Hi, I’m Bre’Anna. An avid chocolate lover and flavor enthusiast. My passion for foods of all kinds stems from the nostalgia of my childhood. I was drawn to the kitchen. You know the story, I’m sure...
As a kid watching cartoons, I was constantly bothered by scents and aromas around dinnertime. My nose twitched and my mind would run wild to figure out what I was smelling. Some were strange, others familiar but still all unknown to me. In a jolt of curiosity I learned what sensory alone couldn't teach me. Over the years, I gathered all I could from watching the purveyors of this mystery. The people saw in the kitchen moving and doing things in such a way that eventually resulted in food inspired me.
First it was my great-grandmother. I clung to her hip as she stirred pots of grits and cut vegetables. I saw her using a knife (my favorite and most priced tool) in order to slice through the rough exterior of a sweet potato or dice an onion. Oh onions, I remember one of the first times I watched the liquid from an onion run off the knife onto the cutting board. I was in awe, and confusingly in tears though I felt no sorrow. Then my mom. She cooked quickly and efficiently in order to feed me and be able to get her school work done after work. Lots of those meals were box mixes and frozen food which were all good to me at the time.
As I got older I realized there was cooking and food happening all around me. Sunday meant store-bought lemon cake, there were holiday cookies and birthday cakes at school with icing that was too sweet. After school hours were spent watching Food Network and using dial-up internet to find recipes of all kinds. I remember my grandpa's famous greens on special occasions that seemed to cook until they were gray. I still have a love-hate appreciation for my grandma’s crunchy peanut butter and apple jelly sandwiches that I reluctantly ate because I was a picky eater. Grape jelly, please?
And my uncle Raymond, he had the biggest impact on me. He was an artist turned chef. I remember seeing his art unsure of a way to fathom how it was created. I often carelessly played with his art supplies when he wasn’t around trying to recreate what he had done. I knew he was talented even though I was too young to fully understand the caliber. His eye for food and artistic things was so amazing. The herbs and spices he used were different from what I had seen before and the care taken to mold raw ingredients into a meal was always appreciated.
I carry these memories with me today, as I hone my flavor identity through delicious sweets. It took me years of wandering through different mediums to find something that called me. My first job was a sport editor at the Detroit Free Press, Then I became a certificated natural hair stylist. And somewhere in there I edited books, did food blogging and photography, drove across the country, and worked in retail. Exploring a plant-based lifestyle over the last decade helped me to find new ways to be creative with food. I dabbled in writing cookbooks. I’m sure there are a few probably floating around on the internet, ha!
I’m quite the “food nerd.” I will scour the internet and go to the library to find out how people across the world would grow, cut and cook a fruit. Researching how different cultures treat and interact with food excites me because it holds so much history, a few cooking lessons and nostalgia for someone. I live for food nostalgia. I eventually worked in the food industry, working and managing the kitchen at Chili Mustard Onions and production cooking spots, Folk Detroit, and even working with Nezaa Bandele of Paradise Natural Foods. Those experiences helped me to push forward with more confidence into creating Blck Cocoa Bakes as I learned so much about the food business. That in addition to my food passion has landed me here.
Today, I incorporate my love for writing, photography and food history into Blck Cocoa Bakes. It is a space where I expounds on my creative outlets as well as giving the community something special, made with love and intention.