CCJ Reports

This chef’s looking to his roots to put a new twist on soul food

Bret Hartman -- TED

Bret Hartman -- TED

Michael Twitty doesn’t cook the same macaroni and cheese his mom taught him to make. It’s loaded with cream cheese and sour cream, and anyone who’s eaten at a Kosher deli might say it tastes kind of like noodle kugel.

The chef and author has adapted and transformed a lot of the foods he grew up cooking with his mother and grandmother in the D.C. suburbs, blending together his African-American and Southern roots with his Jewish identity to create cuisine as rich in tradition as it is in taste.

“I like flavors that are reminiscent of all the different heritages,” Twitty said. “And one of the greatest things about Jewish diaspora and African diaspora is, they’re global. They touch every single inhabited continent, and they’re influenced by an interplay with hundreds of cultures.”

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This chef’s looking to his roots to put a new twist on soul food