Bonnie Lee Black ’79 recently received three prestigious awards from Gourmand International for her book How to Cook a Crocodile: A Memoir with Recipes. Black's book was awarded recognition in the categories of Food Literature, African Cuisine (Gabon), and Charity and Community (North America).
Black, now an instructor at University of New Mexico, Taos, was a writer and editor in New York City while also owner of her own catering business for ten years. She decided to leave New York and join the Peace Corps at the age of 50 in the mid-’90s. How to Cook a Crocodile is her account of that time – from caterer to Manhattan’s elite to health-and-nutrition volunteer in the rainforest of Gabon – written, as author Cherie Burns has noted, with “perspective, warmth, and wit.”
“We enter her world,” says Burns of Black’s Crocodile, “with the initial thrill of discovery and then fall in love, as she did, with the world she describes. What truly seduces us is experiencing it through Black’s fine prose and her expert storytelling.”
Black has also authored Somewhere Child (Viking Press) and a sequel to Crocodile, Patchwork: A Memoir of Mali, not yet published. Last September, Black’s Patchwork manuscript won first place in the Memoir Book category in the SouthWest Writers annual awards in Albuquerque.
Black is an honors graduate of Columbia University. She holds a blue-ribbon diploma from the New York Cooking School (now ICE) and also studied cooking at La Varenne École de Cuisine, then in Paris. In 2007 she earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She now teaches in both the English and Culinary Arts departments at UNM-Taos.
For more information, visit her website.