In honor of Black History Month, I would like to highlight a few African American chefs who were instrumental influences to culinary excellence.
Hercules, a highly skilled head cook in the 1780s, was enslaved at Mt. Vernon - George Washington's plantation in Virginia. Additionally, Hercules served as cook in the temporary Presidential house in Philadelphia and as much as he was able, became entrepreneurial...selling extra food from the kitchen.
It is believed Hercules escaped to freedom from Mt. Vernon on February 22, 1797, President George Washington's 65th birthday.
Portrait shown is speculated to be of Hercules and is attributed to Gilbert Stuart.