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Celebrating Black History Month: A Spotlight on Young Black Culinary Talent Sophia “SJ” Thomas

Celebrating Black History Month: A Spotlight on Young Black Culinary Talent Sophia “SJ” Thomas
Photo Courtesy: Raquel Riley Thomas

By: Farrah Johnson

In honor of Black History Month, the community takes pride in spotlighting some of the brightest and most inspiring talents. Among these luminaries stands Sophia “SJ” Thomas, a young chef whose culinary prowess has garnered attention nationwide. With innovative flavors and a unique approach to cooking, SJ captivates palates and hearts alike, solidifying her status as a rising star in the culinary world. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to sharing her cultural heritage through food inspire budding chefs and food enthusiasts everywhere.

At just 14 years old, Sophia, also known as Teen Chef SJ, has captured the hearts and taste buds of many with her culinary creations and passion for cooking. As one embarks on a month dedicated to celebrating the achievements and contributions of black individuals, it’s essential to uplift and celebrate the remarkable journey of this talented young chef who is redefining what it means to excel in the culinary world. Learn more about the girl behind the apron.

Q1: When did you start cooking, and what inspired you to become a teen chef?

Sophia “SJ” Thomas: I started cooking when I was three years old. My mother used to let me help her in the kitchen, and I fell in love with cooking ever since. I wanted to show other kids that cooking can be fun and easy, especially during tough times like COVID-19.

Q2: Tell us about SJ Savory Kitchen and SJ Cookware. What motivated you to start these ventures?

Sophia “SJ” Thomas: SJ Savory Kitchen is all about sharing delicious recipes and cooking tips with families. I wanted to make cooking accessible to everyone, so I started sharing my recipes online. And with SJ Cookware, I wanted to make sure families stay safe in the kitchen. It’s important to me that everyone has the right tools to cook safely.

Q3: How do you balance running a business, giving back to the community, and being a regular teenager?

Sophia “SJ” Thomas: It’s definitely a juggling act, but I have a lot of support from my family and friends. They help me stay organized and focused. Plus, I love what I do, so it doesn’t really feel like work!

Q4: Your efforts in giving back to the community are commendable. What drives you to be so involved in charity work?

Sophia “SJ” Thomas: My parents are military Veterans, so giving back to the community is something that’s always been important to me. I want to use my platform to help others and make a positive impact in any way I can.

Q5: You’ve received recognition and awards for your achievements. How does it feel to be recognized for your hard work?

Sophia “SJ” Thomas: It’s honestly surreal. I never expected any of this when I first started cooking. It’s amazing to see my work being appreciated and to know that I’m making a difference.

Celebrating Black History Month: A Spotlight on Young Black Culinary Talent Sophia “SJ” Thomas

Photo Courtesy: L. Devlin Photography

Q6: Can you share a memorable moment from your media appearances or interviews?

Sophia “SJ” Thomas: One of my favorite moments was when I was on Teen HiLife’s cover. It was such an honor to be the first person of color featured on their cover. It was a really special moment for me and my family. Especially now that is Black History Month. 

Q7: What does Black History Month mean to you?

Sophia “SJ” Thomas: At one point, I didn’t even know there were a lot of black chefs. So as a young black chef, it’s an opportunity for me to showcase the black talent within the culinary world and to inspire others teens to pursue their passions. 

Q8: Besides cooking, what are some of your hobbies and interests outside of the kitchen?

Sophia “SJ” Thomas: I love spending time with my family, watching scary movies, and playing with my pets – Logan the British Shorthair and Marley the English Creme Golden Retriever.

Celebrating Black History Month: A Spotlight on Young Black Culinary Talent Sophia “SJ” Thomas

Family First: Sophia “SJ” Thomas with her Father, Mother and Sister. Photo Courtesy: L. Devlin Photography

Follow Sophia “SJ” Thomas on her journey on her new Instagram @sophiajthomasofficial and stay tuned for more delicious recipes!

Published by: Martin De Juan


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