Brown Sugar Kitchen

Oakland is in the midst of a cultural revolution, largely thanks to residents who passionately love and support their communities. One such resident is Brown Sugar Kitchen owner and chef, Tanya Holland. Throughout her new cookbook, Brown Sugar Kitchen, inspired by the dishes she serves at her soul-food restaurant in an industrial and artistic west Oakland neighborhood, there’s a sense of what a community can achieve—from the pages dedicated to longtime customers sharing their experiences in the restaurant and the city to the dishes pulled from Holland’s culinary experiences. The recipes range from soul standards—fried okra, sweet potato pie, and shrimp and chicken gumbo—to hybrid dishes, such as the Italian-inspired okra peperonata, and herbed mushroom spoonbread, a cross between cornbread and a soufflé that manages to be indulgent and light in every bite. Don’t skip the apple bundt cake with brown sugar glaze, a dense but moist apple-and-walnut cake that works for breakfast as well as dessert. One bite and you’ll understand why West Oakland gathers around Holland’s table.