As a female entrepreneur, I am encouraged and inspired whenever I hear stories of female entrepreneurs that have overcome numerous obstacles and followed their dreams, no matter what.

While exploring Winston-Salem, North Carolina, I had the pleasure of meeting talented chef, Stephanie Tyson, alongside her partner, Vivián Joiner.
Chef Stephanie and Vivián are owners and operators of Sweet Potatoes (Well, Shut My Mouth!!).  If you are ever in the Winston-Salem area, you HAVE to visit because the food is so divine.  Chef Stephanie’s passion for all-things culinary is extremely captivating.
I had the chance to sit with the chef to learn more about her and Sweet Potatoes (Well, Shut My Mouth!!).

What was your journey like to get where you are? The journey to Sweet Potatoes was a long road of slinging hash—doing a lot of different cooking in different kitchens, some good some not so good but I learned a lot. It taught me the importance of having a dream and sticking to it.

Who Inspires you? I am inspired by cooks like my Grandmother who could make a great meal out of very little.

Pictured:  Chef Stephanie Tyson & Vivian Joine

If you weren’t a chef what would you be? I initially wanted to be a lawyer, then I realized that what I wanted was to PLAY a lawyer. So, I took up acting-drama school and everything! So, I would probably be lawyer with a cooking show…

In three words, describe yourself? Passionate. Funny. Honest

What do you do to stay current with food trends? I like to eat out and travel. I read a lot of the most current restaurant journals and blogs.

What would be your last meal? My last meal would be a foot-long hot dog all the way (in North Carolina that’s mustard, chili, coleslaw and chopped onions) a large order of crispy fries and an ice cold Cheerwine.

Why did you decide to become a chef? I discovered that I was better at cooking than front of the house management. I love the creativity and control.

What is your favorite cuisine to prepare and why? I like cooking a lot of different things. Italian, French, Caribbean but my passion is Southern. There is so much that I have discovered about our heritage. I believe that Southerners can make dirt taste good! There is an art to that ability to making a lot from very little.

Who is your favorite person to cook for? I used to love to cook for my Mom and Grandmother. I was their caregiver and I got to feed them the way they fed me—from the heart. Now I enjoy cooking for my partner, Vivian

Chef Stephanie’s Bio:

Stephanie Tyson is a native of Winston-Salem, NC. Having spent time in New York and abroad she settled in Washington, DC for several years. Stephanie’s career path turned to restaurant management and eventually the culinary arts.

Stephanie Tyson, chef and co-owner of Sweet Potatoes (well shut my mouth!!) – a restaurant is a creative chef who has turned to her southern roots, in her native Winston-Salem NC to bring some staples from the southern pantry back into the forefront. Her culinary training started in her grandmother’s kitchen reaching to far corners of Ireland. She insists that food encounter all the senses in an enjoyable way.

Chef Tyson with a desire to honor heritage opened a second restaurant concept, Miss Ora’s Kitchen in July 2017. The concept features pan-fried chicken using cast iron skillets. Ora Porter, Stephanie’s grandmother was known for years for her cooking and most notedly her Fried Chicken.

Sweet Potatoes (well shut my mouth!!) – a restaurant celebrates 15 years of operations January 16, 2018. Chef Tyson is the author of two cookbooks – Well Shut My Mouth!! and Soul Food Odyssey. Sweet Potatoes is a great addition to the Triad Community, not only providing a great place to enjoy a wonderful meal, but also by giving back to various organizations such as the Amani Foundation, Hope De Jour, Make a Wish Foundation and several others.

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