The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Presents The Wright Conversations Lecture Series Featuring James-Beard-Award-winning Chef, Author, And Raconteur, Alexander Smalls

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Presents the next installment of its lecture series, “A conversation with Alexander Smalls,” James-Beard-Award-winning chef, author, and raconteur, was the visionary co-owner of renowned restaurants The Cecil and Minton’s.

The Wright Conversations, formally known as the President’s Lecture Series is a curated collection of events featuring dynamic speakers chosen by the President of the Charles H. Wright Museum, Neil A. Barclay. Dedicated to bringing insightful and robust conversation to the Detroit community, the series addresses critical topics in the areas of civic engagement, art, history, and culture. Tickets are $15 for non-members and $10 for members.

The Wright Museum 315 Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201

Thursday, September 21, 2023, 5:00 pm

Alexander Smalls 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-Asian American 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, 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.

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. 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. He has also appeared on 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.

Kelly Miner, Marketing & Communications Manager
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 E. Warren Avenue, Michigan 48201
kminer@thewright.org or call 313.494.5865