Monthly over the next twelve months starting this month, I will be highlighting an African American Chef and their contributions to the culinary world. Stay tuned for a educational, inspirational, and delicious journey through history as we explore and pay homage to the chefs who have made waves in the culinary world…
The first Chef in our year of African American Chefs and their contributions to the culinary world starts with Chef Patrick Clark. Clark was born in March of 1955 in Brooklyn, New York. As young as age nine he knew that cooking was his passion and he got it honest being that his father, Melvin, worked as a chef in several restaurants. Even though his father tried to deter him from being a chef, a young Patrick could not deny his attractions. Patrick Clark rose to fame as a chef in the 1980s when he showcased his mastered skills in French cuisine. Clark had previously studied domestically as well as abroad in London and France. He was well educated and experienced in his craft. He wanted to bring intense focus to the idea that blacks were only good for cooking soul food, He wanted to show that African American people were well diversified in other cultures’ cuisines and he became well respected and often imitated for his work in French delicacies. Not only was he honored with several awards (including the Grand Master Chef Award in 1988 and 1989, along with being named Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic Region at the esteemed annual James Beard Awards.) he was also celebrated with a book outlining some of his greatest recipes. His book and recipes are referenced in many culinary conferences and studies worldwide. Clark was known to have a strong personality and could be downright harsh in the kitchen but it was that sternness and dedication to what he loved that made him become one of the top respected chefs in culinary history. He also married a Chef, a woman named Lynette whom he met in New York. Even though he had mastered French cuisine, he never forgot where he came from and always paid homage to his roots and his mother through his “New American” style of cooking. Because of financial and family issues he never opened his own restaurant but he did cook for President Clinton and was an executive chef at a prominent restaurant until 1997. Unfortunately, Chef Clark passed on due to heart failure at the tender age of 42 in 1998 but he lives on through his work and that is why he is #1 in my quest to recognize black chefs in history. He is survived by his wife of 18 years and five children one of whom, Preston Clark, is a third generation Clark who is also a rising chef.
My mission was to recreate one his recipes and I took a great adoration for his dessert recipes and even though I could not choose a favorite, the recipe I chose to recreate was his Lemon Pudding Cake with Fresh Raspberries. This is my take on this eloquent dessert!
Recipe Time: 30 Minutes
4 eggs, separated
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
4 cups fresh raspberries
8 sprigs fresh mint
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Whip the egg yolks and 1 cup of the sugar until it ribbons. Add the flour and mix well. Whisk in the lemon juice, salt, and milk until completely combined.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, and whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour the batter into a parchment lined 9 by 13-inch cake pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool slightly, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the pudding cake and flip it onto a flat surface. Cut into 8 (3-inch) circles with a ring cutter.
To prepare the sauce: Reserve 16 raspberries for a garnish. Puree the remaining raspberries with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar for 2 minutes or until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
To serve, spoon some of the raspberry sauce in the center of each plate and top with a slice of pudding cake. Place 2 raspberries and a mint sprig in the center of each cake.
2.Read more on JetMag.com: http://www.jetmag.com/life/now-were-cooking/black-chefs-history-patrick-clark/#ixzz3HyZV7Fc0
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