A native Georgian, Curtis Aikens' attraction to produce began as a small boy, as he followed his Grandfather Curtis through the garden. His interest grew during high school, when he worked at the Conyers, Georgia A&P Market. "I was supposed to be in the grocery department," he recalls, "but I hung out in produce because that's where all the action was." His enthusiasm soon became a career.
Curtis Aikens' career as a television personality and author began in 1988. He has been with the Food Network since its inception, previously as the host of Pick of the day, From My Garden, Meals Without Meat, and Food In A Flash. Curtis is quick to point out that his expertise with produce does not mean that he is "anti-meat." "I just love fruits and vegetables," he says.
Curtis is also a regular cast member of ABC's Good Morning America, where he dispenses both food-related advice and creative, healthful recipes. Then at ABC in 1991, as part of the popular morning show, Home, hosted by Gary Collins and Sara Purcell, who dubbed Curtis "The Home Grocer". Curtis Aikens is (to our knowledge) the only African-American culinary personality featured regularly on network television.
A natural for television, due to his good-natured charisma and unaffected charm, Curtis has appeared before the worldwide audience of CNN (where he fielded cooking questions "live" via international telephone). His other television credits include the Oprah show, Entertainment Tonight, The NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, as well as dozens of other local network affiliates.
NBC Nightly News did a feature story about Curtis' own remarkable struggle with illiteracy, and his devotion to helping the thirty million American adults who are unable to read. ABC's World News tonight featured Curtis Aikens' participation in the First Annual Literacy Festival in Cairo, Georgia. As a literacy advocate, Curtis is a popular speaker at festivals and conferences throughout the country. He has been an invited guest at the White House, visiting President George Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, and has met with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Curtis is the author of Curtis Cooks With Heart and Soul, as well as Garden Grocer's Guide to the Harvest and Curtis Aikens' Guide to the Harvest. These popular books combine delicious down-home cooking with Curtis' unique philosophy.
As a chef, Curtis is in much demand as a celebrity guest of fine restaurants. His cooking, which blends his Southern upbringing with his subsequent California influence, also incorporate nuances gleaned from extensive travels in the US and Europe. His current fascination is with the cuisine of the Pacific rim.
Now an outspoken advocate for literacy, Curtis AIkens shares his story with schools and literacy groups across the country, and donates a portion of his royalties to literacy programs across the country.
- Dealing With Adversity
- Humor in the Workplace
- Team Building
- Life Balance
- Relationship Building
- Consultative Selling
Celebrity, Minority, Spouse programs, Minority
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