Food for the Soul: This Chef is Traveling the World in Search of the Best Soul Food

by Xara Aziz
Instagram @thechefalisa

A new Hulu Original docuseries hosted by a Black woman restaurateur is sure to entice your tastebuds for some good ol’ soul food like candied yams, cornbread, greens, ribs and mac and cheese. Yum!

In Searching For Soul Food, Chef Alisa Reynolds, the owner of My 2 Cents LA is taking viewers on a journey to discover “cuisine created with ingenuity through struggle that nourished people through [hard] times.”

Reynolds, a Los Angeles native and French-trained chef with soul food roots travels throughout the world where she uncovers what soul food looks like in different parts of the world. During her journey, she sets out on a quest to find the best cuisines while learning about the stories, people, culture and traditions behind each dish. With each visit, she brings along her own flavor to dish out new chef masterpieces that are sure to change the game.

The 8-episode series begins in Mississippi and honors Black women chefs who work with Paris-trained Chef James Hemmings, who was enslaved by Thomas Jefferson. By emphasizing what is known as soul food, Chef Reynolds concocts the expansion of pallets and notions of how soul food is created and consumed in other cultures.

Throughout the series, Chef Reynolds visits South Africa, Italy, Jamaica and Peru – to name a few – where she takes a piece of history along the way.

In a recent interview with Reckon News, Chef Reynolds said that her travels were therapeutic, and helped her discover the richness and complexities of soul food throughout different parts of the world.

Love and compassion, off rip,” Chef Reynolds began. “It has no emotion [or] judgment. No matter who or what color, this, that, or the third, that’s one thing everybody can agree on, if something tastes good and it feeds your soul [then it’s soul food].”

She also stated that what compelled her the most in her travels was the beauty behind each dish came out of struggle. Throughout her travels, she found that the most delicious cuisine came from hardship, which was helpful in how she would approach creating dishes in the future.

What inspired me the most in my personal life is that struggle has existed [worldwide],” she said. “And beautiful dishes come out of these things. And progress is slow, but the food remains the same. And I think that I take that back. And in terms of recipes, so many that are in line, I have not got a chance to work on some, but I’m working. If we get a second season, there will be a cookbook attached to this show.”

Furthermore, she said she hopes viewers will watch the series and gain a better appreciation of soul food and the stories behind some of the world’s favorite dishes.

I want them to look at their food a bit deeper and have a sense of compassion and understanding that we are all connected, and [the] dishes [and] stereotypes are two different things. You know what I mean? Take the stereotype out of the people, put the love in the food, and you can understand the people a little bit more.”

Begin streaming Searching For Soul Food on Hulu now.

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