Chefs share favorite soul food recipes to kick off for Black History Month (2024)

To celebrate the start of Black History Month, "Good Morning America" invited two small business owners to celebrate their rich history and recipes as they compete to see who has the best soul food.

Chef Lavinia McCoy and Betty-Joyce Chester-Tamayo faced off for the soul food showdown with two recipes each: one batch of their famous macaroni and cheese, respectively, and another dish of their own.

Chefs share favorite soul food recipes to kick off for Black History Month (1)

McCoy represented her business, Gourmet Soul and Catering based in St. Louis, Missouri, while Chester-Tamayo brought the flavors from her Memphis, Tennessee soul food spot, Alcenia’s.

Check out their recipes below.

The deep flavors, textures and complex history of Lowcountry cuisine

Macaroni & Cheese

Chester-Tamayo's classic mac and cheese recipe uses macaroni shells and finishes in the oven for a beautifully cheesy, bubbly baked dish.


4 cups shell macaroni

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups evaporated milk

6 tablespoons salt (water and macaroni)

10 cups water (cover macaroni)

3 tablespoons pepper

3 cups cheese (you can use a combination of cheese blends)

1 cup pure butter or margarine


Pre-heat oven to 325 F.

Boil water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Once the water is boiling, add macaroni and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender. Use fork to test. While macaroni is boiling, beat eggs, milk, remaining salt and pepper into a sauce pan. Remove macaroni when tender. Drain and rinse in cool water. After draining take the cooked macaroni and place in a large casserole pan.

Add the butter to hot macaroni and stir. Add the cheese and stir well. Top macaroni with remaining cheese and pour milk mixture over it. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes in oven until done. Do not overcook.


Chester-Tamayo also shared her famous meatloaf recipe with "GMA."


5 pounds hamburger meat

1 cup white onions

1 cup red onions

1/2 cup green onion (about 6 stalks)

3/4 cup each orange, red, yellow and green bell peppers

3/4 cup celery (2 stalks)

1 1/2 packages French onion soup mix

6 tablespoons Mrs. Dash

5 tablespoons Greek seasoning

4 tablespoons Creole Seasoning

5 tablespoons garlic herb

5 tablespoons garlic rosemary

3 eggs

36 ounces ketchup

1 cup light brown sugar, divided


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large 11-by-14-inch casserole dish add hamburger meat. Separate down the middle and add 3/4 of the prepared ingredients. Cut the white onions, red onions, green onions, bell peppers and celery. Add 3/4 of these ingredients to the meat and reserve remaining for the top.

In a separate bowl, mix together soup mix, Mrs. Dash, Greek seasoning, Creole seasoning, garlic herb and rosemary. Add 3/4 of the dry spice mix to the meat mixture and reserve remaining for the top. Add the eggs, 1/2 the bottle of ketchup and 1/2 cup light brown sugar. Mix meat mixture well until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Form into a loaf the length of the pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ketchup and brown sugar. Pour on top of the meatloaf. Sprinkle with remaining vegetables and dry spice mix.

Bake at 325 F for 80 to 90 minutes. Remove and slice into generous slices.

Mac and Cheese

Chef Lavinia McCoy's version of the classic dish uses traditional elbow macaroni and a variety of cheeses.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon salt

1 pound elbow macaroni

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter

1 cup 3-cheese blend (Monterey Jack, mozzarella, mild cheddar)

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese - garnish

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup (8 ounces) Velveeta, cut into small cubes

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (Lawry's)


In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven, place 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese (3-cheese blend), 1 cup cubed Velveeta, 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar and cover. Place in 375 F oven and bake 25 minutes.

Cook macaroni noodles per instructions on box, adding 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of salt to the water. Cook 10 minutes on medium high until al dente. Drain macaroni, pour into mixing bowl, stir in stick of butter, and add cheese sauce out of oven. Add 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt and combine. Taste, tweak as needed.

Pour macaroni mixture in baking dish, cover with freshly grated sharp cheddar, and place in oven, uncovered, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.

WATCH: Janai Norman shares the secret to her mom's macaroni and cheese

Chefs share favorite soul food recipes to kick off for Black History Month (3)


ABC News Correspondent Janai Norman and her mom, Tammy, make one of their family’s favorite holiday dishes, macaroni and cheese.

Shrimp and Grits

Chefs share favorite soul food recipes to kick off for Black History Month (4)

McCoy's second soul food recipe is also a southern classic dish.


Extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped red pepper

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup fish stock

1 cup chicken broth

Dried basil

Old Bay seasoning

Granulated garlic powder

Granulated onion powder

Bay leaves

1 cup of 3-cheese blend (Monterey Jack, mozzarella, mild cheddar)

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 quart + 1/4 cup heavy cream

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter

1 cup (8 ounces) Velveeta, cut into small cubes

Old Fashioned Grits or Quick Grits

Raw shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails off (size 16/20)

Fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)


In saute pan, drizzle olive oil and add chopped celery, onion, red peppers and green peppers. Sweat on low.

Add chicken broth, seafood or fish stock, 3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning, 3 tablespoons granulated garlic, 3 tablespoons granulated onion, 2 tablespoons dried basil and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low.

In saucepan, add 1 quart heavy cream, bring to a slow boil, add cheeses, melt.

In a separate saucepan, cook grits per package instructions. Omit salt, and once cooked add 1/4 cup heavy cream; whisk.

After approximately 20 min simmering, add seafood sauce to the heavy cream mixture, stir continuously until well combined. Taste and add more Old Bay if necessary. Simmer on low until ready to plate.

In saucepan add 3 tablespoons butter, 2 teaspoons Old Bay, 2 teaspoons granulated garlic; melt and combine, then add peeled and deveined shrimp (tails off). Cook 2 minutes per side.

Add spoonfuls of grits to bowl and ladle on cream sauce. Add shrimp and garnish with dried parsley.

Chefs share favorite soul food recipes to kick off for Black History Month (2024)
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