WHO IS ADJOA KITTOE?
I am trailblazer, scholar of life and food activist. I wear many layers of clothing and know how to utilize each piece depending on the circumstance. I work at the intersection of agribusiness, technology and hospitality. I am Adjoa Kittoe, a private chef, urban grower and writer.
A bit on my background
Accessibility, affordability, and empowerment. These values have followed me throughout my early career until the present day. I have been on the search of answering these two questions: how and why?
In my early years of writing, I tackled the issues of African liberation, spirituality, psychology, and how access to food and water affects the psyche and ego. I pulled inspiration from writers like Dr. Amos Wilson and Dr. Marimba Ani which eventually led me to where I am now. I recognized the need to nurture the mind through the belly and decided then to dedicate my life to bettering food systems.
In between writing and cooking, I revisited my childhood skills in tech. I continued to develop my front-end development and digital marketing skills. The next step naturally, was to find a way to intersect psychology, technology, and food.
Shortly, I plan on continuing my education in developmental studies, specifically in sustainable agriculture, and how technology can build sustainable farms, gardens, and other food spaces. The goal is to not only be a food professional in theory but in practice.
Influence and Trajectory
I am an alumna of SUNY College at Old Westbury (Psychology & Crim. Justice, B.A. 14) and The Institute of Culinary Education (Culinary Arts, ’21). I’m currently enrolled at The University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School (MBA, ’24). After undergrad, I spent the early part of my career working at non-profit organizations like STRONG Youth and AHRC. When working at AHRC as a Direct Support Professional, I created a plant-based curriculum, empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to cook healthy meals on their own. There I began to document my recipes, menus, and experiments with food via social media. My digital brainstorming notebook is what led me to gain several followers, fairly quickly, most of them requested recipes and food preparation. Within a year, I started a meal-prep service under the name Seulful Pantry and eventually became a personal chef for a few professional American athletes.
In 2019, I decided to hone my self-taught home cook skills at a culinary school and join a different sector of the culinary industry: restaurants. I learned my way through the industry with the help of organizations such as The James Beard Foundation and several culinary mentors (as seen below) along the way. My culinary influences come from chefs such as Chef Kwame Williams, Chef Aji Akokomi, Pastry Chef Marie Havnø Frank and Chef Shola Olunloyo. I continued to cultivate my culinary business while collaborating with other chefs and food professionals, hosting pop-up events in the DMV area, Livestream cooking demonstrations, and contributing to food blogs & magazines.
I returned to my original concept of Seulful Pantry, of making food accessible, affordable, and attainable, and focused my efforts on farm-to-table education and catering. From 2021 and beyond, I’ve spent my time visiting Urban farms and gardens in the North and Southeast regions of the United States and currently work at Montclair Community Farms and Al-Munir Farms. I participated in The James Beard Foundation (JBF) Chefs Bootcamp for Policy and Change, which focused on Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Recently, I was inducted into a few advocacy and business programming: JBF Legacy Network, Forte Foundation Fellowship, and Vital Voices GROW Fellowship.
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
My 14 year old Black cat, Setkhem.
My collection of indoor plants.
WHAT I DO IN MY FREE TIME
I am a nano-influencer for lifestyle, food & beauty brands.
I develop my technical skills with online classes and certificate courses.
Volunteer my culinary and consulting skills.
Watch psychological-thriller films and series.
MY BUCKET LIST
Visit every state in the United States.
Do a handstand.
Create my own tarot deck.
Start my own pottery line.
Become an Executive Director at a food-ag based non-profit organization.
The Perpetual Notes of AK
Until we set clear, ascertained, and inflexible definitions of who we are, what we do, and how we do, we will continue to be despondent, pliant people.
May 10, 2020
An ongoing task whose directions change at any given moment, but worth the unpredictability.
March 10, 2021
Trillions of emotions, being all felt at once, forced into a recognizable shape that desires to be unrecognizable.
December 31, 2022
Other notes. → Visual notes, by me.
Life updates → Things I’ve been up to.
African Photography Network → Photography.
Organ → Virtual organ.
Nobody Here, Just Me → Art, in words.
Just Math Materials → Math tutorials.
This Person Does Not Exist → Computer-generated faces.
MIT Open Courseware → Full, downloadable free courses.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy → Hopefully, self-explanatory.
Overview → How we change Earth.
Old Fashioned → Cocktail recipes.
An Enneagram 6
Predominantly Energy Level 5
I am what some might call a versatilist.
I write (as seen in this blog), with experience in food writing, recipe development, African politics, culture, and history. I have interests in food politics, anthropology & history, African psychospirituality, and behavior. Culturally, I am an African traditionalist and spiritualist.
I consult individuals and businesses in the wellness, hospitality, and food service industry with e-commerce and digital management. I work with various content management systems and do mostly front-end development, but have experience in UI/UX and no-code tools such as Notion.
I cook mostly what I describe as, Refined New West African cuisine – inspired by, but not bound to traditional Ghanaian and other West African gastronomy. I specialize in alkaline and plant-focused meals, but not restricted to them. Private dining, events & recipe consulting are some of the things that I’ve been doing lately through my business, Seulful Pantry (est. 2016).
MEET MY MENTORS
Meet Chef Rāsheeda Purdie, New York City Stylist turned Chef, planting deep roots in the culinary haven of NYC & beyond.
Rāsheeda completed her studies at The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC in 2005. In 2015, Rāsheeda Purdie completed her culinary degree at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC.
She continued to refine & elevate her cooking techniques under notable chefs & restaurateurs like Chef “JJ” Johnson at The Cecil & Minton’s Playhouse, Melba Wilson of Melba’s Harlem & Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem.
In 2021, Rāsheeda launched Ramen by Ra, where she offered rāmen kits for you to indulge in the comfort of your home.
Chef LaToya Larkin is the proud owner and creative genius behind Black Girl Tamales located in Houston, Texas.
While living in Atlanta, she’s had the opportunity to be a chef at Morehouse College with clients such as Diana Ross, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Robert Townsend & John Legend. She received her MBA from Springfield College, B.S. (Culinary Management) The Art Institute of Atlanta, and A.A.S (Culinary Arts) The Art Institute of Houston.
She is an International Award-Winning Chef, USA Today & Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author, Culinary Educator, and Food Service Restaurant Consultant. Outside of Black Girl Tamales, she owns and operates It’s Thyme 4a Change, a 501 c3 nonprofit.
Adrian Lipscombe began her career in city planning after graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Master’s in Architecture, working with the municipal government in Austin on community impact project planning.
In 2016, Adrian opened Uptowne Café, creating a safe haven and gathering place for the Northside community while exploring the synergy behind her Southern upbringing, Midwest ingredients, and African American culinary history.
Adrian then founded the 40 Acres Project, which seeks to preserve the legacy of Black agriculture and foodways by purchasing Black-owned land.
Adrian is a founding member of the Muloma Heritage Center, and serves on the board of the Edna Lewis Foundation, and the advisory boards for Restaurant and Bar, Foodways Texas, and Austin Travis County Food Policy. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin.