2017 James Hemings Day


WHEREAS, James Hemings was born into slavery in 1765 and was one of twelve children of Elizabeth “Betty” Hemings; and

WHEREAS, from 1784 to 1798, James Hemings accompanied Thomas Jefferson to France to be trained in the French culinary style; and

WHEREAS, Hemings trained under the chef of the Prince de Condé and became the chef de cuisine at the Hôtel de Langeac, which was Jefferson's private residence on the Champs-Elysées; and

WHEREAS, Hemings’ recipes influenced fine dining that eventually spread from Monticello to kitchens both north and south, and brought creme brûlée, french fries, macaroni and cheese, and whipped cream to America; and

WHEREAS, Hemings cooked for the historic dinner between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, during which the location of the nation's capital was decided upon; and

WHEREAS, Hemings is a son of Virginia who created the half Virginian and half French culinary style, and whose culinary contributions are still enjoyed by Americans; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia celebrates the many accomplishments of James Hemings by proclaiming October 8th as James Hemings Day;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize October 8, 2017, as JAMES HEMINGS DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.