Why Stephen Satterfield Doesn't Want To Be Thanked For High On The Hog

The new show from Netflix, "High on the Hog," has garnered widespread appreciation for its attention to detail. The show's host, Stephen Satterfield, takes his viewers on an incredible journey as they get a chance to understand Black cuisine and its history a lot more deeply through several moving episodes.

The show's producers, Fabienne Toback and Karis Jagger, were heavily inspired by food historian Dr. Jessica Harris' 2011 book, "High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America." In an interview with VICE, Toback said that the book was recommended by a friend and took her by surprise. She added that despite being a trained chef, she didn't know much about Black culinary traditions.

Satterfield felt strongly about the book as well. "I read the book a couple years after it first came out [in 2011]. For me, it was the text that I had been waiting for," he explained in the same VICE interview, before adding that the book was deeply meaningful for someone like him. By that point, Satterfield had already spent years exploring South African culture and spending time with Black and indigenous winemakers in the region. 

For Satterfield, being a part of a show like "High on the Hog" was huge. He explained, "What I do think is possible and what I'm advocating for is more sh** like 'High on the Hog.' We have the ability to speak directly to Black people across the diaspora."

Satterfield's priorities are clear

While Satterfield is deeply passionate about what he's doing, the host isn't looking for validation. He told Eater in an interview that he understands why many people would feel compelled to thank him for being a part of a deeply impactful show like "High on the Hog," but he doesn't wish to take credit. The TV personality explained that he is simply a "vessel for the material."

Plus, as far as Satterfield is concerned, the show is the result of teamwork and the contribution of team members like producer Shosana Guy. "All the nuance required, all the care that's required for the material," Satterfield said, "really needed a Black woman to be on the showrunning side. And Shoshana did an amazing job." Another person who was instrumental in making the show a success is its director, Roger Ross Williams. Satterfield told Eater that it was Williams' "talent and the trust that Netflix has in him allowed the show to be greenlit."

Satterfield is clearly very grateful that the show has been greeted so enthusiastically by excited viewers who've enjoyed digging into the depths of what makes African American cuisine special and unique.