29 Days of Black History, Day 15

Feb 15, 2012


When I'm not watchin' ESPN, I'm usually flippin' back and forth between WEtv and the FoodNetwork. ESPECIALLY the FoodNetwork, g. So, it's only right that I share Rufus Estes' story, as I was very excited when I stumbled across it last night. Hit the read more link for the scoop!

Estes was born a slave in Murray County, Tennessee in 1857. After the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, his family relocated to Nashville, Tennessee where he began working in a restaurant to support his family at the age of 16.

In 1883, Rufus had relocated to Chicago and got a job working for the Pullman Private Car Service. He spent 14 years with there, working on the "private railroad cars that carried celebrities, presidents, and the very wealthy back and forth across the continent".  Around 1907, he became chef of the executive dining room at the Chicago division of the U.S. Steel Corporation (the first billion-dollar corporation in the world).

The kicker:
In 1911, Rufus became America's first, black chef with a cookbook, which was called Good Things To Eat as Suggested by Rufus. It has 22 chapters and contains up to 591 recipes, g! And look at that cover (pictured above)?! From slave to schwaaaag, I 'clare.

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Don't watch me, w-w-watch my feet....