2004 Lifetime Achievement Award: Nathalie Dupree and Jessica Harris
Nathalie Dupree, by way of her television and book work, has helped bring Southern food culture to the nation’s attention. Recognizing the contributions of European and African cooks, she has emphasized traditional ingredients and folkways.
The daughter of a career military officer, she grew up in Virginia, Texas, and other places across the South. She did not intend a career in food. In the late 1960s she attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school in London, and earned an advanced certificate.
In the early 1970s Dupree moved with her husband, David Dupree, to his hometown, Social Circle, Georgia, to open Nathalie’s, a restaurant that emphasized fresh regional ingredients. In 1975 Dupree founded a cooking school at Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta, becoming its director. Graduates of the program included the food writer Shirley Corriher.
In the 1980s, she wrote a number of influential cookbooks including New Southern Cooking with Nathalie Dupree. In 1986, a show of that same name became the first of her nine television series. Eventually, Dupree filmed more than 300 half-hour episodes that aired on PBS and other networks. In the years since, Dupree has written a number of other cookbooks, including Nathalie Dupree’s Southern Memories.
Nathalie Dupree was one of the 50 founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance. She also served on its inaugural board of directors.
Jessica Harris is the author of a number of books documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora including Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking, Sky Juice and Flying Fish Traditional Caribbean Cooking, Tasting Brazil: Regional Recipes and Reminiscences, The Welcome Table: African American Heritage Cooking, and Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim.
A culinary historian, she has lectured on African-American foodways at the Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., as well as at numerous institutions and colleges throughout the United States and abroad.
A tenured full professor at Queens College in New York City, Harris holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College, The Universite de Nancy, France, and a doctorate in Performance Studies from New York University, where her dissertation focused on the French-speaking theatre of Senegal.
Harris is one of the 50 founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance and has served on the organization’s board of directors. In 2007, she took leave from Queens College to assume the Ray Charles Chair at Dillard University in New Orleans.