We drool over the culinary creations of these vegan chefs 365 days of the year, and we think their work should be celebrated and savored every month and every day. We’re rolling out the red carpet for these mega-talented foodies. We’ve been devoted to the cookbooks, restaurants, and recipe blogs from these 17 Black culinary artists for years, and we’ll continue to consume their delicious content for as long as they keep making it. Follow them, bookmark them, print out their recipes and advice, and join us as we present this list of iconic Black vegan chefs who are mainstreaming veganism and changing the world.

17 Black vegan chefs redefining food and community

Listed in no particular order, these are the Black vegan chefs changing veganism and community for the better. 

VegNews.veganchefs.bryantterryBryant Terry

1 Bryant Terry

When you win a James Beard Award, you know you’ve made it as a chef. We’re in awe of Terry’s accolades—he’s a food justice advocate, a former Chef-in-Residence at San Francisco’s Museum of African Diaspora, the author of several best-selling cookbooks, and the founder of 4 Color Books, an imprint creating visually stunning books with BIPOC chefs and writers. His latest vegan cookbook, Vegetable Kingdom, is now available in stores and online. 

VegNews.TracyeMcQuirterTracye McQuirter/Instagram

2 Tracye McQuirter

When it comes to optimum nutrition, we put our faith in McQuirter. She earned a Masters in Public Health from NYU and has over 30 glorious years of plant-based experience under her belt. She directed the first federally funded, community-based vegan nutrition program; co-created the first vegan-themed website specifically for Black Americans; helped more than 15,000 Black women go vegan; launched the first Black American vegan starter guide; wrote two vegan how-to/recipe books; and previously served as a nutrition advisor for Black Women’s Health Imperative. We’ve steadily been cooking our way through her book, Ageless Vegan, which includes 100 healthy plant-based recipes. 

VegNews.BabetteDavisBabette Davis/Instagram

3 Babette Davis

If Davis, best known as Chef Babette, is any indication of what a healthy vegan diet can do, we’re baffled why the world hasn’t switched over yet. At age 72, she still looks like a fitness model—and she can probably lift heavier and run faster than most people half her age. Her nourishing food philosophy incorporates both raw and comfort food elements to provide accessible, plant-based options to those who need it most. Those in the Los Angeles area can experience the healing and soul-warming powers of her cooking by visiting her restaurant, Stuff I Eat

VegNews.EatPlantsB*tch.PinkyColePinky Cole Hayes/Instagram

4 Aisha “Pinky” Cole Hayes

Cole Hayes has done far more for the vegan community than creating mind-blowing burgers that beckon hour-long lines and a nation-wide craving. She’s made vegan food accessible within a neighborhood that was once devoid of plant-based options. Slutty Vegan’s flagship store in the West End of Atlanta has sparked a conversation and a movement—not only can vegan food be comforting and familiar, but it can also be affordable. When Cole Hayes isn’t focusing on her multiple locations throughout Georgia, Alabama, New York, and Texas, she’s donating funds to help local college students, formerly incarcerated youth, and families during times of hardship

VegNews.AngelaMeansAngela Means/Instagram

5 Angela Means

Let’s just get this out of the way … “Bye, Felicia!” This actress-turned-vegan-entrepreneur is the proud owner of The Jackfruit Cafe in Tahoka, TX. After servicing the Los Angeles area, the wellness-focused chef packed up her business and set up shop in the South, where she continues to satisfy legions with her smokey bratwursts and meaty sliders. 

VegNews.veganchef.charitymorganCharity Morgan

6 Charity Morgan

Remember the buzz about 15 Tennessee Titans going vegan? Thank Chef Morgan for that. The Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef decided to go vegan with her husband—former Titan linebacker Derrick Morgan—and the two moved mountains to entice his then-teammates to eat more plant-based fare. While not all of the players went completely vegan, at least fifteen opted-in to her meal plan—which meant the meals they ate during practice were 100-percent animal-free. Since her husband retired in 2019, she is no longer catering for the team, but we’re keeping up to date with her latest projects. For a taste of Morgan’s delectable eats, pick up a copy of her debut cookbook, Unbelievably Vegan

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7 & 8 Brenda and Aaron Beener

New Yorkers from all five boroughs can’t get enough of this family-run vegan restaurant in Manhattan. Run by mother-son-duo Brenda and Aaron Beener, the Seasoned Vegan Real Quick’s organic menu showcases soul food from a variety of cuisines, because in their minds, soul food means different foods to different people. With this in mind, you’ll definitely want to give everything on the menu a try. Between the fried Craw Pretzel Boy and the lemon-crusted nuggets, the only trouble you’ll have is deciding where to begin. 


9 Supreme Dow

Throughout his career, celebrity chef Dow has prepared plant-based gourmet dishes for the rich and famous, but he’s also committed to tackling food insecurity in Los Angeles. In 2022, he launched the 10K Meals Across LA initiative, through his own nonprofit The Harvest Academy, and handed out thousands of gourmet meals to unhoused people over the course of 10 weeks. He didn’t stop there—he kept the initiative going, even working with NBA Star Kyrie Irving to host a series of vegan barbecues in Skid Row in Downtown LA last year. He was also hired temporarily as managing chef of The Midnight Mission, a local homeless shelter, where he implemented nourishing vegan meals. Today, Dow continues providing plant-based food to unhoused Angelenos.

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10 Lemel Durrah

The city of Compton, located in South Central Los Angeles, is recognized as a food desert due to its lack of fresh, healthy food options. But chef Durrah, the visionary behind Compton Vegan, is committed to making a difference in the city. Via his food truck, he is helping to make plant-based food accessible while also demonstrating just how tasty plants can really be. “Bringing vegan food to the city of Compton means the world to me—it’s literally why I exist,” Durrah told VegNews in 2020. Beyond Compton, Durrah provides his signature vegan eats to California State University, Dominguez Hills. Lucky for us, the on-campus eatery is open to the public.

VegNews.JenneClaiborneJenné Claiborne/Instagram

11 Jenné Claiborne

Don’t recognize the name? Claiborne is better known for her pseudonym—Sweet Potato Soul. We love her relatable and charming YouTube videos, blog posts, and Instagram captions. Her recipes are crave-worthy and accessible with an abundance of sweet potatoes thrown in. Claiborne combines special occasion comfort foods with a plant-based perspective to put life in balance. From timeless sweet potato pie to nourishing fifteen-minute meals, her recipes offer something for everyone. We’ve made our way through her first cookbook and we’re hoping for a second. 

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12 Sonia Steele

Last year, Steele—who runs the vegan soul food company Konscious Kuisine in Cleveland, OH—was crowned winner of the Vegan Women Summit’s Top Chef global competition, held in New York City. Steele turned to veganism after being diagnosed with lung cancer, and has never looked back from the lifestyle. She has made it her mission to support more people in Cleveland to give plant-based food a try. “When I first started my company, vegan soul food was not a thing in Cleveland,” she told VegNews. “There were very few vegan places, but none made the type of food I grew up eating and cooking.”

VegNews.OmariMcQueen.OmariMcQueenOmari McQueen

13 Omari McQueen

At just 15 years old, McQueen has built an impressive resume. The British chef got his start on YouTube, where, with the help of his family, McQueen taught thousands how to cook vegan. Since then, he’s hosted his own CBBC cooking show and podcast, authored two cookbooks, founded a company, and ran a pop-up restaurant. We can’t wait to see what else McQueen has in store. 

VegNews.MakiniHowell3Makini Howell

14 Makini Howell

Howell has been distinguished by The New York Times as one of the leading chefs reshaping America’s food landscape. And if you want to find out more about why, you have to visit her popular plant-based restaurant, Plum Bistro. The must-visit eatery in Seattle serves up a variety of tasty comfort food classics, all with a fine-dining twist.

VegNews.veganchefs.chefcolaChef Cola

15 Chef Cola

Nicola Kagoro, popularly known as Chef Cola, is renowned for her work with the Akashinga women, an anti-poaching unit in Zimbabwe, where she runs the Back to Black Kitchen. But she’s also the author of her own cookbook, African Vegan on a Budget, and a host on the NRTV cooking show “So Now I’m Vegan.” Through everything she does, Kagora is committed to helping Zimbabweans connect to their plant-based roots.

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16 Cheryl Nelson

Chef-owner of Chicago’s Sweet Vegan Bakes, Nelson does more than just churn out animal-free cupcakes, pies, and savory fare at her bakery-café. The community-minded chef makes it a point to give back to her local community via back-to-school drives, coat donations, free holiday meals, and toys for kids. 

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17 Tamearra Dyson

Tamearra Dyson made history when she appeared on the first-ever vegan episode of Beat Bobby Flay in 2022, where she also became the first vegan chef to beat Flay.  The driving force behind the Bay Area’s Souley Vegan, Dyson was named one of the top 10 soul food spots in the US by USA Today. While Souley Vegan’s Oakland location has shuttered, Dyson is keeping the restaurant alive with local pop-ups across the Bay. 

For more Black vegan chefs, read:

Here at VegNews, we live and breathe the vegan lifestyle, and only recommend products we feel make our lives amazing. Occasionally, articles may include shopping links where we might earn a small commission. In no way does this effect the editorial integrity of VegNews.

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