A pioneer of the new soul/southern cuisine movement, Tanya Holland is chef/owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, California. She is the author of New Soul Cooking: Updating a Cuisine Rich in Flavor and Tradition (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2003) and The Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2014). Holland holds a Bachelor of Arts in Russian language and literature from the University of Virginia and a Grand Diplôme from La Varenne École de Cuisine in Burgundy, France.
In her early career, Holland received rave reviews as the executive chef of the Delux Café in Boston and The Victory Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York. She was on the opening staff of Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. It was here that her desire to elevate soul food – the same way that Flay was redefining Southwestern cuisine – was born.
In 2001 Holland headed for warmer California climates, where she garnered stellar reviews in her starring role as creative director at Le Théâtre in Berkeley, California. This led to the opening of the now-famed soul food eatery Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, California (2008).
Holland is an established food writer. She has contributed to The Huffington Post, Food & Wine, Signature Bride and Wine Enthusiast magazines and has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal, Savoy, Travel & Leisure, Sunset, and O magazine. She currently sits on the chef’s council for the Center for Culinary Development in San Francisco. In 2010, Holland was inducted as a member of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the prestigious Les Dames d’Escoffier.