I can teach you how to cut lemons for the bar or make purée for a dish. But the bigger question is, How can that translate to your everyday success? If I can teach you how to cut lemons uniformly as a garnish or for what we call speed lemons — ones you squeeze on food to give it a splash of acid — then I can start to create a process where your attention to detail becomes a little bit more acute.

We wouldn’t have tribal patterns from Africa laced in our curtains if we didn’t want to pay homage to a place that’s informed our very existence in this country, alongside informing the food and the intentionality in the food that we cook.

I understand why our culture fights hard to have agency as it relates to soul food. However, our fight is a little broader. We fight hard to have agency over Southern food because it completes the puzzle. There were settlers from all around the world landing in the South, bringing their techniques and ingredients and spice mixes with them. And so for us, it’s not enough to just talk about the food prepared with the scraps or parts not as sought after in the house. What happens to the chops, the loins, the hams, and everything else that wasn’t readily available to Black people? Like most things, when you give them to someone else to prepare, they start to take on a new complexity. And I am most certain that happened as a result of Black people being the cooks in those kitchens.

Southern food, like most food, changes based on regionality. It’s really intriguing to us how gumbo is thinner in New Orleans and, as it moves north, gets thicker.

I believe in the concept of the golden rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated. That’s my North Star.

The recipe for survival is the same now as it was a hundred years ago: one day at a time. One day at a time doesn’t remove or extinguish your ambitions, but it does give you an opportunity to be present in the moment. Slow it all down, stop trying to think about what you’re going to do 12 months from now. That’s a burden I don’t want.

When I’m cutting in the kitchen, I have a practice where I eat the bad cuts. It’s usually with vegetables. And I don’t want to eat a ton of raw vegetables, so it subconsciously makes me focus a lot more. Call it a way of punishing myself. The goal is to have less and less scrap.

I don’t believe in bossing people. I always want to be on the team. I always want to be in a position where I can learn and grow, and I don’t need to be the guy who’s above sweeping the floor.

My life at work is my life across the board. I don’t form huge separations. I need my kitchen clean at home, I need my kitchen clean at work. Both give me great anxiety when they’re in chaos.

Until I exit, there isn’t gonna be a day when I can’t find an opportunity to be involved in whatever community I’m a part of. You put me in a hole, man, I’m gonna figure out how to work with the worms.