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Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s Origin Story

In episode three of On the Rise, the award-winning chef walks us through his cultural lineage, with a very special guest.

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A portrait of chef Kwame Onwuachi smiling.
Kwame Onwuachi.
Courtesy of On the Rise

Black culture, and food, is vast. It’s not monolithic; it’s complex, diverse, and provocative. The dishes that define the Black experience in America are as varied as their origins — spanning continents and oceans, from Africa to the Caribbean and back to the States — with an equally rich and dynamic set of ingredients, techniques, and flavors. Black chefs have a unique blend of culinary inspiration; there isn’t just one source or one single origin story.

Who better to demonstrate this long lineage better than the James Beard Award-winning Rising Star, Kwame Onwuachi? On this episode of On the Rise, the chef shares his own origin story, with a cultural lineage that spans from the Bronx, West Africa, the Caribbean and the American South. And he takes the meaning of the word “origin” quite literally, bringing along his mother, Jewel, for the journey. Watch the episode to learn what origins mean to Onwuachi in his work and personal life.

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