A new, mouthwatering series is coming to Hulu next month, giving foodies and avid travelers something new to watch. Searching For Soul Food is a new food and travel series that follows celebrity chef and restaurateur Alisa Reynolds as she discovers what soul food looks like around the world. In addition to exploring the food, she’ll dive into the stories, the people, and the traditions of each place she visits. Not to be missed, Chef Reynolds is also bringing her own flavor along with her.

The show, which debuts on Hulu on June 2, will take viewers on an international food and culture journey. During her travels, Chef Reynolds explores the culinary worlds of Mississippi, Oklahoma, Appalachia, South Africa, Italy, Jamaica, Peru, and Los Angeles.

Searching For Soul Food is one of the newest projects under the Onyx Collective. The content brand primarily consists of projects from creators of color and other underrepresented groups. The series is directed by Rodney Lucas and executive produced by Melina Matsoukas, Jacob Cohen-Holmes, and Ali Brown. 

Travel Noire spoke with Chef Reynolds to discuss Searching For Soul Food and her experience while filming the series.

Chef Alisa Reynolds explores soul food around the world
Photo Credit: Disney’s Onyx Collective/ABC Signature

On The Inspiration For Searching For Soul Food

Travel Noire: What was the inspiration for Searching for Soul Food?

Chef Reynolds: Searching For Soul Food was birthed from the trials and tribulations of almost losing my restaurant in Los Angeles, My Two Cents. At that point in my life, I wanted to get away and embark on a journey that would remove me from my crazy life at the time. However, every day I had the pleasure of cooking my own version of food from my community. [I] watched how it made people of all colors and backgrounds feel. 

With that, I began to wonder if there were other places in the world that had a similar survival story. I wanted to be able to use my craft to inspire the world through the eyes of one of, if not, the first Black American woman to go around the world as it relates to food and our story through a non-conventional travel and food series.

TN: What can foodies and travel enthusiasts expect when watching the show?

CR: I want foodies and travel enthusiasts to be inspired to think more deeply about the meals they enjoy while traveling. I want people to be inspired to go to places that most travelers may not always visit. Or, revisit the destinations that they’ve been to and start looking at food through a different lens. 

For example, Jamaica is literally stories on a plate. Stories of survival, trials, and tribulations. It can change your perspective when you visit these countries and go on their local food tours. 

Connecting Globally Through Food

TN: What are some of the most exciting dishes you discovered during filming? 

CR: I have four that stand out to me the most. Each dish carries an in-depth historic purpose. To understand the ‘why’ and the history of those dishes – you’ll have to tune into the series on June 2nd! 

  • Chakalaka (South African spicy tomato bean relish) 
  • Samosas (Cape Malay minced meat pastry)
  • Chicha Morada  (A Peruvian beverage) – Chicha Morada is a type of purple corn drink that is good for one’s health and carries various medicinal qualities.
  • Fry/Fried Bread (Oklahoma) – Not your typical hot water cornbread; [as a] matter of fact, there is no corn involved!

TN: What destinations surprised you the most with their take on soul food? 

CR: Most definitely Oklahoma! I was surprised to learn that Native Americans have their own take on soul food or food dedicated to their native culture. I was also surprised by how close Black American soul food is to Native American soul food.

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