- Food Network Chef
- Literacy Advocate
- Food Consultant
As one of the original celebrity chefs, Curtis Aikens has educated and entertained food lovers since 1988. Curtis hosted several notable shows on television's Food Network including Pick of the Day, From My Garden, Meals Without Meat, and Food in a Flash. He has been a regular cast member of ABC's Good Morning America, dispensing food-related advice and creative, healthful recipes. During the early days, as part of ABC's popular morning show, Home, hosts Gary Collins and Sara Purcell dubbed Curtis "The Home Grocer". Curtis has hundreds of television credits including appearances on CNN, Oprah, Entertainment Tonight, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, Regis and Kathy Lee, the Queen Latifa show, NBC's Today Show, CBS Good Day, Donnie and Marie, the Jane Pauley Show and many more, as well as dozens of other local network affiliate appearances.
He stepped away from the cameras in 2001 to be a fulltime father, his youngest graduated from Novato high June of 2013. During the time away from the spot light Curtis resume his education having earned his BA in Liberal Arts from Limestone College, and Masters of Education from Dominican University of CA.
Curtis Aikens is an advocate good healthy food and great education he was literate until age 26, as a motivational speaker very few has the life experience Aikens brings. When he expresses that learning is Life Long, he is a living testament.
Curtis has also represented many companies and brands helping to deliver corporate and product messaging. Clients have included Mastercard, Korbel, Borden, Millstone Coffee, Simon Property Group, General Mills Green Giant, Hershey's, Jimmy Dean, and many more. Curtis regularly entertains crowds with public appearances at food festivals and events with his dynamic cooking demonstrations and motivating speeches. He has been a keynote speaker at many events including reading and literacy events, topics of great interest to Curtis. He is known for his infectious presence and on-camera abilities. His larger than life personality always serves as a winner for public appearances. But it is his personal story and remarkable struggle with literacy that motivates a commitment to serving others. His story has been told around the world.
Reluctant to be discovered, Curtis channeled his talents into a charade of literacy. His keen intellect helped him remember everything he heard in class. Forced to take a test, he would scribble illegible answers--when the teacher asked for a translation, he could answer orally. Curtis' appealing, likable personality caused people to be predisposed to helping him out. And so, Curtis Aikens made it through elementary school, high school, into college, and owned his own business without ever really knowing how to read. At age 26 while watching television, Curtis saw a commercial for the Marin County Free Library Literacy Program. He decided to get help and finally learned to read. Six years later, he was a published author. Now an outspoken advocate for literacy, Curtis shares his story with schools and literacy groups across the country. ABC's World News tonight featured Curtis' 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. He was the keynote speaker at the 2006 National Title I Conference. In 2005, Curtis promoted Borden's book for kids, Elsie Saves the Day - A Moving Tale of Adventure and Friendship. He provided public service announcements for Half Price Books and Half Price Library, which promote reading for children. Curtis has been a featured columnist in local and national print media. He is the author of Curtis Cooks With Heart and Soul, published by Hearst Books, as well as Garden Grocer's Guide to the Harvest and Curtis Aikens' Guide to the Harvest, both published by Peachtree Publishers. These popular books combine delicious down-home cooking with Curtis' unique philosophy