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  • Arielle Dominique

Episode 11: Chef Syrena Johnson of New Orleans, LA on Being Female in the Restaurant World, Cooking

Wow! I really enjoyed speaking with Chef Syrena Johnson for this episode. She's down-to-earth and open about her love for cooking as well as the real stresses of being HCIC (head chef in charge)! At the end of the episode, we also discussed the John Besh debacle, which as you may know, he was instrumental in the start and journey of her career. Chef Syrena did not hesitate to give her thoughts on the sexual harassment allegations involving Besh's company and the claim made against him personally.

Chef Syrena, however, appears focused on taking care of her staff and continuing to help them become better everyday while making a living as cooks. Her name has made national news on several platforms given her amazing story of survival and MAJOR comeback after Hurricane Katrina. Visit her website to learn more about her and her amazing work in and out of the kitchen, especially how she gives back to local students in the community and those who work under her leadership. Read more below about her accomplishments! Her site is

Chef Syrena Johnson

2011’s First John Besh Chefsmove! Scholarship recipient, 2012’s French Culinary Institute graduate and Dean’s list recipient, 2014’s Mad grant recipient, she was flown to Copenhagen for a week for a intimate visit to Noma and to experience the Mad seminar only 15 people won from all around the world she was the only American in attendance! Syrena has a long list of mentors from Leah Chase to Zella Palmer, Linda Green, and Howard Conyers. Syrena was also featured in the 2015’s Katrina 10 years after the storm an ABC special with Robin Roberts. She has had the pleasure of cooking with Chef Besh in London and visiting Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, upon her return from Culinary school she was brought back to Liberty’s Kitchen, as a Chef Instructor to give back to those kids who reminded her so much of herself, to teach them the skills that she learned to help them go far in their lives. Throughout this journey she has been in several publications such as WWOZ, Fox8, The Melissa Harris- Perry show, Roadtrip Nation, Q93, Food and Wine Magazine, Louisiana Cooking ect. Her future goals are to cater to the elite as well as the underprivileged, Chef to the stars, TV, and motivational speaking with youth driven program involvement and creation. New Ideas and concepts are in the works including apparel and web concepts stay tuned to see where Chef Syrena Johnson LLC. goes next!

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