James Beard award-winning chef
Alexander Smalls

Let us break bread together on our knees;
let us drink wine together on our knees;
when I fall down on my knees…
with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me…
O Lord have mercy…if you please…

Alexander Smalls is a James Beard award-winning chef, author, and restaurateur. His latest book,  Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen, is a tribute to his South Carolina heritage and the music that inspired him. Over the past three decades, the chef and restaurateur has traveled the world studying the cooking techniques and foodways of the African diaspora.

Forward by Chef Alexander:

Over four hundred years ago, enslaved Africans arrived in this newly claimed beautiful land called America. Immediately married to the soil they would till, tend and harvest the crops of their labor and their tears into the greatest country ever. They raised and herded the livestock and created the function and foundation of farming in this place they inhabited. And from the toil of their hard labor came the abundance of their bounty and the American kitchen, a very special cuisine was born. Through ingenuity and perseverance, they set the table and the food that graced it - a new unique edible expression and culinary excellence created from the innocence and dutifulness of their labor, resilience and love for life and mankind.

To fully understand, experience and embrace the beauty and the simplicity and reverence of the African American culinary food and wine engagement; the gift and authenticity of its humble beginnings, brilliant flavors, and taste, is to truly embrace the journey of a people. The plight of unique enslaved and impoverished newly branded African Americans, survivors of an insufferable world and how they found heaven in a foreign land when they gathered in celebration of their undaunted humanity. Those rare opportunities when they overcame their circumstances and created in song, food and joy a unique paradise, a legacy of culinary excellence which at times was their only currency - value. The gift of their foodways was their harvest on earth.

And with that we toast and pay tribute to the foundation from whence we now build a food and wine industry through the pathways and foodways of culinary practitioners and wine makers of unparalleled excellence…African American men and women who have taken up the mantle and craft of hospitality to further the rich culinary conversation that is genius of our heritage and ancestral trust.

The McBride Sisters 'Our History is a Gift' pairing guide is a celebration of the art of African American food and wine, from the rich culture of Black chefs and winemakers who honor the traditions of our heritage and flavors married to classical techniques and heirloom traditions, serving both the disciplines of cooking and winemaking. Featured in this one of a kind collection of experts are talented chefs who create masterpiece dishes and pair each plate with wines from the McBride Sisters.

There is a proliferation of wine pairing guides that focus on other cuisines and cultures. This guide introduces you to the inventive pairing of “Food and Wine” of the African Diaspora with delicious recipes by brilliant chefs who understand the special relationship between great food and superb wines. Each featured chef creates a unique culinary story about  their journey and influences as a Black chef. They select and pair  McBride Sisters' choice wines to elevate and expand the dining experience…and in some cases the dish itself. These wines complement the flavor profile of each signature dish, creating a special unique taste. The recipes provided celebrate their varied life experiences and influences across the the global African diaspora. Traditional flavors with modern new world taste and techniques influence each chef’s creation paired with the flavors of the quality McBride Sisters wines, demonstrating that our history is indeed a gift.

As someone who knows, I highly recommend you get into the mood, grab your guide, pour yourself a glass of wine and get involved and engaged. Choose a couple of recipes you want to try, if not all, and make your shopping list, order your wines, set a date and call some friends. Let’s cook, eat and enjoy yourselves. Create an evening with these chefs, the McBride Sisters Collection Wines and maybe a few special people…you won’t regret it and your friends will love you for it.

When you are shopping for wine, look no further than the amazing McBride Sisters Wine Collection, which is the largest Black owned and operated wine company in the United States, revered and regarded for their hard work, attention to detail and commitment to excellence and customer service. The sisters, Robin and Andréa are the face and the secret to success behind the brand and every bottle produced. One of the best wine companies on the market today, they have produced quality wines for years and have been trailblazers in creating an African American presence in this tough challenging profession. Their masterful wines are the celebrated vintages our gifted chefs have chosen to create their offerings and pairing… Cheers!