The Art of cooking soul food is an extraordinary gift or, should I say, a talent that runs deep within my family’s DNA. Tracing my “cooking lineage”, I could easily reference a few slaves and quite possibly some house help. Indeed I could reference “Masters” generosity, in giving slaves scraps from the finest pieces of meat and the freshest of fruits and vegetables. I could honestly say that soul food cooking, “…began with inventive slaves in the Old South.” (Isabel Du Bois).
When it came to soul food cookin’, my Grandmother, Mrs. Virginia Butler-Lott, was a Boss. Her killer confidence and razor sharp skill landed my Grandmother an article in the Daily News teaching Caucasian homemakers the art of cooking soul food.She also cleaned homes for a living, yes she was what I called a HUSTLER. My Grandmother had four children to feed and did whatever was necessary to provide for them.My mother was raised on soul food and so was I. With that said, my mother thought it was necessary to teach me the ways of the “force”. I can remember being 17 and my mother insisted that I learn how to make Christmas dinner. I just wanted to sing and dance at the “Warehouse”. Honestly, I could have cared less about cooking. I later told my mother that I would have a chef and a maid… Needless to say, my mother got her way.
Flash forward about 22 years. I now have a daughter and I could not fail as a mother, so I began to cook. Knowing what my mother went through to provide a good education for my siblings and I, my salary wouldn’t cut it…I started my hustle because I wanted the same for my daughter with regards to a quality education. I began selling , desserts and cookies all for the low, low price for 5 bucks. As you know, working a 9-5 only pays the bills and not the extra (quality education). I had to come up with a plan which then sparked an idea: To make extra money, I took my mother’s & grandmother’s fried chicken and fish recipes, added some sides and sold soul food dinners for 5 dollars. That $5.00 turned into $500.00 in 3 days. I still get calls about my deep fried chicken/fish. So, in essence, “Big Mama’s Kitchen” was established August of 2012.
In 2014 I was laid off from my job which was a blessing. I decided to keep a promise to my mother before her transition to return back to school. It wasn’t easy but it was time to put my ultimate plan into action. At 46yrs. of age I obtained a Hospitality Management Degree. I was determined never to return Corporate America. After graduation, I purchased a food truck, came up with some AMAZING dishes such as my signature dish “The Jerk Chicken Carnival Rice Bowl”. Yes..I dare to be different in every concept of the word and look to continue my journey to success. I’d like to say skies the limit but that would be a lie when there are footprints on the moon.
“ We were lucky to have Big Mama’s Kitchen and catering company sponsor our entire menu for our January Lookprenuer Showcase. Our guest really enjoyed all of the dishes! The moment her food touched my mouth I was in heaven! The Flavors were delicious and the presentation was perfect” said CEO and Founder of The Look Chicago Nellisa Heath
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IG: Big Mamas Kitchen 82012