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Tanya Holland      

Chef & Owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen

Tanya Holland is Chef Owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland. She is also the author of New Soul Cooking: Updating a Cuisine Rich in Flavor and Tradition (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, October 2003). For 4 years she was seen on the Food Network’s “Melting Pot” series in the Soul Kitchen. Additionally, Tanya has made guest appearances on The Today Show, Sarah Moulton’s Cooking Live, Ready, Set, Cook!, The Wayne Brady Show, and The Jane Pauley Show.

Tanya holds a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Virginia as well as a Grande Diplôme from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Burgundy, France. In addition, she has taken numerous classes at New York University and Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (Renamed The Institute of Culinary Education).

Tanya began her restaurant career in New York City as an assistant manager at Cornelia Street Café, Café Rakel and Nosmo King restaurants. She went on to work as a catering office manager, a tasting assistant for a wine importer, and a server at Mesa Grill before she committed to a career in the kitchen. Tanya returned to Mesa Grill in 1994 to work as a line cook. While working as a line cook at Verbena, she supplemented her income as a food styling assistant to Roscoe Betsill of Metropolitan Home, Vegetarian Times and Food and Wine magazines. Tanya believes that the color palate and flavor palate of a dish is equally important.

As a chef, Tanya has traveled in pursuit of more experience and knowledge. In France, she trained with Michel Sarran at Le Mas Du Langoustier on the Island of Porquerolles and with Jean-Michel Bouvier at Restaurant L’Essential in Chambery. She spent two summers cooking on Martha’s Vineyard Island at The Oyster Bar and L’Etoile, interrupted by a winter at Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston. She received rave reviews as the Executive Chef of The Delux Café in Boston and The Victory Kitchen in Brooklyn. Last year, she returned to the front of the house and garnered stellar reviews in her starring role as Creative Director at Le Théâtre in Berkeley, CA.

Tanya  has contributed to Food and Wine and Signature Bride magazines. She has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal, Savoy magazine, and numerous local publications. In 1998 she taught at the Cambridge Culinary Institute in Massachusetts and continues to share her knowledge at recreational cooking schools across the country such as Cooking by the Book, Ramekins, Draegers, Central Market, Whole Foods, and Andronico’s Market.

Tanya has been on the Board of Directors of Meals on Wheels of San Francisco since 2003.

She is a member of the prestigious Chef’s Council for The Center For Culinary Development in San Francisco.


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