What food brings you comfort?
I’m definitely comforted by foods that are attached to memories. Even just the smells of certain foods can transport me back to simpler times #adultingishard. Bacon cooking, onions frying, bread baking. Ultimate Aromatherapy.
How would you say your approach to food is influenced by your Baltimore roots?
My siblings and I are first generation Baltimoreans. Our parents are from New York. Baltimore’s biggest influence on me has been the realization that WE ARE THE SOUTH. Sometimes it’s easy to forget, but that Mason Dixon is real. It definitely informs my food choices. Baltimore is definitely why I eat my fried fish with yellow mustard and raw onion. Of course all Seafood. It’s important to me to shine light on food items that don’t get the love they should, and even more on their origin and who makes them. There’s so much rich food history here.
What’s your most prized kitchen tool?
Just one!? Well, if it’s not too obvious, I guess I’ll say my knives. I’m really protective of them. You can be in a real pickle if you don’t have a good sharp knife and there’s work to do. I have a couple really nice Carbon Steel knives that keep a nice edge.
Tell us a little about your chef Jacket!
I have lots of different jackets. I have a couple bespoke Ankara jackets I love. My favorite one right now though is a simple white coat I already had, and a local artist Arvay Adams @arvayadams put a really polarizing image of a black child eating watermelon from an antiquated Cook Book on the back of it. I love it because it’s beautiful. And I love it because it can be ugly. People have really varied responses to it.
What’s the vibe like on a Saturday Brunch inside of Showroom Bar at Motor House?
Every Saturday, the Showroom Bar transforms into ‘Blacksmiths’, the brunch concept I’ve been developing for years. It’s exactly what I wish we had in Baltimore. I’m bummed I always have to work! lol The food is next level. It’s made with love and intention. So there’s that! But then the energy is so positive and light. DJ Dragn is dope, the “Bar” at its core is just a long communal table. Guests talk and engage with each other. They make plans to meet back the following week. Families come. People bring balloons and celebrate things! It’s unmatched.
Who were some of the mentors that had an impact on your career?
I’ve been blessed to work with some amazingly skilled and talented Chefs in my career thus far. I guess my foundation, like most, was laid at home. My Mother, Grandmother, Aunties, they were all really great cooks. My dad even, while not necessarily the best traditional cook, likes to do cool experimental recipes. We dug a hole in the ground, put coals in it and baked biscuits in the back yard. Neither of us thought to make anything else to go with them but, They were great!
Crystal ball, what’s upcoming for you?
I’m currently manifesting so many things! A full time permanent space for Blacksmiths, a regular segment on public media with recipes and culinary history and all things related to food, a better life/work balance, clear skin, a dog to adopt. So many things. 🙂