Another chef on my personal short list for the White House (Kitchen) Cabinet would be Bryant Terry. He cooks some amazing food as you can tell from his “Eco-Soul Kitchen” posts at TheRoot.com and the pages of his cookbooks, Grub and the forthcoming Vegan Soul Kitchen, but it is Terry’s work in the realm of food justice that makes me want him talking with our next president over dinner.
That work includes his projects such as b-healthy! (Build Healthy Eating and Lifestyles to Help Youth), a multi-year initiative with the objective of empowering youth to create a more just and sustainable food system. Other projects include People’s Grub Parties in cooperation with the People’s Grocery, the Black and Green Fund, and the Southern Organic Kitchen Project, a program that will help bring nutrition education and food justice to historically-excluded urban communities in the South. Along with his knives, Terry would bring to the White House a unique understanding of the negative impacts of our agricultural policy on our nation’s people.
Chef Terry gave me a moment of time to fill out his “application” for the job.
What would you bring to the table as White House Chef?
BT: I can burn. And for the past eight years I have worked to build a more just and sustainable food system and have used cooking as a tool to illuminate the intersections between poverty, structural racism, and food insecurity.
What would you put on your Menu for Change?
BT: All these dishes would be made using Grub (i.e., healthy, safe, sustainable, affordable, culturally appropriate, and fair food):
Social Justice Juice
Democratic Dim Sum
Fair Trade Taquitos
Three Sisters Sovereignty Stew
Peaceful Poached Salmon with Disarmament Dill Sauce
Progressive Potato Latkes with Love Lentils
Universal Health Care Collards
Criminal Justice Reform Rice with Better Schools Beans
Gay and Trans Rights-Roasted Grapes with Red Wine
What would you ask President Obama if you had the chance to talk over a meal?
BT: Mr. President, can you and Secretary of State Clinton give up the beef?
Bryant Terry is an eco chef and author of the forthcoming Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine (Da Capo/Perseus March 2009)