We got a chance to sit down with Chef Oliver Saye of Quick and Easy with Chef Oliver. we wanted to ask him about his love of the culinary arts, and the future of the industry. he had some inspiring words for us and even advice for those who want to learn the craft. Thanks again to Chef Oli who doesn’t play with his food . . . literally.
How did you get into the culinary arts?
Chef Oli: 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”?
Chef Oli: I’m not sure, in what regards?
Meaning is it just cooking, would you consider it like an artform?
Chef Oli: I don’t personally think it’s just cooking and most chefs would find that offensive. It’s art, it’s about caring for the food, it’s environment, sustainability, and history behind it.
What does cooking, the culinary arts, represent for you?
Chef Oli: 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?
Chef Oli: 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?
Chef Oli: 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?
Chef Oli: 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. (Billy is William Way II of Regal Finesse an Apparel Company and one of the founders of The Cultured Professional)
What type of cuisine do you prepare?
Chef Oli: 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.
Chef Oli: It’s hard work, long hours. But it’s rewarding.
How did you decide to concentrate in it?
Chef Oli: 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?
Chef Oli: 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?
Chef Oli: 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?
Chef Oli: Growing and growing
Chef Oli: 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?
Chef Oli: Our kids are there and interested there just needs to be more of us so they can see themselves
Hit the links above to go right to Chef Oli’s pages.