Brown Sugar Kitchen chef-owner and one-time Top Chef contestant Tanya Holland is returning to television this week with her own show on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, Tanya's Kitchen Table.
"I finally have my OWN show on [OWN]," Holland wrote on Instagram. The new show, one of a block of four new cooking shows featuring Black chefs on the network, premieres Saturday, November 14 at 1:30 p.m. PT. Holland describes the show as "a one-of-a-kind course in cooking" and says she "will showcase the beauty of 'cooking local while thinking global'."
As Eater notes, Holland has said in the past that TV producers "never know where to put me," and as a result she has tried to create her own opportunities for media exposure. One of those is her podcast, Tanya's Table, which just premiered in July.
She told Sunset, of the podcast, "The show... gives me a chance to truly be myself in the media because people often want to squeeze me into a box. So often it’s: 'Tanya, give us a Thanksgiving recipe!' Or worse: 'Tanya, we need a recipe for Kwanzaa!' And I’m like, 'Really? I didn’t grow up celebrating Kwanzaa!'"
Holland appeared on Season 15 of Top Chef, which aired from late 2017 to early 2018. After she was eliminated, she told Food & Wine in an interview that one thing that handicapped her in the competition is that she typically gets more time to spend with her proteins at Brown Sugar Kitchen, whether it's brining them or smoking them or whathaveyou, and the show never allowed time for that.
But it was also a fairly contentious elimination, and she suggested that "bro culture" and white privilege was very much alive in the competition.
"In my experience, in this world right now, white guys have an advantage," she said. "In their training, they’ve been given access and tools that I haven’t. White men get behind each other and empower themselves. Duh! Look at our president. But I’m not whining and I’m not a victim… I get up every day and attack the world face on and big smile first, but many can’t handle it."
Holland's new TV show will give her more of a solo platform to do as she pleases, and it should be fun to watch.
Brown Sugar Kitchen, which debuted in West Oakland in 2008, reopened in expanded digs in Oakland's Uptown in early 2019. A short-lived Ferry Building location closed earlier this year, pre-pandemic, after less than a year in business.