DM: Could you tell us a little about who’s behind Kallabash ?
My name is DeVoria Simmons. I was born and raised in Detroit Michigan and went to Oakland Community College and before receiving my culinary degree. I reside in Brooklyn, New York and my goals are to open a small culinary school for young women and men, as means to train them to be confident, successful culinary experts, and entrepreneurs who can control their future.
Anjue Craig is the other partner – she was born in Guayana, and has worked in the restaurant industry for over 10 years. She is currently a kitchen manager at Madison Square Garden. She was a mentee and graduate of Career Academy, and has helped me develop Kallabash into a reality.
DM: Where did the name Kallabash come from?
A Calabash is a gourd that grows on a tree. As a fruit / vegetable it has many uses, and can be dried, used as a bowl to eat from, an instrument, or as a food item. Similar to the calabash, Kallabash Cuisine has many faces. We serve Caribbean Cuisine influenced by South American, Trinidadian, Guyanese, and Latin cuisines – with a twist. In this way, we represent the Brooklyn diaspora.
DM: You’ve mentioned how Kallabash is also a mentorship program. Could you explain how that began?
I had been teaching for about 7 years at Star Career Academy of New York in Chelsea, and there was a need for a place where students could get hands on people oriented skills that boosted self confidence, so Kallabash was created out of the desire to provide a venue for mentorship.
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