Chef Alexander Smalls of Harlem Jazz Enterprises - Biography

New York, NY

September 2015

A self-described social minister, Alexander Smalls is a Chef, a Restaurateur, an Author and an Opera Singer. He has been named one of Zagat’s “19 NYC Restaurant Power Players You Need to Know,” and winner of Esquire’s “Best New Restaurant in America 2014,” for The Cecil. As the Executive Chef, Co-owner and Creator of Minton’s Supper Club and its award-winning sister restaurant, The Cecil, Alexander endeavors to entertain the world. He is joined in these recent restaurant projects, which fall under the Harlem Jazz Enterprises umbrella by Chef de Cuisine Joseph “JJ” Johnson and partners, Dick and Laura Parsons.

Alexander has introduced New Yorkers to a cuisine which he refers to as Afro-Asian-American Cooking at The Cecil and Southern Revival Cooking, at Minton’s. Alexander has spent the last twenty-five years traveling the world and studying the cooking techniques, cultures of the African diaspora and how through their culinary efforts, they changed the palate of our global expression. In January of 2015, Alexander was invited by The James Beard Foundation to present his culinary exploration of the African Diaspora to a sold-out audience at The Beard House.

Author of the acclaimed memoir and cookbook, “Grace the Table,” his creative talents stretch beyond the world of literature, as an opera singer, he has received  both a Grammy Award and Tony Award for the cast recording of Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin, with the Houston Grand Opera.

Alexander is deeply involved with non-profit organizations including Harlem Jazz Enterprises’, and Careers through Culinary Arts Program. He is on the Advisory Board of The Union Food Lab, at Columbia University, and is a former board member and Artistic Director of Opus 118, Harlem School of Music. He is particularly proud of being honored with the Legacy Award, 2014, by The Amsterdam News.