Chef Devin McDavid
Praised for his standout desserts, Chef Devin is the executive pastry chef at the acclaimed Quince restaurant in San Francisco.
Devin McDavid is the executive pastry chef of Michael Tusk’s acclaimed Quince and Cotogna restaurants in San Francisco. Inspired as a young boy by his wedding caterer Aunt Agnes, he eventually went to the prestigious Johnson & Wales culinary school in Rhode Island. Food & WineMagazine honored McDavid in their inaugural Best New Pastry Chef 2012 issue, noting his excellent technique and standout desserts.
Who inspired your generation of chefs, and what effect did they have on you personally?
Growing up there weren't very many chef's of color that I was aware, of besides Marcus Samuelsson. So most of my inspiration and drive came from my mother being supportive in everything that I did, also my aunt that had her own catering company. Having an environment that has always been supportive and nurturing to my dreams and goals, helped me be the individual to which I am today.
Based on your experiences, why do you feel there is an underrepresentation of African Americans in the food industry?
I am still very confused why there seems to be an underrepresentation of African Americans within the food industry; I have always said that if I am here then there must be more people of color behind the scenes that are perhaps not getting the representation that's needed. That will not only give inspiration to the younger generation but to all nationalities and ethnic, that anything and everything is possible; regardless of color, race or creed, we are all out there and accepted for our talents.
What do you think it will take to both raise the profile and increase African Americans’ representation in the field?
To raise the profile and representation within the field I think that it will require a bit more openness that we are all equals, make it about the food and not color. Working in the service industry which we already have stresses pleasing guests and losing out on a lot of family time, this should be about food, community and the environment how do we make it better.
Chef Devin McDavid is one of 15 culinary insiders that we interviewed as part of a special feature on Black chefs.