Augustus Jackson: African-American White House Chef


[Editor's note: be sure to visit subsequent article about Black chefs -- click here.]

[Editor's Note: See NPR's Hidden Kitchen: James Hemings and Hercules for more on African Americans in the White House]

Ice cream by Augustus Jackson?Superchefblog readers have been writing in with the names of African-American women chefs across the country because of last April's nationwide online readers' poll Vote for White House Woman Chef. One reader said that there has already been an African-American chef in the White House, named Augustus Jackson -- who also invented much of the modern technique for making ice cream.

Initial research provides hazy details. Apparently, around the 1820s and 1830s, Jackson was a cook and possibly head cook (that is, chef) at the White House. Before and/or after this, he was a well-known ice cream maker, who developed techniques to control the temperature of custard as it froze. Among his peers (many if not most of whom were also African-American, Jackson's tin-packed ice cream was considered the best in Philadelphia. Jackson became one of the wealthier people in the city.

(Click here to read more at ChillyPhilly.com; there is also an fun article on ice cream in The Herald Democrat of Sherman, TX.)

Another website mentions what may be a self-published or small-press book The Philadelphia Confectioner about Jackson by Harriette Washington-Williams.

Jackson is mentioned on some websites and listed on many more simply as the inventor of ice cream, with little further information. He is no unsung hero, though: Jamaican-born Sound Vibration wrote "A Pattern If You Are Black":
Sound VibrationAll over the globe there is a pattern if you are black
If you are black many want us to step back
So much ignorant people why is that
Stop lights was designed by blacks
1875 to 1963 Garrett A Morgan he did that


In Japan they love Reggae and Rap
In the train they took several step back when they saw I was black
In the Netherlands they too love Reggae and Rap
Apartheid & Slavery... there will be no forgetting of that
Karma will stop all evil tracks, people continue suffering because they are black
In 1832 Ice-cream was created by blacks
Augustus Jackson he made that... Mmmm tasty isn't that.
So much ignorant people why is that.
If you know more about Augustus Jackson, please post a comment to this article!

Other sources:
Common Ills
Black Inventors
History of Ice Cream
African-American Inventors
Restaurant Edge

Subsequent articles:
Marvin Woods: Obama's Chef in Waiting
Make It Super Simple with G. Garvin
Food Network: Down Home with the Neelys
Marcus Samuelsson: Starbucks
Taste of Ebony: Black Chefs
Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin
G. Garvin: MegaFest Star
Juliette Rossant in Heart & Soul

Previous articles:
Tell Laura Bush: White House Woman Chef
Vote for White House Woman Chef

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Anonymous chef 'em out said...

This does not surprise me. Cooking was not always as glamorous as it is today. If I remember correctly, it was not until some time in the 70's that the US Department of Labor changed cooking from a domestic to a professional classification.

7:22 AM, July 14, 2005  
Anonymous chef 'em out said...

'76 or '77.

7:43 AM, July 15, 2005  

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