Oprah Winfrey Network is Getting Busy in the Kitchen

Tanya Holland as seen on Tanya's Kitchen Table, Season 1. Photo provided by OWN
Tanya Holland as seen on Tanya's Kitchen Table, Season 1. Photo provided by OWN /

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is featuring African American chefs in a new programming block every Saturday afternoon.

If you’re going to be late to the party, at least be sure to bring something good to eat when you arrive. Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is doing just that. With the popularity of cooking shows continuing to grow, OWN has jumped into the game and, in doing so, is placing a well-deserved spotlight on some outstanding black chefs. Some of the names & faces may look familiar, while others may initially be strangers to viewers, but in the end we’re treated to quality food television. And when isn’t more food TV a good thing?

While OWN has enjoyed success in the past with the long-running Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, which ran for nine seasons, this new menu marks the first time the network is devoting an entire block to showcasing African American chefs. In doing so, the network has assembled talent with a wide array of personalities and approaches to cooking. In other words, there’s something for everyone.

I asked four of the chefs how it feels to be part of the first-ever African American block of cooking shows.


“This is such a gift! And it has been my dream for years to have my own show as well as to be affiliated with Oprah Winfrey and her network in any capacity. I’m honored, and I love the opportunity to teach and share my knowledge of food and my joy of hospitality.”


“I am honored to be part of this phenomenal line up of talented chefs and to bring diversity, both culturally and culinarily, to the TV screen.”


“I am so excited! It was one thing to be the first African American woman to win Food Network Star, but being a part of the first-ever African American cooking show block on OWN is surreal.”


“I’m honored, humbled, and thankful to be a part of this historic opportunity. In this industry, being an African American chef, I experienced growing up in a society that tends to push us to the back of the line. We are not often given a chance to share our love and gifts with the world wholeheartedly, so as a young man from Mississippi, I welcome this opportunity.

It gives me great optimism to see all of the amazing culinarians that have worked so hard on their craft and that are out here creating great cuisine through food entertainment on major platforms being offered a seat at the table. This proves that the work was no in vain, but preparing for this time when the door opens for young individuals such as myself to walk through.”

As host of Tanya’s Kitchen Table, Chef Holland brings an approach to her show that I find very appealing, as her quiet confidence shines through while keeping our eyes on the prize, the food.

Owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, California, Holland, is a French-trained chef who is no stranger to television viewers. She competed on Top Chef: Colorado and was recently featured in the HBO Max show Selena + Chef hosted by Selena Gomez.

Chef Lovely Jackson has also worked under the bright lights of television, having competed on both Hell’s Kitchen and Food Network Star. Those served her well, as she’s a natural on Lovely Bites, where she prepares food that has me wishing someone had invented taste-o-vision by now. From french toast to street corn, Lovely shares recipes that are both relatable and enticing.

Tregaye’s Way can best be described as 30 minutes of passion and joy. Chef Fraser has a larger-than-life personality that jumps off the screen as she brings us into her Atlanta kitchen and environs. With Thanksgiving barely in our rear-view mirror, I can’t help but be enthralled with Tregaye’s cornbread stuffin’ cups, which are topped with cranberry sauce and gravy. Is it November again yet? Or does it even have to be?

Chef Jernard Wells joins a revolving cast of outstanding chefs on OWN’s Food Fantasies, a concept that feels appealingly similar to Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate. With each episode focusing on a specific theme, such as Fried Hall of Fame, Magnificent Mash-Ups, and If Calories Don’t Count, an impressive roster of chefs feature one of their own thematic creations.

Chef Wells is joined on Food Fantasies by Nyesha Arrington, former NFL player and Food Network Star winner Eddie Jackson, Kiano Moju, Cooking Channel veteran G. Garvin, Kelli Ferrell, Darnell ‘SuperChef’ Ferguson, Jocelyn Delk Adams, Amaris Jones, and Danni Rose, each bringing a wide array of food sensibilities to the show.

Speaking of food sensibilities, I asked Chefs Holland, Jackson, Fraser, and Wells what informs their approach to food and cooking.


“It’s all based on my experience in life. My parents are from the south. Their mothers handled most of the cooking, and the food and recipes are part of my heritage. I also refer to my formal French training and my broad exposure to other cultures through the food my parents prepared for their gourmet cooking club and through my travels and studies. Now, living in California influences a lot of my cooking because I’m so close to the source of many of my ingredients and there’s an increased mindfulness for sustainability. I want to share this all with the rest of the country.”


“My mother is my biggest inspiration. She taught me how to use humble ingredients and turn them into masterpieces. I also listen and learn from the families in the communities I serve, creating recipes that fit their needs regarding budget, nutrition, and ease. Lastly, I love to celebrate. For me, that includes food and drinks. In order to enjoy my friends and family, I’ve come up with easy and elegant meals that impress with no stress.”


“For me, it starts at home. My children are picky eaters, my hardest critics, and they have advanced palates. They keep me on my toes! I specialize in food fusion; I have a great time creating dishes for them! Most of all, I love to take everyday recipes you know and love and put a spin on them.”


“What informs my approach to food and cooking is a fusion of my heritage, places I’ve traveled, nostalgic cookbooks, and present society eating styles and habits. I like to consider myself a southern modified chef with an All-American flare. I pride myself on recreating cuisines that we all love but curated for today’s healthy fast-paced lifestyles without sacrificing taste and quality.”

With there being no shortage of food television shows available to viewers, adding new ones to the menu might appear to be a daunting task. From where I sit though, OWN nailed it. As much as I love consuming food content, I have to make a connection with a show in order to return to it for subsequent episodes. Each of the offerings in the network’s new African American block have that allure and are welcome additions.

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Which food TV shows are your favorite? Are you excited about these Oprah Winfrey Network programs?