By Tamika Rector
I can’t believe the football season flew by the way it did. It seems like just yesterday teams went to training camp in the sweltering heat, and we were looking forward to the start of the regular season. We also wanted to see which of the rookie’s from this draft class would have a tremendous break out season. Fast forward from the NFL kick off weekend, Wild Card weekend, the divisional round, conference round, and that brings us to Superbowl LII. This year the it’s the team with no superbowl trophies and the team with the QB that they love to hate, Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots.
I’m pretty sure you’re getting ready to head to the store to buy that nice big brand new tv or to the grocery store to buy food and drinks for the party. You’re ready to be the hostess with the mostest, right? Every poppin’ superbowl party has great food. Whether you have chips and dip, little cucumber sandwiches with the crust cut off (word to Sanaa Lathan in Brown Sugar), or your famous wings, you are sure to have your guests palettes satisfied before the big game. Maybe you haven’t even thought about what you’re going to have and you need a little help with suggestions? Allow me to introduce you to my friend Andre Baker, founder/owner of Treat Yourself Cuisine.
I got a chance to sit down and interview Andre over some great food he prepared for the big game!
For those that don’t know you, tell me a little about yourself.
My name is André Baker, I am 30 years of age and am the founder/owner of Treat Yourself Cuisine, Catering. I am a huge foodie. I love how food makes people feel and the ambiance around a good meal. Cooking for me is extremely therapeutic. I grew up in a large but close-knit family, as to be expected, most of our gatherings centered around good food! My grandmother, mother, and sister really influenced my cooking techniques - as they throw down! I'm a homebody and a laid-back spirit, cooking and good food comes with the territory. I love to laugh and spend time with those who share the same desire. Laughter and food, for me, goes hand in hand. Why not break bread with the ones you care about the most?
When did you become interested in the culinary field?
As long as I can remember, I've always been interested in the art of culinary (see what I did there)... I would have to say my passion for cooking/culinary came about with my mom. I was indeed the quintessential "momma's boy", and my mother could cook very well. She and my Granny were the upper echelon of great cooks in the family. I would sit in the kitchen as my mother prepared meals, in a daze at how she quickly whipped up her masterpieces and always thought to myself; "the key to a successful life is being able to cook like Mom!" LOL! I was thirteen when my mother passed away - a part of my coping mechanism was to put all of my emotions into cooking, especially considering the fact that cooking was the closest thing I could do to manifest my mother's presence. So, with that, I developed my passion for cooking and honed into my skills later in high-school, when I had the life altering experience in a Culinary Arts class. The class taught me so much of what Culinary Arts is really about and my instructor - Chef Bonham, made cooking so personable, and exciting that my interest peaked!
What or who inspired you to start your own catering company?
My sister and my best friend since elementary school really inspired me to start my catering company (my sister is the co-founder). They both believed in my skills and love my cooking! It was almost a way to pay homage to my mother.
How did you come up with the name?
This is an interesting story. Growing up, I used to work multiple jobs. At one point during my senior year, in preparation of going off to college (Tuskegee University - Heeeeyy Tuskegeee!), I worked three jobs. In the midst of working so many jobs, I got in the habit of repeating a cliche as an excuse for my excessive spending habits; "just treat yourself!". I would always say to myself (and my friends): "you work hard, just treat yourself". Once I decided that I wanted to start a catering company, the name just came naturally; "Treat Yourself". "Treat Yourself" to some good eats, you've earned it!
What’s your favorite dish to make?
I don't have one particular dish that I favorite the most. However, I do enjoy watching other people enjoy my cooking and some of my more popular dishes are: macaroni and cheese, turkey meatballs and brown butter shrimp, all of which are favorites. To that extent, I enjoy preparing those dishes the most, as I LOVE watching the emotions on people’s faces as they enjoy their meal. Overall, I am a soul man, I LOVE soul-food, and all that it represents. That is my favorite genre of food to prepare.
If people want to reach out to you for your services, how can they do so?
Please feel free to e-mail all inquires to: TYSCuisine@gmail.com
Check out the video that we shot maybe it’ll give you an idea of what you may want to prepare for your guests. I’d like to thank my sister, Salanj, for filming our sit down interview.