Charles and Lecia Wilford of Chef Charles House of Creations have worked as personal chefs in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas for more than 36 years. From casual birthday parties to major events held in the Old Governor’s Mansion, the duo has made quite a name for themselves throughout the city.
But in February, the Wilfords took their skills to the national level. The two were honored at the 2019 National Black Chef’s Association’s Awards, which celebrated and spotlighted their culinary expertise, creativity and work throughout Baton Rouge.
Charles says the awards help bring a spotlight to minority chefs who often do not get the recognition they deserve.
“We want to let people know that we are out there,” he says. “If you look around on social media and network TV you will see very few to none of us. We are good chefs. We can go out there and work and produce and make things look as beautiful as everyone else can. We just want to put the spotlight on our culture and our work.”
Beyond being presented with an award, Charles and Lecia had the opportunity to showcase their food at the event. Of those who received the honor, six chefs were chosen to prepare different courses for the event. The Wilfords served Eggplant La Fleur, a dish similar to eggplant Parmesan but with a crawfish gumbo sauce on top.
Charles was also named the president of the new Baton Rouge chapter of the National Black Chef’s Association. The chapter, which Charles hopes to open to the public by the end of May, will help other chefs in the area get proper certification and network with and support each other.
“My hope is not just to bring awareness but bring more respect and more notoriety. … Bringing this chapter to the city will help get chefs on their feet,” Charles says. “I think to let them know that there is someone behind them will help get chefs to the next level.”