Jun 7, 2009
A Chat with Yoli, the Chef & Owner of Ouiya!
Yoli, the Loc'd beauty featured here is the chef and owner of Vegan/Vegetarian boutique Ouiya (weeeee'yaaaa). Ouiya is a boutique of the best Vegan Cuisine: Cooked & Raw. Yoli caters, and teaches culinary classes in New York City. I had the opportunity to interview the Queen who is all about living a healthy lifestyle inside and out! Read on...
First I just want to say thank you! It is so nice to finally get a chance to interview you; I am quite intrigued by your your beautiful hair and profession.
WA: Approximately what is the current length of your hair, and what style do you predominately style it in for day to day wear?
Y: My hair is various lengths different layers longest is about 16+inches; Shortest around 10in. I usually wear my hair down or up in a bun.
WA: What is your maintenance regime?
Y: Over the years I transitioned my regime. Every so often i get it done professionally as I don't like them to be tightly wound. But as I get older, i am investing more in making sure my hair is moisturized etc. An elder sister friend and my sister both support
me with maintaining my hair. I wash at least once a week. Get it done about once a month.
WA: What products work for you and why?
Y: I am still looking for the "right" shampoo. I now make my own concoction of olive/coconut oil/essential oils.
WA: Who has instilled that great sense of self-esteem and pride that you embody?
Y: The only person who can install a great sense of esteem and pride that i embody is me! i get support from my mate to take care of and invest in my well being. My family and friends support me with encouragement and love. I love the community of folks who surround me.
WA: Have you always worn your hair naturally?
Y: From birth initially yes but when i reach pre-puberty I had the infamous permed hair. Before then, my grandmother always braided my hair. When i got to high school, I stopped perming my hair, and started wearing braids. I wore braids all through college and my senior year graduate, wore twists. About a year or 2 later decided to transition to locs.
WA: Tell us about your career as a chef.
Y: My journey involved learning from, working with, and sometimes being an apprentice to several friend chefs over the years. I currently have a culinary company Ouiya Cuisine. I provide organic, vegan catering, teach food preparation classes, host tastings and food/pastry production.
WA: What inspired you to become Vegan and a chef?
Y: My interest in food was piqued by my exposure to my maternal grandmother, a traditional "Big Mama" with a humble disposition, ingredient simplicity and focus on flavoring. She could take 4 ingredients and combine them in a way that would be incredibly comfortable and tasty to a palette. My exposure to the women in my father's country refined my appreciate for the sauces that accompany comfort foods.
In my early adult life I fell in love with a man and started cooking for him and his associates. The equation went like this: Positive responses from friends + his critiquing personality + my determination to be the best= me becoming a Chef.
WA: What benefits does being a vegan have for your health?
Y: The most noticeable benefits I have seen since choosing a vegan diet are regulation of my female reproductive area, weight loss, improved seasonal allergies, skin improvements, digestion improvement, and decreased illness ie colds.
WA: Where can one find you cooking up your delicious meals?
Y: In my home kitchen, teaching one of my classes, or catering from one of my production kitchens for events and stores. I have considered opening a small restaurant. I'm enjoying what I do now, so I shall see where that leads me.
WA: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Y: I see myself health, happy, with my mate and future children living in alignment with whatever divine path i am destined to be on; Still preparing great food, teaching, and catering internationally.
Thank you; it has been truly an honor!
You can find Yoli, all kinds of culinary information, health tips, and upcoming events in her incredible culinary kitchen by visiting Ouiya on Facebook.