Educator, culinary innovator and entrepreneur Lucille Elizabeth Bishop Smith invented Lucille’s All-Purpose Hot Roll Mix, the first hot biscuit mix. Initially developed as a fundraiser for her church, the mix became a huge hit and by April 1948 the 14-ounce box was in demand at grocery stores averaging 200 cases per week, making it a commercial success. Twenty-one recipes could be made from the base of Lucille’s All-Purpose Hot Roll Mix, including a chili biscuit once offered on American Airlines flights and in the White House during Lyndon B. Johnson’s term.
Dubbed “the first African American businesswoman in Texas,” other culinary accomplishments of Smith’s include:
- Publishing her 1941 cookbook, Lucille’s Treasure Chest of Fine Foods, styled as a file box set of recipe cards
- Establishing one of the first college commercial food & technology programs at Prairie View A&M in 1952
- Founding Lucille B. Smith Fine Foods in 1974, where customers included Eleanor Roosevelt and Joe Louis
Her great-grandson, Chef Chris Williams operates the Houston-based restaurant Lucille’s, which specializes in refined southern cuisine infused with international techniques and flavors in tribute to her legacy.