Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Edna Lewis, Pioneering Chef and Author Dies

Edna Lewis, one of the first famed black chefs whose 1976 book "The Taste of Country Cooking" helped spark interest in Southern cuisine, died at the age of 89 last week.

Born in Freetown, Virginia, in 1916, the granddaughter of slaves moved to New York and started working at a time when female chefs were rare. She worked at restaurants including the former Gage & Tollner of Brooklyn. In 1999, Lewis was designated as Grande Dame by Les Dames d'Escoffier, a worldwide organization of female chefs. In her books, Lewis offered cooking shortcuts and shared childhood stories in giving her recipes.

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