James Beard Award Winner | Tony Award Winner
Grammy Award Winner | TV Personality
Restaurateur | Author
winner, 2019 Beard Award
'Best American Cookbook'
IN THE PRESS
Alexander Smalls, James-Beard-Award-winning chef, author, and raconteur, was the visionary co-owner of renowned restaurants The Cecil and Minton’s. Critically acclaimed and located in the heart of historic Harlem, Minton’s—the birthplace of BeBop in the 1930s—harkened back to the Jazz Age, evoking a sexy supper club, with live music and serving Low Country cuisine inspired by Smalls’ childhood. His award-winning restaurant, The Cecil, NYC’s first Afro-AsianAmerican restaurant, was named “Best New Restaurant in America” by Esquire in 2014. A 2019 recipient of a James Beard Award for his cookbook, Between Harlem and Heaven, Alexander was recently bestowed the Creative Spirit Award from the Black Alumni of Pratt by the inimitable Ms. Cicely Tyson. His latest book, Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen (2020), a tribute to his South Carolina heritage and the music that inspired him, received immediate attention and praise, with appearances in both the New York Times and Food & Wine. Along with these other widely acclaimed books, Smalls has also published a memoir and cookbook, Grace the Table, which features recipes from his upbringing with Southern Revival cuisine. In 2021 Smalls signed a contract for his first children’s book, soon to be published
by Denene Millner Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Over the past three decades, the chef and restaurateur has traveled the world studying the cooking techniques and foodways of the African diaspora. As the former chef-owner of renowned restaurants—including Café Beulah, Sweet Ophelia’s, and Shoebox Café— Smalls has received great acclaim in the restaurant scene, including cooking at the James Beard House, being named one of Zagat’s “NYC Restaurant Power Players You Need to Know,” and being honored with the Legacy Award in 2014 by the Amsterdam News, one of the oldest African American newspapers in the country. With an Instagram following of 13 thousand, Smalls has appeared on a wide range of food and culinary platforms, with guest appearances on national TV, in magazines, and on news programs. He has twice served as a celebrity chef judge on Top Chef, has appeared on The Chew with Carla Hall and on Extra Virgin with Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, and was recently featured in the Hallmark series Meet the Peetes. He has also appeared on The Food Network, on such shows as Recipe for Success and Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, and on NBC’s The Today Show. He was featured in the cover story of the October 2020 issue of Food & Wine for his prominence as a NYC host in his beautiful Harlem home. Smalls was also a featured chef and author at the first ever New York Times Food and Wine Festival in 2019. In addition to his success in the culinary and literary worlds, Smalls is also a world-renowned opera singer and the winner of both a Grammy Award and a Tony Award for the cast recording of Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin, with the Houston Grand Opera.