Chef Kristol and How Food and Fashion Make the Perfect Flavor Combo
Chef Kristol Bryant never had a desire to be on television. Just like her love for cooking and fashion, it’s a cause that found her.
“I was young when I first found my love for cooking,” she recalled during an interview with aspireTV. “While other kids were outside playing on Saturdays, I would be in the house watching WHYY, that’s the free network channel in Philadelphia. I would watch all of these cooking shows on Saturday and then I would see my mom cooking in the kitchen.”
For Bryant, having the option to assist her mother while she was in the kitchen made her happy, even if it meant just shaking the bag while she was frying chicken.
“I’ve had a desire to cook ever since I was young, but first I wanted to be a lawyer because I wanted to help people and then I wanted to be a chef so I was going to be Chef Esquire,” Bryant laughed.
From making pasta from scratch to being a sous chef for her mother’s infamous peaches and dumplings, not only did the Philly native realize that she enjoyed the craft, but her mother eventually came around and realized that her daughter could cook.
Despite garnering admiration for cooking as a child, Bryant revealed that she didn’t pursue it as a career until she had begun to experience life as an adult.
“Diamonds are made from pressure, so sometimes tragedy invokes us to go another way. I didn’t really delve into culinary like people think I would. Since I was 19, I cooked because I wanted to support my family. I knew I could make money, but making a career out of it did not happen until 8 or 9 years later.”
As a single mother, Bryant was operating more out of survival than anything else.
“Becoming a chef and making a career out of it didn’t happen until tragedy shook, where I was forced into either falling off in a corner or going and pushing myself even more,” she explained.
What’s more, Bryant combines her love for cooking with her impeccable fashion taste, noting that the two are a match in heaven.
“..it just awkwardly all works together and evokes a feeling when you see someone dressed beautifully and you know they’re coming out to your restaurant to eat and you’re presenting something that goes with that and it’s in season,” said Bryant.
Early on Bryant would cover herself up in clothing to allow her work ethic and the food she cooks to speak for itself. Now, she realizes that the two don’t have to be separate.
“You don’t have to separate the two,” she expressed. “You can be just as fashionable in the kitchen as you are inside the kitchen.”
While Bryant never had a desire to be on television, she is the 2021 champion of the hit cooking competition series, “Chopped,” and the current host of “City Eats” on aspireTV.
“Starting, TV was the furthest thing from my mind,” she shared. “It wasn’t until I started moving up in the culinary industry and understanding what my purpose was and not seeing anyone like me where I was going. I kept being promoted and I kept bringing in my people,” said Bryant. “ I started expanding my horizons and then I began to be noticed among the next generation of women leaders. So now I’m in a wider pool, I won chef of the year and it wasn’t until I started getting into these wider pools and opening my eyes and seeing that there was this whole big world out there.”
She continued: I didn’t see anyone who looked like me on TV and that’s when I started to be like, ‘You know what, I need to be the one that helps get us to where we see young Black men and young Black women on TV that look like us. People that we can relate to. People that we can actually aspire to be. That’s why someone like Chef G. Garvin is so important because I think he was the pioneer for Black men in this space to be on TV.”
Moving forward, Chef Kristol Bryant aims to continue shattering glass ceilings within the culinary industry and is even working on an exclusive line of chef coats to fulfill her entrepreneurial spirit in different avenues.