Grab your passports; we’re about to embark on an extraordinary culinary journey like no other! Onyx Collective and Hulu are teaming up to bring you the highly anticipated new series, “Searching for Soul Food,” airing from June 2, 2023. Join rock star celebrity chef Alisa Reynolds as she takes us on a tantalizing exploration of soul food around the world.
In this captivating series, Chef Reynolds will not only tantalize our taste buds but also delve into the captivating stories, people, and traditions behind each soulful dish she encounters. From the heart of Mississippi to the vibrant streets of Los Angeles, and from the soulful kitchens of Italy to the spice-infused tables of Jamaica, Reynolds will leave no stone unturned in her quest to discover the essence of soul food on a global scale.
“Soul food,” often associated with the culinary delights born out of scarcity and resourcefulness during the time of enslaved Black Americans, takes on a new meaning in Reynolds’ journey. She dispels common perceptions and stereotypes, highlighting how soul food is a love letter and language not only to our Black culture and ancestors but to the world. Through her international travels, Reynolds finds striking commonalities in beloved soul food dishes, as seen during her eye-opening experience in Oklahoma. There, she met and shared meals with Native Americans, deepening her connection to her Black heritage through their traditional food.
The episode featuring Reynolds’ enlightening time in Oklahoma stands out as her personal favorite, as she revealed during the exclusive Searching for Soul Food tastemaker dinner held at the elegant Casita Hollywood in Los Angeles on June 1. “That episode taught me so much about my Black self. The connection between indigenous and Black people of this country blew me away,” she passionately expressed.
While curating delicious recipes from around the globe, Reynolds feels a profound duty to educate others about the beauty and history of our culture’s cuisine. She believes being a Black American entails touching the world in ways we may not even realize. Soul food, with its roots in creativity and ingenuity, demonstrates how something born out of scraps can become a powerful expression of love and nourishment. Reynolds hopes that this show will offer a fresh perspective and foster a deeper understanding of soul food within our own community.
Reynolds shares, “I feel like my life and this show are stories of perseverance and unwavering commitment. If you believe in something, you must be willing to sacrifice everything and go without. My journey aims to inspire the world because it embodies the journey of my ancestors.” At the tastemaker dinner, esteemed guests, including influential figures like Lionel Boyce from FX’s “The Bear,” Syd Tha Kyd from the musical group “The Internet,” and Yung Taco from Hulu’s “Dave,” had the unique opportunity to experience globally reimagined soul food through an indulgent eight-course meal. Each dish reflected the unforgettable flavors and meals Reynolds encountered during her international expedition.
Expressing her gratitude, Reynolds acknowledges the leadership team at Onyx Collective, particularly Tara Duncan, President at Onyx Collective, who is also a 2023 ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood awardee. “It’s been five years of belief, perseverance, and love surrounding me. I want to thank Onyx Collective. They believed in us,” Reynolds conveyed, reflecting on her challenging journey to secure a television show with a reputable network. Duncan shares her excitement and appreciation, wholeheartedly believing in the show’s potential. “Searching for Soul Food was one of the first projects pitched to us at Onyx. I personally enjoy Chef Reynolds’ restaurant, My 2 Cents. Partnering with a filmmaker, chef, and producer whom we knew and loved was an amazing idea. We wanted to explore something we felt connected to, and it just made sense,” Duncan explained. She added, “The show highlights how the Black American story is everyone’s story, and we can see that through food. We’re all connected in that way, but we rarely get to see the story told from that lens.”
Jihan Robinson, Vice President of Nonfiction at Onyx Collective, added her perspective, emphasizing that the heart is at the core of the show. “It’s about the heart and what connects us on every level, beyond being Black women. It explores what drives communities and cultures to find their identity in places where they may feel outside the mainstream or disconnected from their cultural traditions. It’s about the heart connecting people and demonstrating that connectivity exists in every culture, including Black folks,” Robinson shared.
Prepare yourself for an extraordinary adventure with Chef Alisa Reynolds as she uncovers the captivating world of soul food. Don’t miss out on this mouthwatering experience; catch all the series episodes streaming exclusively on Hulu. Get ready to satisfy your cravings and expand your culinary horizons as soul food takes center stage in this remarkable journey across borders and cultures.