The Collaborative No. 17
Today we are featuring Everyday Visionary Shanita Bryant, who is Executive Chef and Owner of Magnolia's On The Move.
Shanita is Kansas City’s First African American female Executive Chef. She prides herself on creating inspired Southern cuisine and celebrates ethnic diversity through her simply prepared and highly flavored food. Her recipes bring a modern flair to traditional soul food.
Since winning Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen in 2015, Shanita has been busy. She is a mom, a world class chef, author and entrepreneur. She has taken her brick and mortar creations on the road and Magnolia's now inhabits a food truck. Shanita's food keeps the heritage of down home Southern cooking alive and elevated through her culinary journey.
Outside of her accomplishments in the kitchen, Chef Bryant is active in various national organizations. She is a founding board member of the National Minority Chef’s Summit, which strives to promote education, camaraderie and mentorships to upcoming minority chefs.
If you are unable to visit her food truck in KC, checkout her recipes on her website!
You can follow Shanita Bryant on social media by clicking these links:
- Where do you currently work?
- What is your current role?
Executive Chef and Owner
- How would you describe to a child what you do for a living?
As my 4 year old says. I am Chef Mommy, I make delicious food for people to eat.
- What do you hope you have a reputation for as a professional?
Professionalism, so many people in my industry don’t keep there word and have forgotten this is the service industry, otherwise know as the hospitality industry we serve people, we meet there needs. It will be difficult and frustrating at times but we are expected to keep our cool and DELIVER !!
- What is an accomplishment from your career that meant the world to you?
Winning Cutthroat Kitchen on Food Network. I remember being in the hotel the first morning of taping a ball of nerves, I had just had a baby 6 months ago and my anxiety got the best of me .. I broke down ..I didn’t think I could do it .. I was just a mom who decided to return to professional cooking. I was going to embarrass myself and my family and go home.
- What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way in your career?
Trust but get it in writing!! I am a genuinely nice person who can’t fathom that someone may have malicious intent. I used to think that all people were inherently good. Which I still do but now I follow that good feeling up with writing. People will say anything.
- What are some of your go-to sources of inspiration and staying on top of emerging trends that impact your field or industry?
Social Media has made it easy to stay close to friends and people that I look up to in the industry. I still like to read cookbooks and food magazines not online though I LOVE the actual copy in my hand.
- What is something you need in your work environment in order to thrive in your role?
Order and Music ... I MUST HAVE MUSIC.
- What you envision for your customers/clients/stakeholders/ patients/citizens/students, etc.?
For them to love and enjoy food they way I do, not to view it solely as a way to nourish your body. I want them to explore the flavor, the smell the texture of food.. It will overload your senses if you allow it to
- What is one of the biggest challenges you are facing or trying to solve right now?
Time ... I can’t do my work because I am too busy doing my work
- When and where do you tend to get your ideas?
In my sleep or while I am driving .. my mind doesn’t rest.
- What are three of your favorite books?
Pride and Prejudice
The Gift of Southern Cooking
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
- What’s one of your favorite non-profits?
- If you could collaborate with any group or individual in the world, who would be your top three picks?
Former White House Chef Edna Lewis ... although she has passed away
- What would you want to collaborate on with the people/groups you just mentioned?
An amazing wine or beer dinner to benefit one of our favorite charities.
- If you were invited to give a TED Talk (or have given one), what would you speak about?
Mom Life ..Work Life Balance ... is that such a thing? Especially for an entrepreneur
- How do you unwind at the end of a stressful day?
Movies and snuggles with my mini me.
- What do you think your 80-year-old self would tell you right now?
STOP now and smell the roses
- What do you think your 10-year-old self would be most impressed with about your life right now?
Persistent .. no matter how difficult she ..me ..didn’t give up
- What does your creative process entail when you're doing what you do best?
Visualization and then things happen organically
- Is there anything particularly compelling that you want us to know that we didn't ask?
No we have covered a whole lot .. I don't normally share this much of myself, I usually let my art ( food) speak for me.