There are only a handful of local chefs who have been so successful that their names are synonymous with the Bay Area. When you hear a name like Alice Waters, for example, you immediately think of her as a Bay Area chef and queen of California cuisine. Or Martin Yan and Cecilia Chang, the ancestors of Chinese-American cuisine in San Francisco.
But in this pantheon of famous Bay Area chefs, there’s also Tanya Holland, who brought local and national recognition to West Oakland as a foodie destination with Brown Sugar Kitchen in 2008. When the soul food restaurant opened, Holland was serving up to 1,800 customers a week. . Most people wanted to experience his take on chicken and waffles, where the waffles were made with cornmeal and the chicken was fried in a batter seasoned with tarragon.