"A skillfully observed historical fiction debut"
CT Book Awards!
About The Author
Ramin Ganeshram dedicated seven years to researching and writing The General’s Cook and continues to pursue leads into the elusive live of the man she calls “America’s First Celebrity Chef.”
A veteran journalist who holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, Ramin worked for eight years as a stringer for the New York Timeswriting news features and another eight years for New York Newsdayas a feature writer and food columnist. She has been awarded seven Society of Professional Journalist awards for her work.
A professionally trained chef, Ramin has specialized in writing about multicultural communities as a news reporter and about food from the perspective of history and culture. For two years, she worked as a reporter, writer and editor for Molly O’Neill’s magnum One Big Table exploring the foodways of real Americans from the earliest settlements at Jamestown in the seventeenth century through today.
Ramin has written culture and travel articles for NPR, Forbes, Islands(as contributing editor); National Geographic Traveler; Forbes Traveler; Forbes Four Seasons,Saveur, Gourmet, Bon Appetit epicurious.com and many others. She is also the author of a number of cookbooks including the The Pass It Down Cookbook cataloging African-American historical foodways. Her cookbook FutureChefs: Recipes from tomorrow’s cooks across the nation and the world which told the stories of young chefs from all walks of American life, in their own words, won a 2015 IACP Cookbook Award. She has contributed articles on historical America, immigrant foodways and colonial New York cuisine and commerce to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink In America and Savoring Gotham. Ganeshram has also been a peer reviewer for the Journal of Food, Culture, & Society.
Ramin has been a featured speaker at City University of New York, and the American Library Association.
Ramin is the Executive Director of Westport Historical Society in Westport, Connecticut and the recipient of a 2018 New England Museum Association Excellence in the field for her critically acclaimed Westport exhibit, Remembered: The History of African Americans In Westport which won the national American Association for State & Local History Award for 2019. A native New Yorker, she attended Stuyvesant High School and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was named a 2019 Paul Cuffe Fellow at the Munson Institute at Mystic Seaport.
The People of The General's Cook
Hercules, General Washington's cook. America's first celebrity chef, Hercules runs the kitchens at the President’s House in Philadelphia where George Washington is serving as America's first president. Hercules is a master chef who is exacting and precise as a cook and as a man. Allowed to earn his own money and move about the city with some freedom, Hercules loves fashionable clothes and sophisticated urbane entertainments. But almost free is not free and even as the Washingtons plot to keep him enslaved Hercules sets events in motion to make a terrifying bid for freedom.
The General, George Washington, As America's First President s, Washington and his family reside in nation's capital of Philadelphia.
Martha Washington the daughter of wife of wealthy Virginia planters, Martha Washington is used to comfort and ease. She gives little thought to the enslaved people in her household except with respect of their use to her and her grandchildren.
Thelma Blondelle is a beautiful refugee from Touissant L'Overture's revolution in Saint Domingue. Thelma is not who she seems and the secrets she harbors mean danger for herself and Hercules.
Nate, the Scullion, works in the kitchen assisting Hercules and the other cooks. He learns all there is to know about being a chef and his own man by watching Hercules.
Oney Judge is an enslaved chamber maid to Lady Washington. Strong minded and independent she dreams of freedom.
Mrs. Harris, the Schoolteacher is a free woman of color who runs a school to educate both enslaved and free African Americans. Her special relationship with Hercules will change both their lives.
Margaret Held, the Scullery Maid is a Pennsylvania farm girl whose parents died in the Yellow fever epidemic. Sent to the almshouse, she is indentured to the Washingtons where she works in the kitchen. Her relationship with Nate, with whom she works side by side could spell trouble for them both
Samuel Fraunces. Washington's free African American steward who worked with him in New York City where his tavern served as a key place for Washington's spies to gather intelligence. He joins Washington in Philadelphia where he has little use for Hercules and the other enslaved people.
James Brown, The Mariner a sailor who works on merchant ships between Alexandria and New York, James Brown's covert activities in trades other than goods become very important to Hercules' future.
What the Critics Say...
September 12, 2019, 5:30pm
Minor Memorial Library
October 19, 1pm
Boston Book Festival
June 6, 7pm
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South Street
Litchfield, CT 06759
June 14, 1:30pm
Westport Senior Center
Westport CT, 06880
July 14, 6pm
Morris Jumel Mansion/George Washington Dinner
Washington Heights, NYC