AFRO Exclusive: Chef Huda spices up our kitchen, talks healthy eating, shares tips

3974
Culinary influencer and entrepreneur Chef Huda spoke to the AFRO about her Just Savor Spices collection, healthy eating and shared tips for the everyday cook and aspiring chef. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
mgreen@afro.com

Local entrepreneur, caterer and Food Network record-setting champion Chef Huda has spent years mastering and sharing her culinary expertise, however with the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, she is using her platform to sell specially crafted spices and educate the everyday at-home cook on how to heighten their personal eating experiences and habits.

“My life has been like anyone else’s.  I am a business owner.  Before COVID, I had a thriving catering company doing large events, and COVID came in and said, ‘Hey sit down, restructure and pivot.’ So we’ve been trying to do that and by the grace of God it’s been working,” Chef Huda said in an exclusive  {AFRO} Live interview.

“We relaunched our spice line, Just Savor spices, which is at www.justsavor.com, and that’s been doing really great because everyone’s cooking at home, everyone’s home now, hopefully being safe,” the entrepreneur who offers a selection of more than 20 seasonings explained. 

Although she is a culinary enthusiast and entrepreneur, Chef Huda’s Just Savor Spices is not only a means of making money, but also a way to educate the community.   An ambassador for the American Heart Association (AHA), Just Savor, initially offered unsalted spices for a healthier approach to seasoning food.

Some of the products featured in Chef Huda’s Just Savor spices. (Courtesy Photo)

“This year we extended to having salted, more traditional seasonings, just to give people a variety, but we also still sell our, and they’re the most popular, our salt-free spices.  The way we got there was just using herbs and spices and things like garlic, bell peppers.  I always tell people, with cooking, we always kind of default to salt, and I know everyone has a family member or friend who salts something way before they taste it, it’s like you didn’t even get a chance, you just assumed it needed that… How does that happen,” the chef and AHA ambassador told the AFRO.

Chef Huda said that Just Savor offers her a way to teach others about preparing food and its impact on the body, while also encouraging self-love.

“One of the reasons I did the spice line was to get people thinking about what they’re putting in their bodies, what they’re putting in their dishes, how they use herbs and spices, how they use vegetables, how they use garlic, onions, peppers, all of those things, because all of those things add flavor. So I think it’s really important that people just start paying more attention– a little self-care and self-love in each dish.”

No stranger to the delight associated with fatty foods, Chef Huda said the key to health eating is about moderation, not sacrificing all the delicious dishes and flavors.

“It’s really more about people being conscious about what they’re putting in their bodies.  I always tell people that eating healthy isn’t giving up everything you love.  It’s about moderation and it’s about balance.  So if you know you’re going to go crazy and eat a double cheeseburger, with the extra bacon, and a milkshake and some fries at the beginning of the week, balance it out.  Eat your greens the rest of the week, drink your water, make sure you’re not eating anything super sweet or super salty.  So just balance it, because we all fail at diets, and the reason why we fail at diets is because we just don’t want to do them, and we feel like everything is being taken away,” Chef Huda explained.

The entrepreneur’s educational efforts does not end at healthy eating though, as Chef Huda is also teaching cooking classes as a means to give back during the quarantine, such as with her #KitcheQuarantineParty which happens on Instagram, and as part of the special Spice Holiday Boxes.

“We have our spice holiday boxes, which includes three spices- there’s four different categories of them- and you get a cooking class with that as well, that we’ll be doing virtually, and recipes as well. We’ll have more recipes and more cooking classes coming up later in the year and next year as well, and we’re really excited about that because that should help people,” Chef Huda said. “We hope that the cooking classes, once they launch, will be a resource and also a fun time for people to really explore different spices and dishes.”

Before she wrapped the show, Chef Huda also shared tips, including on how to properly prepare one dish that often becomes a point of contention or celebration at Black family gatherings- potato salad. 

No fruit in the potato salad.  No raisins, don’t make it sweet and weird.  It’s potato salad. Paprika’s necessary,” Chef Huda said passionately.

The chef and business owner also offered some inspiration for aspiring or current entrepreneurs, particularly as they face the plight and financial burdens of the pandemic.

“I think it’s important when you’re an entrepreneur, whether it’s your side hustle or your main hustle, is that you hustle.  You make it a priority, you approach it with a positive attitude and believe in what you’re doing.”