Chef Dawn Tyson has the keys to your heart. With cookbook Soul: Southern American Cuisine, Tyson comes to the table with more than 15 years of homegrown culinary experience and passion.
She began her cooking journey atop a little red stool helping her grandmother whip up biscuits for Sunday breakfast. Later, she became the go-to cook for catered parties of 100 or more people.
Through good old-fashioned hard work, Tyson skipped culinary school and cooked her way through the system, eventually opening her own catering business Dawn’s Dish and A Little Place Called Siam, a Thai restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland. Since then, she’s been everything from restaurateur and author to consultant and baker.
Vixen got a chance to pick Dawn’s brain about her experiences as a food-loving kid and ways non-cooking Vixens learn how to make easy dishes. – Nicole Brown
VIBE Vixen: Who are your cooking heroes?
Dawn Tyson: My grandmother. She could stretch a chicken and feed 40 people. My mother was the same way. I didn’t grow up on packaged bread. My mother made bread and had her own sauces. Back then, it was a lot cheaper to do stuff like that. I had fresh oatmeal cookies or chocolate chip cookies that my mom made. We weren’t like hippies, but my mother just loved to bake, and she loved to cook for her family.
What was your favorite thing to help cook when you were younger?
My grandfather made coconut bread. And this bread isn’t like regular dough bread. It’s the hard, cakey kind of bread–so good [Laughs]. We’ve kept the tradition up even after my grandfather passed away, but it was his thing for years. I have nieces that help now.
Did you go to culinary school?
No. I just worked my way up. I’m one of those “cook chefs” who learned the hard way.
Do you cook when you’re at home?
I cook a lot, but I do take a break. If I want sushi or whatever, I might try out a new restaurant.