Lewis (April 13, 1916 — Feb. 13, 2006) began her career in New York as a cook at Café Nicholson, where famous stars like William Faulkner, Marlon Brando, Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote were frequent guests. In 1972, her recipes were turned into a book, “The Edna Lewis Cookbook.” That was followed by “The Taste of Country Cooking” in 1976. Her fame as a cook and author earned her the title of “The South’s Answer to Julia Child.”
Wilson is a native of Harlem and decided to create a restaurant that specializes in comfort foods such as pecan-crusted tilapia and Southern fried chicken with eggnog waffles. Melba’s Restaurant opened its doors in 2005, and Wilson has become a star appearing on multiple Food Network shows like Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. She also has a doctorate in restaurant business.