If you've spent even a fraction of time online, you've no doubt heard the name "The Kitchenista." The nom de cook of Detroit-based private chef Angela Davis, her no-nonsense way of cooking — combined with her clear love of the art — has earned her a large & loyal following.
"Being a kitchenista is as much about confidence in the kitchen as it is about culinary know-how. It's about discovering your personal style of cooking and loving the process of creating a great dish. I hope that's what I can ultimately inspire people to do," she said back in 2012.
Today, her often-imitated (hello, "Darius Cooks," we're looking at you), but never duplicated (no, really, have you seen his slop?) recipes can be found exclusively at her Patreon, which we encourage you to subscribe to. (Support Black women! Support Black women chefs!) However, from time to time, she does share some great cooking tips — which are easy to follow and will go a long way in making your good holiday cooking great. Here are the favorites we've found.
1. Get creative with leftovers.
Got some leftovers? No problem. One of her infamous recipes is for chorizo, chicken, rice & beans, which tips its hat to her Cape Verdean heritage while also making good use of leftovers. "Once you've got a working formula down, these dishes are very easy to customize with the ingredients you have on hand. Serve a quick garden salad on the side if you want to balance with something fresh, and dinner's done," she says. Check out her recipe & blog about it here.
2. Pantry dumps=great food.
"With a generous helping of spices and an assortment of canned goodies, you can bring any kind of ground meat to life," she explains in her blog for some delicious chili. Use every available ingredient in your pantry when possible — don't let anything go to waste!
3. Sometimes, simple is best.
Those who live in the Northeast and other temperate climates know that it's soup season. And sometimes, making soup just requires a few simple ingredients. In the teaser video below, The Kitchenista explains how to use some kale, sausage, fennel, butternut squash, and cannellini beans to make some soup.
Kale soup w/ linguiça, fennel, butternut squash, cannellini beans. Adapted from something already on my blog but I will type up the notes for Patreon. #kitchenistadiaries #soupszn pic.twitter.com/gah6VwZ7SB— Angela (@TheKitchenista) October 13, 2021
4. Homemade pasta will change your life.
We all have busy lives, even in the middle of a pandemic, so we may not have time to make things from scratch the way we want to. But pasta doesn't have to be one of those things. In fact, as The Kitchenista shows us from this teaser video, you can have some fresh carb-y goodness with a few simple ingredients.
5. Vegetarian dinners consist of more than salad.
Please don't insult your vegetarian friends by plunking a salad in front of them. Salad is not an entrée. Try this recipe for black beans & cheese stuffed plantains with cilantro sauce instead. (Please.)
6. Cook good — and eat good — for yourself.
Let's hear it from The Kitchenista herself. Ma'am?
7. No true chef would be caught dead without their own Mac'n'cheese recipe for the holidays.
"It’s a holiday staple — everybody makes it. A lot of people have adjusted it to make it their own," she told The Kitchn. "You’ll see it pop around Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, cookouts. I’ll get hundreds of pictures from people who’ve made it — a lot of times, for the first time! It’s a cool feeling. My main thing is that you don’t need fancy cheese to make a really good mac and cheese. I use cheddar, pepper Jack, and muenster, with a bechamel sauce. But you have to season the bechamel sauce really well. And don’t overcook it."
8. Be yourself. Your cooking is an extension of *YOU*.
As the #DariusCrooks debacle taught us, The Kitchenista's core value relies on being herself, not anyone else. As a home cook, it's okay to be inspired by others. You might find some inspiration in others' recipes, and make them your own. But it's not okay to steal from someone else. Your cooking is an extension of you. Be true to yourself — your likes and dislikes, your culture, your heritage — and the rest will follow naturally.