Explore

This Traveling Chef Uses Comfort Food To Connect Cultures

By DeAnna Taylor

Share

Santana Burriss is from Charlotte, North Carolina by way of Atlanta. The New York-based traveling chef has been cooking professionally for five years.

We spoke with him via email about his career and how he brings cultures together through food.

Photo courtesy of Santana

 

Travel Noire: How did you get your start in the culinary industry?

Santana: Back in Atlanta, I left corporate America and started bartending as a way to stay up on food trends, pick chefs’ brains, and to also gain a clientele from people who would come to the bar. Two years into bartending, I found out about this prestigious culinary school called the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Less than a year later, I stopped everything I was doing and moved to New York to attend school. That is what gave me my first push towards a professional culinary career.

Photo courtesy of Santana

TN: How would you describe yourself as a chef?

Santana: From working with different cuisines, cultures, and traveling, I found a way to infuse the comfort food that I grew up on with other cultures’ comfort food. No matter what culture you explore, you find that comfort food is what really connects friends and family.

I present food in an intimate setting while introducing you to new flavors and ingredients from across the earth. When asked to describe the type of food I cook, I respond by saying “contemporary comfort food.”

Photo courtesy of Santana

TN: Tell us about traveling to Mexico to cook?

Santana: Cooking in Mexico was dope. I went with the Black Girls Travel Therapy group and provided food for the ladies throughout the week. The travel therapist, who also served as the organizer of the group, and I got there one day before everyone else to get the vibe of the land. It allowed me to get some inspiration for food and cocktails.

Photo courtesy of Santana

TN: How easy or hard was it for you to gather ingredients in a foreign place?

Santana: Getting to Mexico a day early made it extremely easy to get ingredients. I was able to scout out the local grocery stores and markets to see what was available. I grocery shopped for the majority of the food that day, and throughout the week I was able to take quick trips to pick up other ingredients.

Photo courtesy of Santana

TN: What type of clientele do you typically work with?

Santana: I work mostly with Black professionals, travel groups, entrepreneurs and people who operate in the art space.

Related: Meet The Chefs Cooking For Some Of Our Favorite Celebs Around ATL

TN: Do you have a signature dish or cocktail? If so, what is it?

Santana: A signature dish I have is “Soul Rolls.” In Mexico,  I prepared soul rolls with chicken that was braised in Mexican spices, onions, peppers, avocado, and pepper jack cheese. It was a burst of good flavor and texture. I also do variations of shrimp and grits.

My signature cocktails are punches and sangrias. In Mexico, I got a hold of fresh guava. I made this extremely sexy punch that had tequila, lime, pineapple juice, jalapeño, and guava. It was out of this world!

Photo courtesy of Santana

TN: Where can our readers find you online?

Santana: On Instagram at @SantanaBurriss or my website www.santanaburriss.com.

Share
Travel Noire

DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

One Of Oakland’s Favorite Black-Owned Coffee Shops To Open A New Café In San Francisco

One Of Oakland’s Favorite Black-Owned Coffee Shops To Open A New Café In San Francisco

In 2014, Keba Konte founded Red Bay Coffee Roasters, one of few black-owned coffee shops in the United States. In a world full of pumpkin-spice,  Konte has stuck to his African origins and is managing to stand out in the Bay area with his candied yam lattes. RELATED: 15 Black-Owned Coffee Shops Every Traveler Should […]

Parker Diakite

How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Tampa, Florida

How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Tampa, Florida

Tampa, located along Florida’s Gulf Coast, is a mix of historic architecture and modern landmarks. The city is infused with Cuban and Spanish flavors, gorgeous views, and a vibrant scene of art and entertainment. If you are passing through, here is a great way to spend the day supporting the local black community. Morning Enjoy […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin

How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Bermuda

How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Bermuda

Not too long ago, Bermuda tourism officials announced an ambitious goal of doubling the number of black travelers to the island by 2025. The announcement by tourism officials was publicized after a report revealed that African-American spent nearly $63 billion on tourism in 2018. As Bermuda’s tourism agency works to attract more black visitors, here’s […]

Parker Diakite