Why where they important?
Kitchen slaves where very important to the large landlords, since they helped make things faster for the overall eating process. Also, kitchen slaves where highly valued for their cooking skills and techniques that they brought from Africa. In some cases, the owners of the home created close bonds with their kitchen slaves, treating them much better than the ones who worked on plantations.
About the landlords
The rich landlords back in the colonial era enjoyed holding large parties to entertain guests. This required a lot of kitchen slave effort, as so many people had to be served.
What did the slaves get?
By working in the kitchens, many slaves where raised in status, allowing them to roam more freely and be more respected. For example, many slaves where given hand-me-downs from their owners.
Hercules was George Washington's cook. Through working in the kitchens, he raised himself to a social status that allowed him to roam the streets freely, wearing elaborate clothing which is usually only worn by rich landowners.
SlaVe of Thomas Jefferson
Another example of slaves being treated well was the case of Thomas Jefferson's slave. He was valued so much, that Jefferson decided spend great amounts of money and send him to Paris to learn French cuisine.
What else could the slaves do?
One important job that kitchen slaves did is dish out medicine for anyone who was sick in the household. Although many slaves did not try to poison their masters, some did, and they were punished for it. On the other hand, some masters trusted their slaves so much that they gave them permission to access the medicine even after attempting murder...