many cases have had the Black history written out of them or have been completely lost. “After all, if Thomas Jefferson introduced French haute cuisine to this country, who do you think actually cooked it?” her 2019 bestseller Jubilee questions. Martin’s book reconnects us with these culinary pioneers through recipes that showcase the incredible depth of African American cooking like spoonbread, seafood gumbo and classic fried chicken.

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$16.99

Watermelon and Red Birds is the latest release from James Beard Award-nominated food writer, master home cook, and producer Nicole A. Taylor, celebrating Juneteenth and generations of Black food culture. You can expect classics like red drinks, potato salad and BBQ recipes, or up the dessert table ante with a Moscato Pound Cake. In addition to the recipes and their page-turning essays, Taylor also includes a list of resources for BIPOC-owned hot sauces, jams, spice, and waffle mix companies.

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$24.49

Black Food reminds me of a modern-day church cookbook — it's filled with a collection of not just recipes, but essays, stories, poems, art and even a meditation practice from Black creators. Bryant Terry, James Beard and NAACP Image award-winning chef and author of several cookbooks including Afro-Vegan, serves as editor for the compilation.

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$15.99

Another offering from Bryant Terry, Afro-Vegan showcases vegan recipes with a twist – these recipes are so interesting and packed with flavor, that if it wasn’t in the title, you might not even know you were reading a vegan cookbook. I love to scour this book before a summer cookout to browse for fresh, produce-forward dishes like his “Summer Vegetable and Tofu Kebabs” or “Za’atar-Roasted Red Potatoes.” And one of my favorite sections in the book is actually the chapter on drinks and cocktails – the “Roselle-Roobios Drink” with hibiscus, warm cinnamon and pineapple has become a favorite (and it pairs nicely with your favorite boozy libation of choice).

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Aisha “Pinky” Cole’s Atlanta-based Slutty Vegan is the definition of “showing up and showing out.” First opened as a food truck 2018, Slutty Vegan quickly became an instant hit. After opening the first brick-and-mortar location, people would line up an hour before open to get a taste of Cole’s plant-based burgers, chicken tenders and chili, all loaded up with a side of fries. Step inside and prepare to get instantly hype as the staff screams cheeky obscenities at you that I can’t type here. But it’s not just the fun family cookout environment that has led to Cole’s restaurants, food trucks and even a vegan bar dotting the East coast: This food is GOOD, and bucks against the stereotype that vegan food is all raw kale salads. Eat Plants, B*tch showcases Cole’s love for comfort classics like egg rolls, po’boys and burgers, of course.

In addition to her restaurants, she also launched The Pinky Cole Foundation, an organization that aims to empower people of color to succeed financially by providing support for entrepreneurial endeavors.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that Cole and Derrick Hayes, Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks founder and CEO, married in June 2023 in a fabulously pink, fairytale wedding. A few days later, they announced that they are expecting their third ("and final") child.

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$17.92

Since founding her popular recipe blog Grandbaby Cakes in 2012, Jocelyn Delk Adams has been putting fresh twists on old favorites. Adams has earned praise from critics and the adoration of bakers both young and old for her easygoing advice, rich photography, and the heartwarming memories she shares of her family’s generations-old love of baking.

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$30

Mother-daughter duo Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams explore the history of soul food and offer up healthy versions of the often calorie-laden recipes to build healthy communities. Alice Randall, acclaimed author of The Wind Done Gone, is a food activist and teaches at Vanderbilt University; in addition to her many laurels, she also studied for credit alongside Julia Child at Harvard. Caroline Randall Williams is a Harvard scholar, author and award-winning poet; in addition to Soul Food Love, Alice and Caroline also co-authored the young adult novel The Diary of B.B. Bright. Caroline also stars in Hungry for Answers, executive produced by Viola Davis and JuVee Productions and now streaming on discovery+, where she travels the country uncovering the fascinating, essential and often untold Black stories behind some of America’s classic and emblematic food and spirits.

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$27.86

Go around the world without ever leaving home with Southern Cooking, Global Flavors. Influenced by his international travels, Chef Kenny Gilbert offers up Southern takes on global dishes – think shawarma-spiced lamb meatloaf, Thai turkey burgers and one recipe I decided I must make as soon as possible: collard green kimchi.

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$15.57

Jerrelle leads you on a sensual baking journey using the five senses, retelling and reinventing food memories while using ingredients that make her feel more in control and more connected to the world and the person she has become. Whole flours, less refined sugar and vegan alternatives make it easier to celebrate those sweet moments that made her who she is today.

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$29.72

To know peace is to hear Kenneth Temple say, “oh yea, let’s eat, baby” while scrolling through Instagram, where you can find the Food Network Chopped champion stirring up tasty creations for his followers. The New Orleans private chef (having a list of celebrity clients including Lil Wayne) started learning to cook as a young adult and the recipes in Southern Creole: Recipes From My New Orleans Kitchen are inspired by family recipes.

Buy It
$14.08

You know I had to include Uncle Snoop on this roundup. As one of the many, many positive Amazon reviews said: “You want Snoop's brownie recipe, don't you?”

Buy It

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