“The Secret is the Gift in the Hands.”

Aug 12, 2021 | Food, Living

The Juggernaut: SuperChefs became known for their candy bacon because of its sweet and savory flavor. They cook the bacon halfway, toss it in brown sugar and continue cooking it so that the brown sugar marinates in the bacon.

Three Black chefs share the stories behind the foods they’ve created and talk about how the culinary trailblazers in their families have influenced them.

(Check out tomorrow’s post to hear the stories of three more black chefs.)

Southern Egg Rolls: The inspiration for SuperChefs’ Southern Egg Rolls came from the traditional Sunday dinners of Black culture, which include fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and house greens. Chef Rock White and Chef Darnell Ferguson incorporated all of these foods into an egg roll served with sweet potato dipping sauce and a garnish of powdered sugar.

Fire Up Brunch

The origin of chicken and waffles started with Black chefs in the 1930s and became an innate part of Black culture that continues to be a favorite among many. Chef Darnell Ferguson and Chef Rock White, co-owners of SuperChefs, have put a new spin on the dish with a revamped version called the juggernaut. For a playful and creative angle, they add red food coloring to the waffle batter as a tie-in to the juggernaut fictional character who wears red. “With us being a kid and adult-friendly restaurant,” Rock says, “we thought it would be cool to add the food coloring. And because we are superhero themed, the red food coloring pays homage to the juggernaut character who typically wears red.” Rock and Darnell are masters at nailing down the right texture for their waffle sandwich. They deep fry the waffle to give it a funnel cake quality that makes it crunchy on the outside but sweet and soft on the inside. The deep-fried chicken breast is tossed in pizza crack, which is a Parmesan-Romano blend with fresh garlic and parsley. It is topped with an over-hard egg, pepper jack cheese, candy bacon and honey served with homemade hot sauce. “With this dish, you get the sweetness and then spiciness at the end so one of our favorite things to do at the restaurant is to make your taste buds dance. We want fireworks,” Rock says.

Fried Chicken: The liquid gold barbeque sauce (below right) has been in the Thompson family for 100 years and can be used on any type of food. In the left bowl is Lucretia’s Fried Chicken Seasoning.

Passing Down the Gift

A batch of fried chicken has never been wasted in the Thompson household. “As a child, I remember that the chicken was the best thing. My cousin would bring his basketball team from Moore High School to my mom’s house, and they would eat all the chicken. I would get so mad,” says Chef Lucretia Thompson, owner of Lucretia’s Kitchen. Now — as the third generation of restauranteurs — she is carrying on the family tradition of serving the type of food her mom Sheila Manely says makes your mouth “pop.”

“I grew up around my grandparents who started Mister Thompson’s Old Recipe Style Bar-B-Que. As a little girl, my mom was the one to do all the cooking when her mom became ill. My uncles and grandfather did all the barbecuing, but my mom made the barbeque sauce and she fried the chicken,” she says. Since then, the family’s culinary prowess has kept customers coming back for the chicken — and more. Their sweet potatoes and macaroni and cheese are popular menu items, but their fresh greens, homemade dressing, green beans, baked beans, cabbage and baked chicken are also in high demand. “My mom says ‘the secret is the gift in the hands.’ It is not about the measurements. It is about the feel. And all that feel that comes through the hands goes right into the food. This is our culture. It is passion,” Lucretia says.

Get a taste of Ethiopian culture through the flavorful dishes prepared at Abyssinia Louisville. Their meat and vegetable combo includes Ethiopian bread, which is also referred to as sponge bread or teff injera.

Bonding Through a Meal

Get a taste of Ethiopian culture through the delicious, flavorful dishes prepared at Abyssinia Louisville. Their meat and vegetable combo includes your choice of spicy or mild beef with carrots, potatoes, cabbage, green beans, split peas and red lentils. It is served with salad and topped with a homemade dressing with rice and Ethiopian bread, which is also referred to as sponge bread or teff injera. Michel Reda, owner, says spices such as curry powder, onion and garlic are some of the most common used in Ethiopian food. He and wife Yalem, who is the chef, take pride in incorporating parts of their African traditions into the American dining experience. Michel says in the Ethiopian culture, eating with friends and family is an opportunity to show love, and one of the ways they do this is through feeding each other. After your meal, you can sip on a fresh cup of coffee made in a jebena — an Ethiopian and Eritrean coffee pot.

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