Chef Eric Adjepong is one of the most recognized Black chefs of today. Born in New York City to Ghanaian parents—and raised there—the Food Network chef and talent has always found a way to marry the flavors of his heritage with the myriad of global ingredients found throughout the kitchens of The Big Apple.
While most culinary greats drew inspiration from standing at the sides of their grandparents in the kitchen, Adjepong actually started out by getting his Master's in International Public Health and worked as a public health nutrition professional before attending culinary school and leaping into the industry.
"I fell in love with the idea of putting food together, creating a meal, and bringing people together around that," Chef Eric Adjepong shares.
Admitting that most of his cooking inspiration and flavor profiles are directly linked to his West African pallet, the Top Chef star also shares that he will forever be a student of the game, often studying the cuisines and nuances of places like the Caribbean, South America and even the American South. Often leaning on ingredients like garlic, ginger, bird's eye chili and more—he loves fusing flavors to create unique profiles.
"I'm always pushing myself to learn from someone else, collaborating with other chefs and picking their brain. Collaboration is a huge piece of inspiration for me. I really enjoy learning from other people."
Today, the Ghanaian-American gourmet expert is now the co-host of Food Network's Alex Vs. America, he's been featured on several installments of Top Chef, was a presenting chef at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, and on October 3, 2023, he will release his a children's book—Sankofa: A Culinary Story of Resilience and Belonging.
"Growing up, I never saw a culinary book that focused on someone that looked like me, and I thought it was super important. It is also a love letter to myself," Adjepong shares. "Having a daughter also served as inspiration. I want her to grow up and know and be proud of her culture and where she comes from. This book will reflect all of that."
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For Chef Eric Adjepong, he believes his key to success over the course of his career, has been his ability to remain authentic to who he is as a first generation Ghanaian raised in NYC.
"I can't fake the funk. My hair is kinky, my skin in dark. I'm very African. But beyond that, I've taken the time to really learn the fundamentals like the back of my hand. Once you know those things very well—which can take a long time—then you can start coloring outside the lines and bending the rules. When you get comfortable and start creating your own style, people will automatically want to come to you. It's not necessarily looking for a gimmick, it's really understanding the craftsmanship, getting creative and bringing in your culture. I bend the rules by bringing in my culture and where I come from."
Next year, the chef will continue his efforts of bridging the gap between the Diaspora with a public dinner event hosted in his family's homeland of Ghana. While details haven't been released yet, Adjepong says it will certainly be a fun time.
"I would love to see more collaboration between us here in America, Africa and the Caribbean. Yes, the generations before have started laying the foundation, but now our generation and the generations after must continue to bridge that gap. When we come together to create, it really is a powerful thing."
As you wait for his next event or in-person appearance, we asked Chef Eric Adjepong to drop one of his favorite dishes for the EBONY audience to recreate at home. Below, you'll find step-by-step instructions for his Springtime Galette. Bon Appétit!
Chef Eric Adjepong's Springtime Galette
Chef Eric Adjepong's Springtime Galette
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for bench
- 3⁄4 cup (11⁄2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter (1⁄2 cup if using shortening/lard) (optional)
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable shortening/lard –
- 4 tablespoons ice-cold water
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. Finely grated lime zest
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 lb. peaches, cut into 3⁄4″-thick wedges
- 1/2 lb. blackberries, cut in half
- 1 sprig – rosemary
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp.
- 2 tablespoons – Apple Cider vinegar
- 1⁄4 cup – Apricot jam
- 1⁄2 cup – mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
- 1⁄4 cup – honey
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (for serving; optional)
- Rolling pin
- Baking sheet
- Bench scraper (optional but helpful)
- Whisk sugar, salt, and 11⁄3 cups flour in a medium bowl. Cut butter into 6 rectangular pieces (if using 1⁄2-cup sticks, cut them in half crosswise, then in half again lengthwise).
- Toss butter and shortening in dry ingredients to coat, then dump mixture out onto a work surface. Roll butter/ shortening into flour until it is in long flexible strips, using a bench scraper to scrape butter off the rolling pin or surface as needed.
- Use a bench scraper to gather mixture into a loose pile, then drizzle 4 Tbsp. ice water over.
- Using your hands and the bench scraper, toss mixture until water is distributed, then gather into a rectangular pile.
- Roll out dough to a long rectangle with short ends about 8″ wide, then use a bench scraper to fold dough into thirds, like folding a letter. It will be very crumbly and loose. This turns the floury mass into a cohesive unit while creating flaky-making stacks of fat and flour.
- Using a bench scraper to help, turn the dough into a 90° rectangle and repeat rolling and folding, gathering loose bits of dough from outer edges into the center and flouring surface as needed.
- Repeat rolling and folding a third time. Dough should be somewhat homogenous with some dry bits around edges. Squeeze a bit in your palm; it should loosely hold together. If not, repeat rolling and folding.
- Wrap folded dough in plastic, then press it into a compact disk about 1″ thick. Chill 20 minutes.
- Mix cheese and honey together.
- Combine cornstarch, lime zest, salt, and 1⁄3 cup sugar in a medium bowl.
- Toss with your hands to combine, then add fruit and toss to coat.
- Add lime juice, vanilla, toss gently.
- Spread a light coating of the honey/cheese mixture to the bottom of the chilled dough. Arrange fruit mixture in the center of chilled dough (still on parchment on baking sheet) and spread out evenly, leaving a 3″ border.
- Fold edges of dough up and over fruit, pleating as needed and being careful that the folded edge of dough doesn’t tear (if it does, patch with dough scraps and pinch to seal).
- Pour cream into a small bowl and brush all over the dough. Sprinkle sugar evenly over dough.
- Place galette in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 375°. Bake, rotating halfway through, until the crust is deep golden brown everywhere, fruit is softened, and juices are bubbling, 45–50 minutes.
Farberware classic rolling pin
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Morton coarse kosher salt
Williams Sonoma soft touch bench scraper