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Chef Rene Johnson is a One Woman Healthy Soul Food Revolution

press release

Chef Rene Johnson’s healthier, vegan spin on famous soul food staples has seduced some of the world’s biggest dignitaries, and it all started in her grandmother’s kitchen.

From Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to author and activist Dr. Cornel West, actor Danny Glover, Congresswoman Barbera Lee and California Governor Gavin Newsom; Chef Rene Johnson’s signature healthy southern-inspired comfort foods have fed guests at countless exclusive soirees from Washington to Hollywood.  


Describing her acumen for whipping up addictive soul food dishes for satisfied A-list crowds, Chef Rene Johnson shares, “My grandmother was amazing in the kitchen, and she always cooked everything fresh and from scratch. Her peach cobbler had fresh peaches right off our trees. Her blackberry jams and desserts were made from scratch from her own blackberry bush, and us kids would pick them for her until our fingers turned purple.  Everything was done with such care and love.”

Food was always the heartbeat of her grandmother’s home, but, adds Rene, “She didn’t cook to health. Everyone in my family was overweight but me.”

On a mission to make southern soul food favorites more heart healthy, Rene took her grandmother’s recipes, removing much of the harmful fats, and she began whipping up healthy versions of old-style soul food favorites in her spare time, leading to her 20 year reign as the most in demand soul food chef for A-list soirees. “I taught myself to

make my grandmother’s red beans and rice without the pork shank, and you would never know that my collard greens don’t have pork or turkey.”  She doesn’t negate meat altogether, but chooses to use it sparingly.  “Unless I am specifically making a piece of protein, I recreate vegan and vegetarian versions of all the classic soul favorites, maintaining their style, flavor and essence,” shares Rene.

Some of Chef Rene’s most recent catered events have included exclusive private black tie gatherings for top executives at Google and YouTube, among others.


A Few of Chef Rene Johnson’s Signature Dishes:

Sweet potato waffles with fried chicken, shrimp and grits bar with red sauce, wine sauce or “cream” sauce (vegan), blackberry and peach cobblers, old fashioned grits, hot water corn bread, vegan butter beans, blackberry jam cupcakes with blackberry jam and blackberry cream cheese frosting

Carrying on her grandmother Katherine’s fresh food traditions with her own 10, yes 10, grandchildren, whom she calls her “royal tasters” as they help her during cooking demos; Chef Rene Johnson is involving her family in creating fresh food fare while teaching them the importance of enjoying comfort favorites while instilling healthy food habits in a younger generation.