By Deana Korsunsky
What is food? It fuels us, drives us, and brings us together. Tanya’s Table host Tanya Holland is no stranger to this magic of cooking and feeding; the author, public speaker, executive chef and owner of Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen has over twenty years experience under her belt—her apron, that is!
Holland’s cooking specialty and passion is soul food, influenced both by traditional southern cuisine and her French training at La Varenne École De Cuisine. Holland has built her skills over the years, traveling from New York City, to France, to Massachusetts, and to her current homebase of California. She has trained under numerous experts such as Bobby Flay, served as president of the prestigious Les Dames d’Escoffier San Francisco chapter, and even received the honor of having the date June 5th be named “Tanya Holland Day” in Oakland, CA in recognition of her work for the community. You may also recognize Holland from season 15 on Bravo’s Top Chef, or from Food Network’s Melting Pot.
While Holland has pioneered numerous projects—including the release of her latest cookbook, Brown Sugar Kitchen: Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland—the release of her podcast Tanya’s Table brings her seasoned skills and insight on the food-related topics directly to listeners’ ears. Each forty-five minute episode welcomes listeners to learn about food, but also about the nature of human life itself. Listen as Holland discusses travel, social awareness, self-help, work/life balance, challenges and triumphs, and more.
Holland also brings on a variety of guests, including musical artist Questlove, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, comedian and actress Aisha Tyler, and many more. Each episode delves into each guest’s personal take on food, design, or style. Many guests have direct connections to the food industry, whether it be cooking experience, food activism, restaurant founding, or merely being culinary enthusiasts. Others, however, are directors, authors, and even former world series champions! The common denominator? Every guest has a penchant for creative expression and storytelling. Listen as Tanya Holland speaks to these individuals, entertaining and educating listeners with delightful conversation.
Tanya’s Table offers perspectives on food and culture that no doubt rarely cross listeners’ minds, shedding light on the political, artistic, and social implications of food. Can food be gendered? How can it be therapeutic? How has the industry changed with the rise of a pandemic? With the insight of her numerous guests, Tanya Holland answers all of these questions. So, pull up a chair, and join us at Tanya’s Table, where there’s always great food and great conversation!