Caesar’s Kitchen: Chocolate and Slavery at Stratford Hall

  • Sat, Feb 12, 2022 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Eastern Standard Time

Ticket Price Free This event is not available.

Program Postponed: New Date TBD. Stay tuned for updates!

Join us for a walk through historical chocolate recipes!  This cooking demonstration and discussion will focus on some of the chocolate recipes that Caesar, Stratford’s enslaved chef and chocolatier, would have made for the Lees during the 1770s. Demonstrations will also include two modern twists on historical chocolate recipes, while discussing the history and legacy of African American foodways. Led by Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz with Stratford Hall’s resident historical chef, Dontavius Williams, Bravo TV Top Chef contestant and Discovery+ celebrity chef, Chris Scott, as well as Richmond-based restaurateur and chef, Michael Lindsey. Funded by Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Research Grant, Mars Wrigley.

This program will be offered virtually and pre-registration is required. We invite you to pay as you wish to support lectures like this and future programs at Stratford Hall.

Funded by Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Research Grant, Mars Wrigley.

Dontavius Williams, Historical Interpreter, Storyteller, Chef

Dontavius Williams is the sole proprietor of The Chronicles of Adam, and his work has attracted the attention of various news sites, being written about for his work with The Slave Dwelling Project. He is not only a storyteller but also a Certified Interpretive Guide who has been trained on the art of interpreting history through various means. Dontavius has been in the field of public history and storytelling for over 10 years and now travels the country interpreting slavery at various historic sites, schools, and churches and community events. He also filmed a segment for a documentary entitled “Slavery and the Making of America” with PBS, and was featured on a PBS television show entitled “Making it Grow” where his work was aired in 2017. Most recently, Dontavius has worked with The National Parks Foundation and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitors Center in Church Creek, Maryland as he filmed a mini documentary about the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman with Hip-Hop Icon MC Lyte. Among Dontavius’ personal and professional accomplishments, he is most proud of the work he has done in developing public programming for historic sites and museums, his work as Commissioner to the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission as appointed by the Governor of the state of South Carolina. Dontavius uses historical documents and primary sources to paint a picture with words and live action to bring to life the life of the enslaved community during the times of slavery. Dontavius believes in the concept of Sankofa. This is the belief that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. This belief is based on an African proverb that states "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten." Therefore, through his interpretation, Dontavius desires to inspire all who experience it to feel moved to learn more about their heritage and teach others. 

Date & Time

Sat, Feb 12, 2022 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Stratford Hall

A National Historic Landmark, Stratford Hall is home to the Lees of Virginia and is located in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Nestled along the Potomac River, Stratford Hall’s nearly 2,000 acres come to life through the presentation and preservation of the 18th-century Great House, vibrant gardens, natural trails revealing breathtaking river views, and the stories of all who lived here.