New york times
A Belle Epoque for African-American Cooking
At Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, Tanya Holland’s Creole shrimp and grits seems to be infused with concentric layers of flavor. Customers feel so passionate about the dish that they regularly pay tribute with love letters left on their tables. What she offers is a “California-ized” rendition of African-American comfort food, she said, but it’s about classic technique, too. Everything depends on making the grits early in the morning and making the rest à la minute — and then paying close attention.
Residential & Dining Enterprises
Food Plan for Mind, Body and Soul
This time the occasion was Mardi Gras. The place was Lakeside Dining and the chef was none other than Tanya Holland, author and executive chef-owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland. Holland is one of a handful of chefs who, according to the New York Times, represents “a new generation of black chefs and cookbook authors … reinventing, reinterpreting and reinvigorating what’s thought of as African American food.”
The Welcome Table
At Brown Sugar, customers of all races and classes commune over her chicken and waffles. For her seder, Holland wanted that same harmony of people and flavors. So last year, she and Surkis invited friends—African American, Jewish, or both—to their house in Oakland. The menu reflected the heritages around the table: It was based on seder classics like matzo-ball soup, but infused with the flavors of the African American South and North Africa.