Master's of Cuisine, Wining & Dining

Chef’s Special – Mama Reacer

Mama Reacer surrounded by her cooks: (Top- L to R) Veronia Hines, Christopher Carter and Johnnie Simms with Today’s Special: Beef Pot Roast w/ Jasmine Rice, Home Style Turnip Greens, and Sweet Homemade Corn Bread. Photo © Chester Simpson

Mama Reacer’s Soul Food Café
1606 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria – Del Ray

“Good Cook’n Makes you Good Look’n”

About the Chef: Mama’s parents moved to Alexandria for a better job when she was 7 yrs old. All of her traditional family recipes have been handed down from her mother, grandmother and her sisters. Besides offering catering at the restaurant, Mama also cooks for social events at her church, Harvest Assembly Baptist in Alexandria, helping Pastor Abram and his wife. Says Mama, “I have nine children and I had no idea that they would name a restaurant after me.”

When did you first become interested in cooking? Why did you decide to pursue a culinary career?
At the age of 11 yrs old I learned how to cook lima beans on a wood stove from my Grandma  Reacer and her four sisters in South Carolina. We didn’t have electricity. At 14, I was cooking at home and for church socials. I have a passion for cooking ‘cause I love food.

Who have been the biggest inspirations for your career?
An American celebrity chef and cooking show television host, Paula Deen. She’s a southern cook who I really admire, who cooks fried green tomatoes and her cooking reminds me of myself. Also, my grandmother and her sisters really inspired me. My grandmother cooked for a lot of families and my sisters cooked for the sheriff, which was a big deal in South Carolina.

What dish on your menu are you most curious to see how it’s received?
Fried Chicken, buttered pound cake and peach pies. We will do everything to satisfy your taste buds to experience some down home cooking.

What do you do to insure the quality of the food going out to customers?
I purchase all fresh veggies grown locally. I taste it and make sure it looks good before I serve it. Our food is made fresh, not pre packaged or frozen and made straight from the heart.

If any chef in the world could prepare you a meal, who would it, be?
Chef Ina Garten who is an American author, Emmy Award winning host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa, and former White House nuclear policy analyst. I like to watch her all the time and she can cook me fried chicken anytime.

What’s your guilty food pleasure?
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate ………..!

Mama in the kitchen cooking her Special: Southern Pork Stew and Home Style Turnip Greens. Photo © Chester Simpson
Mama in the kitchen cooking her Special: Southern Pork Stew and Home Style Turnip Greens. Photo © Chester Simpson

Written by: Chester Simpson

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