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Check Out Catina Smith’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Catina Smith.

Hi Catina, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I am a chef in Baltimore. I’ve been cooking for 16 years. I went to culinary school straight out of high school. Growing up, I would watch Food Network and wouldn’t see “Me” on the screen. The representation just wasn’t there. I started hosting events and building a name for myself. I created a monthly meetup for chefs so we could network, vent, hang out and fellowship. I shifted my focus to just Black women chefs and created my organization. Just call me chef. An organization about sisterhood and highlighting Black Women Chefs. I met Chef Kiah along the way. Chef Kiah came into food on the farming side of things. She has been successfully operating her food truck Wilde Thyme. We were big fans of one another and showed up to support and help one another with events. During those chef meetups, it was the same song that everyone was looking for decent affordable kitchen space. When the pandemic hit, Kiah came to me with the idea to start ours on share kitchen. Thus Our Time Kitchen was born. This will be a shared kitchen for minority women and marginalized genders. We will have an hourly model so that we do not eat into these small businesses profit margins. We hope to Open by January/February 2022.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The process has been bumpy, mostly in regards to getting funding. Finding a bank that was willing to back this startup concept. It took us over a year to secure the renovation loan. We Just received it last week.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a chef. I am a private chef, instructor, and community leader. I love hosting intimate dinners at my home. Intimate dinners are my specialty. I am most proud of creating Just Call Me Chef. We are celebrating our 3rd year! The organization is nationwide and has over 75 members. What sets me apart is I think my hustle and desire to help others. I have three children and I am able to manage motherhood, my work, organization, new project, and community organizing. I am also super proud that Kiah and I own a building and are going to be able to help so many women in business.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
We used to live in Florida because my dad was in the Navy and I remember when he took us to Kennedy space center and we saw a spaceship launch. It was so magical to me as a kid.

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Image Credits

Daniel McGarrity

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