Savor the familiar and unusual plants that fused into Southern cuisine as Michael Twitty, James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, and Pat Brodowski, Monticello vegetable gardener, explore Jefferson’s living laboratory. In this unique walking conversation among historic plants, experience the legends and truths about the history and foods from Africa, the West Indies and the American Deep South.
Tour takes place rain or shine. Please wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes. Suncreen and a hat recommended.
Culinary and Cultural Historian
Michael W. Twitty is a noted culinary and cultural historian who interprets the experiences of enslaved African Americans through food and its preparation. He created Afroculinaria.com, the first blog devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacy, and was honored by FirstWeFeast.com as one of twenty greatest food bloggers of all time. He has appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, Many Rivers to Cross with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and has lectured to more than 250 groups, including Yale, Oxford and Carnegie Mellon Universities, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Twitty has been invited to speak around the world – his work has been featured in such publications as Ebony, The Guardian, Eater.com and NPR’s Codeswitch blog. A regular on NPR, Twitty has also been interviewed on the acclaimed food program, The Splendid Table.
Twitty has served as a judge for the James Beard Awards, is a Smith fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance and is a TED fellow and speaker. He has been named one of “Fifty People Changing the South” by Southern Living and one of the “Five Cheftavists to Watch” by TakePart.Com. HarperCollins released his first major book in 2017: The Cooking Gene, which won the 2018 James Beard Award for best writing and book of the year.
Specialty Gardener at Monticello
Pat Brodowski, specialty gardener at Monticello, plants and maintains the plantation’s two-acre kitchen garden comprising heirloom vegetables and herbs. She researches and grows varieties most likely grown by Thomas Jefferson and produces seeds for The Shop at Monticello. She received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Cornell University and was an educator and historian at a 19th-century farm museum for eight years. She recently researched the history of Jefferson’s herbs and salad greens for her master’s degree.