Sophia Roe, the head of healthy eating for all

Sophia Roe, in her studio in Brooklyn, July 14, 2022.

Few chefs have known hunger. Yet this is the case of Sophia Roe, raised in social care homes in Florida, who draws her energy from this childish anger: “I didn’t understand why some of my friends had a full fridge when I sometimes had to settle for just one meal a day in the school canteen. » Working today in a fabulous studio in a former industrial area in Brooklyn, halfway between the kitchen and the artist’s studio, the 32-year-old New Yorker, who dropped out of her studies in a cooking school to devote herself to her activity as a private chef, is far from fueling the frenzy foodie.

“Food is not insignificant, it is simply a need”, she says. Originally known for recipes designed at her home and shared on her Instagram account to more than 445,000 followers, the charismatic African-American, also host of the documentary series counterspace, on Vice TV, constantly wonders behind the scenes of the food industry. What is the ecological impact of what we eat? Where do the chocolate bars devoured in three minutes come from that require years of work and liters of sweat before landing in a supermarket? Why those who work in the cocoa plantations will probably never taste the tablet in question? And why are Mexican farmers risking their lives so that others can continue to order a avocado toast ?

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If she travels around the world to try to answer these questions, the committed chef also continues her fight at the local level. Obsessed with the terrible statistic that 60 million American children go to bed hungry, she works to fight against the ignorance and injustice she observes in New York and the rest of the United States. An involvement that earned her two Emmy nominations – to date, she is the only black woman named in the Outstanding Culinary Host category. (“ Outstanding Food Journalist ”) – and to receive this year a James Beard Award, the prize given to the greatest talents of the American restaurant industry.

She was one of ten chefs at the helm of the Vegan Dinner at the 2021 Met Gala, for which she embarked on a reinterpretation of… Salade Niçoise. But Sophia Roe’s goal is not to convert to any diet. Denouncing the racist foundations of our lifestyles and our food fads, she thinks that imposing veganism – which she sees as a model thought by and for the white man – would amount to eradicating traditional dishes symbolic of many cultures. It also points out false good ideas, “Like sending fresh vegetables to the poorest when they haven’t learned to cook for decades and the system doesn’t give them the time! “. For Sophia Roe, cooking is an act of love, of oneself and of others. But also a political gesture. “Everything is political”she said without mincing words.

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