Chef Kristi Brown-Wokoma lights up a room when she enters, and she is not a chef to be ignored. An entrepreneur to the bone, Chef Kristi has spent over twenty years cooking, catering, and bringing creative foods to special events.  She’s a fellow alumna of the Seattle Culinary Academy, and she has worked at some noteworthy restaurants in Seattle, including the King Fish Café and her own catering business, That Brown Girl Catering.  After ten years owning her catering business, she ventured into a totally new journey under That Brown Girl Cooks and as the chef of Zinnia Bistro.  I’ve followed her from special pop up restaurants to cooking classes.  Now she’s entering the grocery world with her one-of-a-kind hummus made from black eyed peas. Yep, hummus from black eyed peas. And it totally works.
Chef Kristi is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to help her develop the retail side of That Brown Girl Cooks!  See the banner at the end of my post for the link.

Chef Kristi took some time to answer some outlandish questions for me, and here they are, uncut and in their glory.

How did you get started? What’s your cooking background and what’s the evolution of “That Brown Girl Cooks”?

I’ve cooked professionally  in Seattle for 24 years, although I started my love of cooking as a small child (I found a menu I created when I was five at my grandmother’s house!).

I  started off volunteering with several caterers after I graduated from the Culinary Academy, then went on to work at several catering outfits/restaurants until I settled down and opened That Brown Girl Catering. 

After closing in 2009, I re-opened with a new attitude and a new perspective – That Brown Girl Cooks!

Why hummus – and black eyed peas at that?
I love food from all over the world.  I wanted to try my hand at fusion cooking and mix food that I grew up with, soul food, with an added international flair.  We needed a vegetarian option on the menu, and I thought hummus would fit the bill.

How many test runs did you have to make before you nailed your perfect blend? How much hummus did your dear family eat?

Lordie! I’ve been making hummus so long and it always surprises me when my family still eats it.  To get the recipe perfected didn’t take long, but since I never wrote it down we ended up having several delicious renditions of the hummus! 
Imagine you’re hosting a dinner party, who are the three people you would like to have there (famous, not famous, dead, alive, you name it)?

Hmmmm…that’s a hard one! Honestly, it’d be my Mom, Dad and Grandma, so that could see how far I’ve come and taste it too! 🙂

What are your top 5 ways to enjoy hummus other than as a dip?

  • I think the marinated chicken wings was the funnest way that I’ve had the Black eye Pea hummus,
  • I’ve had it baked into an actual bread loaf….that was definitely the coolest!
  • As a replacement for mayonnaise in a sandwich,
  • On a burrito, instead of beans
  • Spread onto a injera, with fresh veggies and thinly sliced meat….that was my favorite so far, but I’m still creating!! 🙂

pictures courtesy of Kristi Brown-Wokoma