Next week, Impact Hub San Francisco is hosting an event called Audio Backyard on Oct 26th. The event showcases local BBQ, music, and art. Yearning to learn more about Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement and soul food in San Francisco, I spoke with the owner, Fernay McPherson. Fernay grew up cooking soul food with her family, then eventually went on to perfect her skills at culinary school. She passionately creates her dishes and shares them with the Bay Area.
Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement embodies the essence of the soul through family recipes and the creative touch of a culinary artist. Fernay McPherson is a San Francisco native who strives to bring the memories of her childhood to life with her cuisine.
Fernay, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what experiences inspired you to start Minnie Bell’s?
Fernay: I grew up in San Francisco and I graduated from culinary school in Sacramento in 2008. I went to Kitchen Academy, which is now known as Le Cordon Bleu.
My family inspired me to start cooking. It’s what I grew up around. My mother, grandmother, and great aunt were my greatest influencers. In fact, Minnie Bell is the combination of the names of my grandmother, Lilly Bell, and my great aunt, Minnie.
In your opinion, how does food define culture?
Fernay: It’s a gathering. With gatherings, there’s always food involved. You’ll sit next to people you know and people you don’t know. Food brings people together.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
Fernay: My family is from Texas, so it’s soul food. It’s bbq, it’s gumbo, it’s grits, it’s southern cooking. I do make some dishes lighter to make them more “Californian friendly”, not all of them though.
My cooking is inspired by my family and when I think about cooking at home, it’s all love. Home cooking for the love. It’s straight love, no measurements. My cooking is also inspired and refined by my culinary school education which taught me the techniques and recipe development.
Why is it important to have soul food in San Francisco?
Fernay: It’s sharing cultures and being able to introduce the taste of the south to the west coast.
Do you have a “signature dish” or favorite dish you enjoy cooking?
Fernay: Braised short ribs on grits.
Is there a secret for a successful food business?
Fernay: Research. Research what you want to do and make a plan.
How do you define Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement?
Fernay: For me, it’s my childhood, it’s a gathering with friends and family. Whenever I think of my childhood, I remember eating soul food while listening to soul music. Whenever I listen to Marvin Gaye it reminds me of my childhood. Actually, any song by him reminds of my childhood.
What are the future plans of Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement?
Fernay: We are actively looking for a brick and mortar location. Just a small intimate space.
To learn more about Minnie Bell’s Soul movement, click here: http://minniebellssoul.com/
To attend the Audio Backyard event, RSVP here: http://bit.ly/2dyuG8X
(Interview conducted by Tatiana Reger)