These individuals go above and beyond to provide for their communities!
In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to honor these 11 Black vegan chefs who are changing the game.
Vegan female powerhouse Shenarri “Greens” Freeman is highly acclaimed in the New York food scene. You may have read about her in The New York Times or Esquire or on the James Beard and Michelin Star nominees list. Freeman currently serves as Executive Chef at Cadence, where she recreates Southern childhood favorites using real fruits and vegetables in tandem with her impeccable culinary skills.
Not only does Chef Chew make the best vegan fried chicken on the market, but he also addresses major food-related issues in our society. For example, Chef Chew focuses his efforts on bringing plant-based foods to public schools, food deserts, and low-income communities. Be on the lookout for his new vegan restaurant and community hub opening soon in the Bay Area.
Ayindé Howell wears many hats—lifelong vegan, chef, cookbook author, business owner, and activist. His goal in cooking is to create dishes with Southern, Caribbean, Nigerian, and other cultural influences for Black people to see themselves in a plant-based world. You can currently find his vegan Mac & Yease in select Costco and Whole Foods stores.
Vegan cooking is a family affair for the Howells! Ayindé’s sister Makini Howell is also a lifelong vegan and chef who’s shaking up the foodie scene. Makini is a cookbook author and the head chef and owner of Plum Bistro, one of Seattle’s most popular upscale vegan eateries. Her Plum Restaurants brand has also grown to include a food truck, dessert shop, cafe, and salad stop.
With four vegan cookbooks as well as James Beard and NAACP Image Awards under his belt, Bryant Terry is a force to be reckoned with! Beyond creating amazing recipes, Terry serves as an author, educator, and community leader whose goal is to create a nutritious, fair, and sustainable food system for all.
Brenda Beener founded Seasoned Vegan in Harlem, New York with her son Aaron Beener. The duo crafts organic, vegan gourmet Soul Food. Their rendition of Soul Food is not only inspired by the South, but the Beeners draw inspiration from other cuisines across the globe. Popular items include the Po’ Boy Sandwich, Sweet Potato Souffle, and Burrito Bowl.
From the big screen to the kitchen, Angela Means Kaaya shines bright! The Black female actress opened Jackfruit Cafe in 2017. The business has gone through several iterations, like a food truck and a ghost kitchen—and most recently, a meal prep business. Angelenos can now order flavorful, nutritious dishes like Kelp Chow Mein and Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Chef Babette Davis is our idol! At age 72, Davis is going strong as co-owner and head chef of Stuff I Eat, health and fitness coach, motivational speaker, and content creator. If you need some serious inspiration and joy in your day, check out her Instagram videos. And if you need some insanely delicious vegan Soul Food in Los Angeles, hit up Stuff I Eat!
Lemel Durrah is one of the first vegan chefs to cater plant-based fare to Black communities in food deserts like Compton. Through his business Compton Vegan, Durrah offers comforting vegan meals like Buffalo Chik’n Mac, Jackfruit Ribz, and Chick’n & Waffle Sandwiches.
After adopting a plant-based diet, Baltimore native Gregory Brown learned the ins and outs of veganizing Soul Food recipes. In 2011, the self-taught chef opened Land of Kush with his wife, Naijha Wright-Brown. Aside from owning and operating the revolutionary vegan restaurant, Brown is a board member of the Black Veg Society and works to educate the community on the benefits of plant-based eating.
Since age 18, Tamearra Dyson has perfected her vegan Creole recipes to share with the masses. In 2007, Dyson left her medical career to open Souley Vegan with zero savings. The restaurant is now a staple for Oakland, California foodies, who love the Southern Fried Tofu, Okra Gumbo, Portobello Mushroom Burger, and other mouthwatering dishes.