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Inspiring Conversations with Kassandra Roberts of KasaGranda’s American Soul Food

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kassandra Roberts.

Hi Kassandra, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
For as long I can remember, food has always been a bonding moment for my family and me. Whenever there was a special occasion, you could bet my family would be responsible for most of the meals. For my mother, Latanya Johnson, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, poverty-centered every meal with the main question being how far can each meal stretch? Mom had to be creative amongst all her younger siblings to put some fun and excitement into food that could be appealing. In her younger years, she continued to do the same for her own six children with the new idea of how can I make this a pleasure for my own family? For my father Al Johnson who was born in Webster, Florida, he grew his love for food and cooking as young as seven years old living on a farm. In his eyes, grandma cooked the best mac and cheese that he knew had to be shared with the world. From then on, cooking became a fruitful hobby that he endeavored in for the rest of his life. Taking on fast food jobs, Al quickly learned how to make a variety of dishes but also became fascinated with the business side of things. My parents have always had a passion for cooking far before I was born. They’d attended culinary school and worked in and out of various food establishments for many years. Once I was born, they would always have me in the kitchen with them providing a helping hand not knowing that I too would grow up with the same passion for cooking. Growing up with a Northeastern, Southern, and Jamaican influence, my palette was very robust at a young age. I started to come up with new and creative recipes to cook in my easy bake oven until my parents felt I was experienced enough to cook on a real stove. I took various cooking classes and jobs throughout high school that led to my corporate days as a manager into acquiring knowledge, skills, and tools needed for our foundation. I decided to take those same skills I learned and applied them here at Arizona Culinary Institute. Today I am known as Chef Kassandra Roberts one of three owners by the names of Latanya Johnson, Alfonsa Johnson. We are a family-owned business by the name of Kasagranda’s American Soul Food LLC.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’m sure everyone’s heard the saying “nothing worthwhile comes easy” and I mean just that! Some of the struggles in the restaurant industry are standard for example, wondering will people buy my food? Is there better competition? Am I sure I really want to do this? Now, take these examples and think about COVID-19 maximizing those fears.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We specialize in American Soul Food, the reason we include American in our company name is due to us wanting to reach customers nationwide of no specific origin. What sets us apart is our versatility when it comes to putting a meal together. Brand wise we’re most proud of the ability to make our customer’s souls glow just from one bite of food. We want our readers to know that we’re trained and certified chefs and also a family-owned business that runs a tight ship and would love the opportunity to get some delicious food over for you to experience yourselves!

Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
The biggest risk for me personally as Chef Kass was waking up one day and deciding in September 2020 that corporate management was not my passion in this lifetime. But, deciding that my true passion was cooking and spreading love through food. I decided to go to culinary school full time and my parents decided to stand behind me 100% to support my dream and do anything they possibly could to help me succeed.

Contact Info:

  • Email: info@kasagrandasamericansoulfood.com
  • Website: www.kasagrandasamericansoulfood.com
  • Instagram: kasagrandas_
  • Facebook: Kasa Granda
  • Yelp: KasaGranda’s American Soul Food

Image Credits
image credits for all pictures : KasaGranda’s American Soul Food LLC

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