Toya specializes in putting a unique twist on New Orleans style dishes and cooks with a Southern flare. As a native New Orleanian, she started honing her culinary skills at a young age and used her talent to kick start a successful career. As a culinary authority on Cajun and Creole cuisine, she enjoys bringing creativity to the kitchen and teaching people how to take a piece of New Orleans back home with them.
Toya is the Chief Culinary & Culture Officer for Village Meals, whose mission is to make healthy culture based meals for all. In her role she is also an ambassador for Louisiana, where she works with organizations to elevate and strengthen diversity within the hospitality, tourism, and culinary industry.
Toya has had the privilege of teaching visitors from around the world about Louisiana style cooking. She started sharing culinary tips on her YouTube Channel, Cooking with Chef Toya, where she invites you into her home to cook alongside her. On the national stage, Toya has been featured on CBS, the Today Show, Guy’s Grocery Games, TLC, and Food Network showcasing her city, not just through her cuisine, but with her zest for life and personality.She was crowned Best Home Cook by Hallmark’s Home & Family and shared her love for the South through a variety New Orleans dishes. She has been a champion for the Gulf Coast region of Louisiana, promoting the seafood industry and has partnered with the several organizations to empower families on cost effective and healthily eating.
Toya launched her first cookbook in 2017 dubbed Cook Like A New Orleanian, a collection of twenty classic New Orleans dishes that has inspired her culinary career. She also has the first interactive cookbook from a New Orleans chef that will feature videos, enhanced images, and other media to help the reader recreate New Orleans classics in the comfort of their home. Her second book entitled Cooking For The Culture: Recipes & Stories from the Streets of New Orleans to the Table is an award winning body of work that blends Toya’s personal upbringing in New Orleans through her culinary journey. More than just your average cookbook, readers will come to understand the heart and soul of a city through her life’s work.
Outside Of The Kitchen
She was also named one of Louisiana’s Best Chef in 2018 and 2019 by the American Culinary Federation of New Orleans. Outside the kitchen, you can find her recording her podcast, The 5 Senses, a show about how to navigate through life using the same five senses that you would use in the kitchen: touch, sight, smell, sound, and taste. When she’s not whipping up creative culinary masterpieces, you can find her giving back to the community, working with programs that teach new families meal preparations and cooking techniques. She continues to make waves on the culinary scene using her outgoing personality on television and in-person appearances to promote New Orleans cuisine.
Toya has also partnered with Reconstruction, a non-profit that works to create world class extracurricular courses for black youth to build a cooking series. Her course Cooking For The Soul, encourages students to embrace food as an expression of their culture. In the class, they create meals that incorporate ingredients from traditional southern Black American soul food – black-eyed peas and rice, collard greens, cornbread, gumbo, and smothered chicken. The courses also teaches them the history of each dish and the impact that it has on a variety of communities.