Michael Twitty calls himself “four-times blessed” because he is “large of body, gay, African American and Jewish.”
Twitty is now one of the hottest American celebrity chefs, bursting on to the scene when he criticized fellow chef Paula Deen for ignoring the African-American influence on southern cooking.
Since then, Twitty has been tirelessly working his magic through the Cooking Gene Project and Afroculinaria, which trace the roots of African-American cuisine all the way back to Africa.
The virtuoso cook and anthropologist of African-American culinary traditions is also a convert to Judaism, calling his cooking “Afro-ashke-phardi.” He says that African-American and Jewish food have a deep kinship.
“There are other similar, old-food traditions,” he says, “but none that really go into the dialectic of humor and resistance and memory and pain as well as black and Jewish diasporic food cultures. Not many people have that, where that’s what they need their food to do and to be for them.” (Photo credit: Twitter.)