We had the good fortune of connecting with Chef LaToya Larkin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chef LaToya, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The thought process behind starting my business was to make my dreams a reality and create my own table to have a seat at. We always hear and talk about having a seat at the table. Which is cool if you are at the table with people of genuine interest. However, sometimes we no doubt have a seat at the table but get skipped and passed up to watch everyone else eat. Meaning in the duration of my career I was passed up for so many opportunities because I was not the right color or part of the boy’s club working in a male-dominated industry. Mind you, more than eligible for all positions with years of work experience and multiple degrees and yet passed up. It was then that I realized and became determined to not only have a seat at the table but want stake and ownership in the table. If I don’t work hard to make my dreams a reality, then WHO will? Absolutely no one else has, and that was exemplified time after time over the years.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
So what sets me apart from others is that I have business concepts that all strategically tie into each other allowing me to do EVERYTHING I’m passionate about. Personal chef and meal prepping are done thru Not Enough Thyme Personal Chef Services, It’s Thyme 4a Change nonprofit working with at-risk youth teaching the basics in culinary, Divah Chef Apparel catchy chef gear, and Black Girl Tamales, LLC is my creative fusion concept of gourmet fusion soul food tamales. One thing that sets me apart from this alone is that there are many making tamales, but no one is doing what I’m doing in regards to the flavors. You always find your traditional chicken and pork at your local tamale shop or store, but your only finding Collard Greens and Smoked Turkey, Oxtail, Smothered Chicken, Smothered Pork Chop, Red Beans and Rice, Shrimp/Crawfish Etouffee, Gumbo, and Boudin tamales at Black Girl Tamales ™. I’m proud of two things making the 500 Brainz Global list as a successful Internationally acclaimed Culinary Entrepreneur. Then recently becoming Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller from my book Business Secret Success: Entrepreneurial Thinking That Works (Leaders Press). There are people that write a lifetime and NEVER make it to those prestigious lists. Business-wise I’m where I am from working with some of the most successful and brilliant people in business. They were willing to take me by the hand and show me the ropes. It was definitely not easy being a double minority things are twice as hard and you have to go even harder to prove yourself than others. I overcame many challenges by adjusting my mindset and realizing that the only change that can be made is if I make it. Which led me to have the drive and passion to create my own table and not wait for anyone to invite me and give me a seat at their table.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston is one of the most DIVERSE cities in the country. There are so many different things to do, places to go and enjoy. Friends visiting for the week here’s what the itinerary is looking like. Monday: First stop at the new hottest soul food bistro on the Northside of Houston, TX “The Greasy Spoon” for an upscale twist on classic soul food. Then afterward stop by Daiquiriz With a Twist for the best-frozen drinks to enjoy my favorite HTown Classic the “Fifth Wheel”. We’ll then end the evening in The Woodlands at the River Walk relax to enjoy a walk on the River Walk. Tuesday: Shopping on Harwin, dining in Chinatown for authentic Asian Cuisine. Then swing through the Galleria and happy hour at Belvedere in Uptown. Wednesday: We’re parking the car and riding the Metro Rail from North to South to sightsee along the way and stopping downtown to explore all hidden gems and the Underground Houston Downtown Tunnel. Thursday: Museum District on Thursday to visit all museums for FREE while in the area we have to visit the Turkey Leg because we know no trip to Houston is complete without a trip to the World Famous Turkey Leg Hut. Friday & Saturday: Down 45 south to explore the beauty of Galveston Island and enjoy the Moody Gardens Resort for relaxation of Spa Day and other attractions. Sunday: Head back to Houston for Sunday Brunch at the Toasted Yolk then Sunday Funday on Washington Avenue for drinks and Crawfish at Lincoln Bar and Grill. Then send them back home the following day with wonderful memories and experiences that Houston, TX offers. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The reason I do what I do and move the way I move wouldn’t be possible without Xaviar Whatley. I’m so proud of the young man he’s becoming. The longevity and success in my education career go to Tia Simmons. She saw something in me when the haters tried to bully me and run me off. Alfred Walker, III is a beast in business. Without meeting him I would have not for one seen someone that looks like me with a proven track record of success in business. He gave me an opportunity and chance that I would have NEVER received from any other company. My parents Augusta & Roslyn Wyatt’s unwavering support is an understatement. I would be nowhere without the love and support of these two always and forever in my corner. Lastly, Spring ISD being a product of the school district then to come back years later and teach at my alumni. My campus Spring High School is where I graduated from 1999 and was able to come back years later and impact the lives of the youth in the community 2013-2021.
Bokashi Darnitra Jackson Bri Larkin