It is not an overstatement to say that Chef Tasha Reece will change the way many of us eat and think about southern cuisine. She explores what it means to fuse traditional Southern cuisine and California fresh ingredients, and transform them into something magical – California Fresh Southern Fare. Reece may not be a household name yet, but her work will turn much of what you thought you knew about food upside down.
We had the chance to speak with Chef Tasha Reece about her latest venture Railroads Underground Supper Club and more.
Are you from California?
I was born in Mount Bayou Mississippi. When I was only 3 months of age my family like many others moved west to Southern California.
What inspired you to become a chef?
Being in the kitchen was more exciting to me than playing in the street with all my neighborhood friends. I’ve been watching my mom cook, asking questions and pulling a chair to the stove for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t wait for the day a meal was left completely up to me, especially a holiday meal.
Tell us about your education related to culinary arts. How did graduating from the St Joseph’s Center enhance your abilities as a chef and restaurant owner?
Like many cooks, we start our culinary journey at home. I’ve had the pleasure of owning a catering and Event Company in recent years and learned a great deal from the chef. I moved on from that company but not the passion for cooking, so I decided to look into culinary training programs. A friend of mine told me about an affordable way to get the education I needed at the St Joseph’s Center in Venice, California. Under the direction of Executive Chef D Brandon Walker (a beast) I learned the classical French technique and the economics of running a restaurant and my life and food were elevated to an entirely different level.
Tell us about Railroads Underground.
Railroads Underground Supper Club is the way I have chosen to share the food and history of my family with people. The cuisine is called “California Fresh Southern Fare.” It is a fusion of many of the dishes passed down to me from generation past combined with the multicultural influences I have grown to know and love in California. We plan to take the typical southern food dining experience which is usually very casual and heavy and make it more cultural and health conscious with California fresh ingredients fresh while never losing its roots. This with great live music a decor rich with history and amazing people make Railroads Underground a one of a kind experience.
Originally my idea was to do pop-up restaurants to build clientele and to get people to fall in love with my concept before opening a restaurant of my own. As the planning began and my concept started to come to life I realized that it was too big for just a pop-up here and there. People began to respond at parties and tastings to the food and concept with love. It was then I decided with my business partner to put this train on the track and go full speed ahead.
There are a lot of restaurants in Los Angeles. Why should a prospective diner choose yours and what should they expect in terms of the menu and
The goal of Railroads Underground is to elevate the existing dining and social experience of our members and guest to place deeply rooted with love, inspiration, and creativity. We want guests to know that there is a place at the table just for you and we’re so glad you are finally here.
My menu is completely inspired by my family and upbringing. We are from the Mississippi Delta of the early 1900’s to the early 1970’s. Juke joints on a Saturday night and cotton gins all week-long are a part of my history. Being raised in California, I have been exposed to many cultures and found comfort in the cuisines. This is the way I have chosen to blend the two regions.
How often will you be throwing events?
We are so proud to launch Railroads Underground Supper Club this fall in Beverly Hills, CA at what better venue than the House of Music and Entertainment Supper Club. We look forward to a monthly live music brunch and lounge. Our calendar for pop-up events is filling up quickly. Members’ only events are exclusive so I can’t say when or where but I welcome to join the experience.
How does a prospective diner find out about your events?
One last question, where do you see yourself and Railroads Underground in five years? Ten?
My vision for Railroads Underground is to first and foremost leave a legacy for my family. I look forward to taking the Railroads Underground experience across the country over the next 2 years then settling down and opening the doors of the first Railroads Underground Restaurant and Supper Club.