Celebrating Black History Month: How to cook like Lena Richard

FOX 5 begins its celebration of Black History Month this February with a tribute to one chef who broke barriers by sharing her recipes, Lena Richard.

Richard was a chef, restaurateur and television host from New Orleans who became the first Black woman to host her own television cooking show. 

Smithsonian Food Historian Dr. Ashley Rose Young says the museum has an online exhibit that highlights Richard's story along with seven other female business achievers called "The Only One in the Room: Women Achievers in Business and the Cost of Success."

Here are some of Richard's recipes to try for yourself:


1 cup chopped chicken meat
2 ½ quarts chicken stock
½ dozen crabs
1 pound lake shrimp
½ pound or 1 slice raw ham
1 bay leaf
3 teaspoons filé
1 medium sized onion
1 clove of garlic
3 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons cooking oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry ham and shrimp in cooking oil until ham is a golden brown. Remove ham and shrimp from fat. Make a roux with flour and fat, add onions and cook until a golden brown. Add crabs, chicken, ham and shrimp, stock and all seasonings except salt and pepper. Cook over a slow fire until liquid has reduced to about 1½ quarts. Season with salt and pepper and, just before serving, stir in file. It is customary to serve Gumbo File with rice.


1 cup rice
4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt

            Wash rice and rub well between hands. Drop into salted boiling water and boil rapidly, uncovered, for fifteen or twenty minutes until kernels are cook through. Put rice in a colander and pour boiling water over it to remove loose starch and separate grains. Drain well and place in slow oven with the door open until grains are thoroughly separated and dry, or about twenty minutes.