Jesse Curry, a resident of Stephens City, used to cook for the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging (now Seniors First) senior program at Stephens City United Methodist Church. Jesse also donated a copy of the Rev. Robert Orrick portrait to our church which is located in the Orrick Chapel Fellowship Hall.

See the Winchester article about Mr. Curry below.


On Saturday, August 3, 2019 an event celebrating soul food and honoring African American chefs of the Shenandoah Valley was held at Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown, Virginia. Belle Grove Plantation is a key legislated partner of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. The event was free and open to the public with tours of the Manor House and talks throughout the day.

“We have had tremendous response to this idea,” said Robin Lyttle President of the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project. “There were so many amazing chefs recommended to us who are so worthy of recognition. We look forward to honoring these individuals and will invoke the name of many others who shared their talents and passion for cooking with our community.”

The honored chefs include:

  • Mr. Ira Iverson Becks Sr., Mr. Ira Iverson Becks Jr., and Mrs. Viola E. Becks, Chefs at Ingleside Hotel, Staunton, VA
  • Mr. Jesse Curry, Chef and Owner of Rustic Tavern, Winchester, VA
  • Mrs. Catherine W. Dunn, Chef at Belle Meade Hotel and Lloyd’s Steak House, Harrisonburg, VA
  • Mr. Jerome Grant, Executive Chef, Sweet Home Café, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC
  • Mrs. Ellen Williams Gant and Mrs. Lucille Kent Williams, Chefs at the Wayside Inn, Middletown, VA
  • Mr. Edwin Green, Chef and Owner, Po’ Green’s Southern Food & BBQ, Front Royal. VA
  • Mrs. Geneva Jackson, Caterer, Berryville, VA
  • Mrs. Vivienne Jackson, Chef and Owner, Ruth’s Tea Room, Winchester, VA
  • The Newman Family, Chefs at Wayside Inn, Middletown, VA
  • Mr. Henry Stewart, Chef Kavanaugh Hotel, Harrisonburg, VA
  • Mrs. Sue Tokes, Chef and Owner, Tokes Inn, Opequon, VA
  • Mr. William Tutt, Mrs. Edith Tutt, Mrs. Ella Twyman Tutt, Chefs, Luray, VA and Managers of Lewis Mountain Lodge in the Shenandoah National Park
  • Mrs. Savilla Toliver Vickers and Mrs. Edna Toliver Rhodes, Chefs and Caterers in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, VA
  • Mr. Kenneth Williams, Caterer, Winchester, VA