Food Swingz owner Ta-Tanisha “Ta-Ta” Snead is an innovative chef, writer and serial entrepreneur. Reared in a large family, she often found herself in their kitchen where a passion for food was born.
It took the Louisiana transplant more than eight years to hone her culinary skills at the south’s top culinary school. A graduate of Louisiana Culinary Institute, chef Ta-Ta showcases her culinary skills at pop-up tastings, meal preps and various events.
Working alongside well-known chefs John Folse and Dickie Brennon has allowed chef Ta-Ta to reach a wide audience. From classic to modern, she creates dishes that match her unique style and personality. When chef Ta-Ta is not in the kitchen, she’s curating recipes, culinary products and giving back to the community through her VOW charity efforts.
How she’s spreading her message and impacting the world …
The cookbook that I am writing is called Food Swingz. [It’s about] rethinking your comfort foods. I decided to write this type of cookbook because of a dream I had. That’s how quite a bit of my ideas come — through my dreams. The meals I create are all based on moods, so what better way to counter different moods than with different foods. Coming from a complex family that has plenty of emotional issues, starting with myself, I set out to create recipes that ultimately released good endorphins, which in return make you happy. So, this book not only has recipes that uplift you in your everyday life; it also gives you the science behind why.
Food Swingz is the name of my catering company. It only made sense to title my book after it, being as though it fits the exact description of what I’m going for.
In reading this book, I hope readers will gain a sense of self through whatever emotion they may be tackling that day. Try each recipe and note how it changes/alters their mood. Also understand why so that they will start rethinking their comfort foods. This is the new approach to fighting depression, anxiety, worry, etc. … all through what you eat. “You are what you eat” will be the subtitle for the next [book]. Ultimately, I want to create an experience that literally changes lives from inside out by the foods you eat. Both physically and mentally.
I started writing this book in September. I gave myself five months as a completion goal, so that it may be released on March 7, 2017, my grandmother’s birthday. It’s a dedication of a sort to the angriest/sweetest person I knew. So far, so good.
It took me a while to figure out what I was called to do. I’ve tried some of everything. However, nothing quite compares to cooking and writing. Writing was my first love. It’s what I did before I could cook and cooking is the one thing I can do through any mood, whether I’m happy, sad, angry… I cook. Combining the two put me in a position of pursuing dreams and making them realities.
What sets you apart?
I’m not like many other chefs. I have a creativity about me that’s unlike any other Chef I’ve yet to encounter. It drives my career and surpasses my deepest dreams. It fuels the passion that awakens those dreams. For some reason, people don’t expect chefs to look like me. Their perception is that pretty girls can’t cook. But I stand here as proof as one of the rare ones who can cook and slay at the same damn time.
What skill sets are needed to thrive in this industry?
I believe the most important skill needed in this male-dominated career is confidence and the ability to make food taste good.
What are some success traits that you utilize?
When it comes to success, the traits that are really conducive to success are mostly mental. Knowing that failure does exist and refusing to accept it as your own fate. Knocking down the walls of fear and believing that whatever you’re passionate about is your calling and fear is the only way you won’t succeed.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I stay at the leading edge of my craft by always studying something new, challenging myself to do something different, and embarking on something that scares me.
What are some common misconceptions in your industry?
The most misconceptions I get about what I do is pretty girls can’t cook. I always counter that by challenging them to taste my food, and get back to me after the first bite.
How do you map out your goals?
Ways I map out my goals are by writing them down. Nothing makes something more real then seeing it on paper and checking them off as you accomplish each one. My goals and successes are measured by this, the satisfied clients, and compliments I receive when people eat my food.
How do you measure success?
I generally use my own mistakes and successes as examples to measure the bar of success. And what I need to do to cross that bar by miles.
Why is continuing education important?
Continuing education is very important because things are always changing. Staying on top of your craft is what keeps you ahead. If you’re lax with it, then you’d better know, you aren’t the best.
What affirmations keep you motivated?
Affirmations I repeat to myself constantly: “Failure is not an option” and “I am a part of history.”
How do you use technology?
Technology is extremely important. For one, social media is one of the fastest growing platforms out right now. It plays a big role in many people’s success. It gives instant access to what a person is doing. It has also played a big role in my career … quite a bit of my clients come from social media.
How did you land on this career path?
Food Swingz was created out of me being an emotional wrecking ball. Once I started channeling my emotions into food, I ended up creating my own lane. It became my therapy that would not only help me, but others like me.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If I could change anything about me it would be two things. The fact that I haven’t traveled abroad yet for culinary culture and the last few ounces of fear I have in me about success.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
If I could change anything about the world (this is my truth), it would be the way people of color are perceived and treated because of the perception.
What does it take to be iconic?
I think it takes the absence of fear to be iconic. Oprah is a great example of that.