She Can Cook, Too: Black Female Chefs Find a Sweet Spot in OWN's First-Ever Food Programming

Chef Tregaye Fraser on OWN’s Tregaye’s Way.
Chef Tregaye Fraser on OWN’s Tregaye’s Way.
Screenshot: OWN

If you’re anything like The Root crew, month upon month of quarantine has deepened your relationship with your kitchen—or, perhaps gotten you newly acquainted. Whether it’s perfecting your sourdough starter (we’re looking at you, Managing Editor Genetta Adams), starting an entire Insta-feed for your culinary creations (a la our Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton), or becoming unusually fastidious about your meal planning (that would be yours truly), food has taken on new meaning in a moment we’re desperately in need of not only nourishment but comfort, creativity and a little more control to our chaos.

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Enter Oprah—she of the unabashed love of bread, giant-sized vegetable garden and eponymous network, OWN, which is getting ready to satisfy our appetite for good home cooking with a new slate of food-focused programs.

“Our viewers love spending time in the kitchen and cooking for themselves and their families,” said Tina Perry, president of OWN. “We’re excited to introduce for the first time a programming block of fun-filled cooking shows and look forward to making Saturday afternoons on OWN a new destination for foodies.”

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Per a release provided to The Glow Up:

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today its first-ever food programming block with four all-new original cooking shows premiering on Saturday, November 14 featuring celebrated African American chefs. The programming starts at 12:00 p.m. ET/PT with Lovely Bites starring Chef Connie “Lovely” Jackson, followed by Tregaye’s Way at 12:30 p.m. ET/PT starring Chef Tregaye Fraser, Food Fantasies at 1:00 p.m. ET/PT featuring several celebrity chefs each episode, and Tanya’s Kitchen Table at 1:30 p.m. ET/PT starring Chef Tanya Holland.

Chef Tanya Holland on Tanya’s Table.
Chef Tanya Holland on Tanya’s Table.
Screenshot: OWN

In case you weren’t taking note, that’s a two-hour block of deliciousness—in which three out of four new shows star Black female culinary talent! Why does it matter? Well, while most of our readership and writers are the products of a long lineage of Black women who can throw down in the kitchen, we nevertheless remain woefully underrepresented in the culinary industry.

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“[E]very single kitchen I ever worked in coming up, I never saw a black woman,” Chef Nyesha Arrington told the New York Times in July 2019. Now, Arrington will be part of a co-ed crew of chefs crafting their fantasy meals on OWN’s Food Fantasies—and potentially feeding the fantasies of other young chefs.

OWN provided us a sneak peek of their appetizing new Saturday afternoon lineup—which stars some already-familiar faces from Top Chef, Food Network Star, and more—arriving just in time for a very untraditional Thanksgiving.

The network also provided more details about what to expect from the series:

Lovely Bites (12:00–12:30 p.m. ET/PT)

Chef Connie “Lovely” Jackson is a Chicago native who’s known for festive foods that are both tasty and gorgeous, using edible flowers, gold leaf and other touches of elegance on her signature dishes. A fierce fan favorite from Hell’s Kitchen and Food Network Star, Chef Lovely’s food is approachable, clean and beautiful – and her positive attitude is as inviting as her dishes. Her stand-and-stir show will focus on fun entertaining and celebrating festive occasions. Chef Lovely’s bubbly energy is infectious and delicious food is her way to create long lasting memories. (Lovely Bites is produced for OWN by FishBowl Worldwide Media.)

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Tregaye’s Way (12:30–1:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Chef Tregaye Fraser is a fearless Atlanta chef who’s not afraid to push the boundaries of traditional cuisine, and not afraid to push her kids’ palates. The celebrated winner of Food Network Star is well-versed in cuisine from 24 different countries and is known for taking everyday foods from various regions and pairing them in unexpected ways that her family can enjoy. In this stand-and-stir series, her personal motivation is to help people create meals for their families and getting dinner on the table quickly and easily. (Tregaye’s Way is produced for OWN by FRANK.)

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Food Fantasies (airs at 1:00–1:30 p.m. ET/PT)

Do you ever wonder what mouth-watering dishes our favorite culinary connoisseurs daydream about daily? Food Fantasies shows us exactly what chefs would make when each is presented the same hypothetical culinary fantasy such as: “What’s the one dish you would make if calories didn’t count?” And “what’s the meal you would make for your nine-year-old self?” Join chefs Eddie Jackson, Nyesha Arrington, Jernard Wells, Darnell Ferguson, Danni Rose and more as they create and indulge their fantasy dishes. (Food Fantasies is produced for OWN by Lando Entertainment, part of Levity Live).

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Tanya’s Kitchen Table (airs at 1:30– 2:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Oakland-based chef Tanya Holland is a well-known restaurateur, cookbook author and soul food innovator. In this new stand-and-stir series, Chef Holland will showcase the beauty of “cooking local while thinking global” when audiences are invited to experience a one-of-a-kind course in cooking and some professional tips and tricks along the way. (Tanya’s Kitchen Table is produced for OWN by Triage Entertainment, part of Levity Live).

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Okay, so many of us may not be able to gather around the holiday tables this year—but thanks to OWN we won’t have to miss a good meal with the “family”!

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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