Craving delish Southern cuisine in suburban Maryland? Welp, you’re gonna want to bookmark this post because we’re spilling deets on a new women-owned soul food restaurant coming to Laurel. Expect everything from fried catfish to maple glazed BBQ salmon, and enjoy some of the yummiest peach cobbler you’ll have the pleasure of devouring.
And for every meal served at Sunshine & Soul, they’ll be feeding someone in need by partnering with local organizations to combat food deserts in MD. They’re currently crowdfunding to open their brick and mortar, but their food will soon be available on local delivery apps. Want to learn more about the amazing chef behind S&S? Keep reading below, friends.
Have you always loved cooking?
I’ve always loved cooking! I started cooking when I was in 3rd grade. I would volunteer to bring variations of fried chicken to the holiday parties, which my childhood friends still talk about to this day. The kitchen for me has and continues to be my happy place!
Did you go to culinary school or are you self taught?
I attended the 2-year Maryland culinary and hospitality management program when I was in high school, which gave me the necessary head start to continue building on the knowledge and experience I gained there. I’m not completely self taught, but I didn’t attend a culinary school following high school.
What’s the earliest and most memorable food memory that comes to mind?
My earliest and most memorable food memory is thanksgiving when I was about 6 or 7. My grandma Juanita Brooks (now deceased) was in the kitchen along with my mom and aunts. I remember the electric feeling of joy in that moment.
Everyone was working on their own dish. Everything from french toast for that morning’s breakfast to sweet potato pie and collard greens. One might have thought the kitchen was hectic, but I simply remember the laughs and smiles of beautiful black queens whipping up the southern dishes that I hold close to my heart.
Sunshine & Soul’s a beautiful name for a restaurant! How did you come up with it?
Sunshine & Soul is actually the second name I came up with for the restaurant. At first it was Goodness Gracious, but the USPTO office said it was taken. So, I sat down and really thought about what I wanted people to feel and experience when they walked into the restaurant everyday. Sunflowers and smiles came to mind, while people indulge in delicious soul food. From there, I developed the name.
Do you have a favorite menu item?
My favorite menu item would definitely have to be our dinner rolls! When they are fresh, hot, and buttery out of the oven.. they melt in your mouth.
Where are some of your favorite places to eat in the area?
Phew… It’s hard to choose my favorites! I thoroughly enjoy brunch at Milk & Honey, Dinner at The Smith, and dessert at Elle & Emmas. I can’t wait to try Victory Maryland though!
Who are some chefs you admire and why?
I admire a lot of chefs, but the DMV literally has some of the best chefs in the Nation! Chef Tobias Dorzan is definitely on my list though! His grind, hustle, and creativity is pretty unmatched right now. I can’t forget Angel of Spice Suite though! She doesn’t call herself a chef, but she is my favorite female culinary creative!
Alright Nomsters, we hope you enjoyed our latest feature on Sunshine & Soul. A huge thanks to Chef Alexis for taking the time to answer our questions – head to her website to try food from her upcoming two-day pop up on September 19th and 20th, and let us know what you think post nom sesh.
For more on delish Maryland eats, make sure to click here! We update the Nomtastic Foods blog daily so there’s always something new to browse so make sure you check back soon. Until next time, friends! Wear a mask, and eat all the things.