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Chef Deborah VanTrece on Being a Black Lesbian Creating New Soul Food

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, The Twisted Soul Cookbook: Modern Soul Food with Global Flavors, came out in 2021 and garnered great reviews. And the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival declared her Chef of the Year.“The release of my first cookbook was huge, both personally and professionally,” VanTrece says. “Everything that went into it has paid off because it has been a tremendous success.”That success was anything but foreordained. “When I first started out, I had three strikes against me.

I am Black, I am female, and I am a lesbian,” VanTrece recalls. “When I opened the first iteration of Twisted Soul in Decatur, Ga., I encountered a lot of racism and there was a definitive ‘You don’t belong here’ vibe.

Those three strikes were hard to overcome.”The Twisted Soul Cookbook is a culmination of VanTrece’s life and culinary career. “It began with my memories from when I was a child watching my mother and grandmother cooking in the kitchen or my father sipping moonshine over a BBQ pit in Kansas City.

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