Tabitha Brown Wants You To Cook From The Spirit – Essence
U.S. mother Tabitha Brown wrapped up her two-week Cooking from the Spirit: Easy, Delicious, and Joyful Plant-Based Inspirations tour at the Regent Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday night. The theater was filled with a colorful crowd of all ages, and some were even rocking out clothing and accessories from Brown’s first partnership with Target.
Before she graced the stage, the audience was entertained by music like Kirk Franklin’s “Brighter Day” and serenade Robb LaRay’s “Shine Your Light.” After some applause and anticipation, Brown strutted on stage to a gospel favorite, “Come On In The Room” by the Georgia Mass Choir, smiling from ear to ear. Greeted by the evening’s moderator, BeyGood CEO Ivy McGregor, the couple delved into Brown’s rapid growth as an entrepreneur and the purpose of her most recent book.
His first cookbook, Cooking from the Spirit, is already a New York Times bestseller and quickly received praise from, of course, his fans, but also from people who are generally curious about veganism. The book consists of vegan recipes for the whole family and stories of the spirit inspired by Brown’s health journey and love of food, and includes his guided wisdom, genuine wit and encouragement. Its purpose is to help readers feel safe navigating cooking and life. For Brown, cooking from the spirit means allowing grace in the kitchen, as he believes there is no right or wrong way to cook and encourages his readers to let their inner spirit guide them.
As you read the book, you’ll notice that it intentionally doesn’t include measurements within its recipes. “I wanted to give instructions to my readers, but also the ability to make their own decisions and have fun cooking. I wanted to help inspire them to tell their stories about their recipes,” she tells ESSENCE.
She challenges her readers to retrain their thought process on what it means to be vegan, noting that most of them should already have the ingredients in their kitchen cabinets, stressing that veganism is not as taboo as one might think. Brown handpicked some of her childhood favorites and turned them into vegan recipes. Like his mother’s pot roast and meatloaf. “For us, food is memories, right? Food is always connected to something,” he says. Brown recalled that as a child she woke up to the smell of the pot roast her mother used to make, so she put a vegan version of the recipe inside her book. “I missed his prescription. So when I found out I could make a pot roast using jackfruit, I had to include it. It’s a great memory.”
The viral sensation also highlights traditional foods within his book, such as pizza, cheeseburgers, and careless joes, as he knows that the majority of his audience is not vegan. “We can eat anything that non-vegans eat,” he says. Its supporters are receptive to its approach of spoon-feeding veganism to those who are not normally plant-based. “I’m not vegan. However, she changed my perception of veganism because of the way she prepared her food and made it fun,” said Sharika Grimes, a fan in the audience.
Brown hasn’t always been vegan. In 2016, she suffered from chronic migraines and undiagnosed pain, eventually leading to anxiety and depression. “I didn’t go vegan because I didn’t like how non-vegan food tasted, so I had to make sure my food tasted just as good,” Brown admitted. It wasn’t until he saw the Netflix documentary, What the Health, which looks at the intersection of diet and disease in America, that he decided to give a vegan lifestyle a try. Thirty days later, the headaches, fatigue, and pain disappeared. That’s when he committed to his vegan lifestyle and embarked on a mission to spread the gospel to others. Her cookbook emphasizes the importance of prioritizing health by leveraging a plant-based diet. “A lot of times, we tend to be reactive rather than proactive. I encourage my readers to be proactive with their life and health. Veganism changed and saved my life. It made me healthy and rich, thanks to Jesus! After being sick for so long. It’s the only thing that cured me.”
It’s essential to Brown that his fans and new audiences understand that they can still have their favorite foods even with a plant-based recipe. But taste still matters. A pro tip from Brown: Take advantage of seasonings, especially garlic powder, your favorite. Another wise tip from her is to never give up in the kitchen or in life. “I learned to trust myself in the kitchen. Never give up. Even if I didn’t know how to do it the first time, it was consistent,” he says.
Not only is he constantly making his mark within the kitchen and motivating others to do the same, but he is also expanding his career path. Although his first restaurant, Kale My Name, in Los Angeles, closed permanently earlier this year, he is hopeful for new beginnings. “Unfortunately, we had to shut it down [Kale My Name] because the building had a lot of problems and we couldn’t agree with our owner. It’s still heartbreaking, but it may have something new coming soon,” he revealed.
The second season of his YouTube Originals series, Tab Time, produced by Kids at Play and Scale Productions, returned on October 14, but has other businesses in the making. Brown hinted that his upcoming partnership with Target would be related to food and entertainment. He also gave ESSENCE several exclusive updates – he’s writing a couple of books in the lifestyle and wellness space and has been approached several times to develop a talk show. Donna’s Recipe, its hair care line, will also launch new dessert-themed products online this winter.
What continues to guide Brown through her professional endeavors is the light within her. To close out his latest book tour event, McGregor asked the set crew to dim the house lights in the theater and asked the audience to turn on their cellphone flashlights and direct the phones at Brown. McGregor said, “Every light represents the life of a person you changed.”
Order Brown’s New York Times best-selling cookbook, Cooking from the Spirit: Easy, Delicious, and Joyful Plant-Based Inspirations.