Current Residency: Oakland, CA
Occupation: Chef/Owner/Author. Brown Sugar Kitchen
Known for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Chef Tanya Holland is the Executive Chef and Owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, CA. She is also the author of the Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking; and served as the host and soul food expert on television series Melting Pot. Tanya holds a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Language and literature from the University of Virginia, as well as a Grande Diplôme from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Burgundy, France. While there she also worked under Chefs Michel Sarran and Jean-Michel Bouvier. Tanya began her restaurant career in New York City as an assistant manager at Cornelia Street Café, Café Rakel and Nosmo King Restaurants. She expanded her knowledge of the restaurant business by working as a Catering Office Manager, wine importer's Tasting Assistant and server at Mesa Grill, before launching her career in the kitchen, and later returned there to work as a line cook under Chef Bobby Flay. After years of building-up her expertise in France and on the East Coast, Tanya was intrigued by the burgeoning West Coast food movement, and moved to Berkeley to serve as Creative Director at Le Théâtre, a small local bistro. She left there to open her now famed soul food eatery, Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, CA, which recently earned a Michelen Bib Gourmand. She is currently expanding to new locations in Uptown Oakland and the Ferry Building. A member of the prestigious Les Dames d'Escoffier, Chef Tanya continues to the share her love of modern Southern fare by bringing home her passion for soul food and the amazing experiences shared through the act of enjoying a meal with family and friends.