An Oakland cook known for her soul food brings her culinary expertise and favorite dishes to Hawaii. Tanya Holland, owner of the soul food restaurant Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, is starting a new series with a pop-up for gastronomy at the Grand Wailea in Maui from February 19-21.
The cookbook author and former “Top Chef” candidate creates dishes from her curated pop-up menu for guests at the resort. She will also do virtual food demos that will be broadcast live on social media.
“This was a dream come true,” Holland told SFGATE. “This is my fifth visit to Maui in six years and I just love this island. It’s a really wonderful opportunity. It feels very soulful as I cook soul food. I feel like there’s a continuity in culture here that feels like home to me. “
Holland’s goal for this collaboration is to bring fans and those unfamiliar with the cuisine they love to prepare and serve closer to their familiar palates and the spirit behind soul food.
“I really want to give people a taste of what I serve in my restaurant, so my cornbread is my signature,” she said. “The brown sugar-glazed sweet potato scones are another product we have regularly. I thought it would be nice if the guests had something different for breakfast. All of these ingredients are very accessible and can be made here to be enjoyed here, and it’s not like it’s exotic. The wonderful thing about soul food is that it is migrational, it is a migratory cuisine. It is not tied to just one area of the country. “
Holland also proposed a chat-style event by the fireplace called the Female Leaders’ Breakfast Circle, a discussion on female entrepreneurship and advice on how to become a successful business owner in the hospitality industry.
The Grand Wailea is hosting a culinary pop-up with chef Tanya Holland from February 19-21, 2021.
Grand Wailea Resort
Oakland’s nutritional awareness and appreciation for ethnic diversity are what Holland hopes to bring to the table. Oakland is the city her parents met and she visited a few times when she was younger, but her love for the city has only grown since then. She grew up on the East Coast and has lived in Oakland for more than 20 years.
“I always knew about Oakland, but I didn’t really know,” said Holland. “I didn’t know that this is the place where activism is a part of the community, but also between the Black Panthers who prepare their school breakfast and lunch and Alice Waters next door in Berkeley, everyone knew about farm-to-table, and they wanted to know the source of their food. “
“There is also a diverse community in Oakland that includes many Pacific Islanders and other Asian Americans,” she added. “I think there are over 150 languages spoken in the Bay Area. This diversity speaks to my heart. I love to connect culturally with people through food. Eating and traveling go hand in hand. It only expands people’s minds and only makes the world look smaller when you see how much we have in common. Oakland is just another place to feel at home. “
Tanya Holland has also written two cookbooks, “Brown Sugar Kitchen” and “New Soul Cooking”.
What Holland loves most for the guests of the resort is their bayoubaisse, a spicy sauce that she has not yet prepared in her restaurant. She’ll use it in Maui in dishes made with the island’s popular fresh fish. The bayoubaisse is based on its training in Provence, France, and is known as Mediterranean. This is how she mixes her cuisine and adapts it to Hawaii.
Food is hospitality, and through this collaboration Holland hopes to be able to reaffirm that the hospitality industry – and its people – are more important and more important today than ever before.
“The hospitality industry can’t go away and it won’t go away,” she said. “People want that, they need a break to be served and looked after. We all have to do our best to support this industry because it supports us all. “