Shanita McAfee-Bryant, also known as ‘Chef Shanita’ became 2014 awarded winner of the television cooking competition – Cut Throat Kitchen. As viewers watched the show, it became apparent that Chef Shanita had not only a huge passion for cooking but that she had extensive training in her younger years. The love for food started at the young age of 13- it was practically genetic. Her innovative ability to formulate creative recipes and exquisite dishes developed from watching her family master the kitchen; At that age, she witnessed the power of creativity and cooking. Her father brought creativity, and her mother brought the love of historical traditions. Combining the two, Chef Shanita realized that she could still make traditional dishes but could add creativity to them by modernizing these dishes. Her passion for cooking began to ignite a fire in the heart of Chef Shanita, and it soon became apparent of her purpose in life.
At the age of 13, Chef Shanita’s options for cooking were limited. Television did not have many choices of competitive food shows to offer, so Chef Shanita had to feed her interests by other means. Knowing that she could not make her dreams come true by just sitting down, so she began inventing ways she could fuel her passion for food; the library proved to be a valuable resource. In addition to checking out library books, her schooling began to provide paths for additional training. She started taking classes offered at her high school to help prepare her for a Culinary Career
With a clear path ahead of her, Shanita was soon to overcome an obstacle. Chef Shanita becomes a young mother, while still attending high school. Though being a young mother is touch, Chef Shanita realized that it was not the time to lay her dreams to the side. Being a parent ignited her fire for cooking, even more, thus providing her with extra motivation to accomplish her dreams. Chef Shanita enrolled in Culinary school at a local community college. It was there, that Chef Shanita would be granted an opportunity at competitive cooking. Between her mentor, cooking instructor, family, and local influences, Chef Shanita had all the support she needed to push her dreams to the next level. Those individuals believed in her. They saw the potential she had and pushed her in the direction of her dreams.
During her duration of Culinary school, a major opportunity was offered to Chef Shanita. It was requested of her to audition for an elite culinary team who would compete against other teams to earn prestigious awards and accolades. Outside of this amazing opportunity, Chef Shanita began assisting her family restaurant, which provided her the public experience of serving food. Her dedication to both tasks, while raising her children, proved to heighten Chef Shanita’s drive in life. She mastered culinary school and graduated from JCCC Culinary Program and a Chef apprenticeship. This was only the beginning for her.
While focusing on expanding her knowledge in cooking, Chef Shanita was advised to audition to be on the national competitive cooking show- Cut Throat Kitchen. It was all the previous years of knowledge and experience that provided Chef Shanita with the courage to pursue this mission. She gathered all her creativity, passion, and educational development learned from her previous years and delivered exceptionally. In 2014, viewers from all of the United States were able to witness the phenomenal Chef Shanita be awarded as the Winner of Cut Throat Kitchen. Her journey had just started to begin.
I KEEP GOING BACK TO CHEF SHANITA BECAUSE SHE ALWAYS COMES THROUGH. WE USE HER FOR ALL SIGNIFICANT EVENTS, INCLUDING OUR WEDDING. THE GUESTS AT OUR WEDDING WENT ON AND ON ABOUT HOW GOOD THE FOOD WAS. IF I HAD TO SAY ONE THING ABOUT CHEF SHANITA IT WOULD BE THAT WOMAN CAN COOK! AND SHE WORKS WELL WITHIN ANY BUDGET. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HER.
/ MCCLAIN BRYANT- MACKLIN /
After wining Cutthroat Kitchen, Chef Shanita sought out to find innovative ways to further her passion for cooking. She had always believed in the history of her hometown, Kansas City, so the interest to explore cooking there began. After assisting her family at the restaurant, an idea sparked in the creative mind of Chef Shanita. She desired to create a food truck. This food truck, known as Magnolias, was to become a collaborative measure of highlighting the traditional dishes of Kansas City while adding a modern flare. Chef Shanita is currently flourishing and is serving exquisite and creative cuisines all of the world. With a current 20+ years of experience in the kitchen, Chef Shanita is making her mark all over the world, one dish at a time.
Who would have known that a young 13-year-old girl from Kansas City with a passion for cooking would soon become one of the most celebrated Chefs in the city? Chef Shanita is planning to expand her love for food by educating other aspiring chefs in her motivational cooking episodes (soon to appear on Youtube). Outside of developing in the media, Chef Shanita is currently working on a historical cookbook where she will explore and highlight classic and modern Kansas City dishes. Chef Shanita has a bright future and plans to shine everywhere she goes.
KC Business Magazine Rising Star
435 SOuth Magazine Best New Restaurant
Featured Panelist NPR How We eat
HONESTLY, SOME OF THE MOST DELICIOUS – AND MOST FUN – DINNERS WE HAVE HOSTED AT OUR BROOKSIDE HOME (AND WE’VE ORGANIZED MANY A MEAL THERE FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, EMPLOYEES, AND CLIENTS) HAVE INVOLVED THE TALENTS AND ENGAGING PERSONALITY OF SHANITA MCAFEE BRYANT! SHANITA HAS MADE OUR ANNIVERSARIES MEMORABLE AND PLEASED AND IMPRESSED OUR ECLECTIC AND DIVERSE GUESTS. OUR FAVORITE PART OF A SHANITA-DIRECTED MEAL IS WHEN WE FINALLY GET HER TO SIT DOWN WITH US AND SHARE HER RECIPES AND SECRETS OVER A GLASS OF WINE. SHE’S BECOME A GOOD AND VALUED FRIEND INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE KITCHEN.
/ PAT & JULIE O’NEILL /