Legacy Makers

How did you get into the culinary arts?

#1 I’ve always cooked in the house growing up but my senior in HS I attended vocational technical school for culinary arts. From there I was hooked. The instructor was very passionate about food which rubbed off on me. 

Is it considered offensive just to label it “just cooking”?

#2 I’m not sure, in what regards?

What does cooking, the culinary arts, represent for you?

#3 It represents perfecting your craft. It represents childhood, memories of food, mom’s special dish, family gatherings

Typically, how long does it take to be trained in the field?

#4 As far as school, about two years for an associate degree, but keep in mind one doesn’t have to go to school. One could acquire knowledge through working at different jobs 

What would be your advice to those who are young and aspire to this field?

#5 Go work at a restaurant and or a Bakery. Get some experience under your belt. Make sure this is what you want to do. Become a sponge 

Now you are a part of TCP . . . How did you become connected with them? And how does being a chef fit into that partnership?

#6 I got with TCP through Billy. We’ve known each other for years. Having a chef on TCP adds a different layer to it. Not only from a video standpoint but from a culinary aspect. There are many folks out there who would love to know, to learn about cooking. 

What type of cuisine do you prepare?

#7 I do American regional, West African. My background is West African… so that’s a no brainer. I also do Vegan dishes as well

Tell us something about the culinary arts and being a chef that typically most people don’t know.

#8 It’s hard work, long hours. But it’s rewarding. 

How did you decide to concentrate in it?

In this line of work are there a number of diverse representations of black and brown people and their food culture? And if so, is it respected?

How does Caribbean, African and southern black cuisine influence the food industry?

#10 Actually vs other industries our food is growing in popularity. Thing is people love food. There’s a need to be more of us for sure. It’s respected, but it’s not looked at some European cuisines. We’re working on changing that. 

Where do you see the industry within the next five years?

#11 It’s the foundation. Most cuisines, specifically Caribbean, the South, originate from Africa

And where do you see yourself within that context within the next five years?

#12 Growing and growing

#13 Having a food truck, growing my private dinner service, expanding my retail operations 

Do you find that young children of color are aware of the culinary field and are they interested? If not, what can we do to change that? If not, why aren’t they in your opinion. And if they are, what kind of contributions do you think that will have on the industry?