Shanita McAfee-Bryant

Executive Chef

Shanita McAfee-Bryant is an executive chef with a knack for southern and modern style cooking. Since winning Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen in 2015, Shanita has started Magnolia’s on the Move, which specializes in contemporary southern cuisine. She is the founding board member of the National Minority Chef’s Summit. 

What is it about Kansas City that inspires creativity in you?
This is my home. I’ve never thought I want to leave here. I’ve always thought this would be my home base. I could travel and see the world, but then I could just come back here. I’ve had the opportunity to grow up on both sides of the state line. I live a little urban, a little suburban.

What is your favorite spot in Kansas City?
Morningside Drive in Brookside is my favorite spot. I love those old houses and that street. If I ever considered moving back to Missouri; that would be what my husband would have to entice me with. 

Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
I’ve always had a good time in Seattle. I’m always there when it’s raining and cold, but I do love the culture of the city.

What's your most treasured possession?
My cast iron cook wear. I get really upset when things happen to them. It could be my ice cream maker. It was my first big culinary purchase. I got it from JB Prince and they sent it in from Italy. I’m pretty particular about my kitchen stuff. Now I’m thinking about my Kitchen Aid [mixer].

Who's your favorite fictional hero?
Storm from X-men. I am storm. I want to be able to control the weather.

Who do you most admire in real-life?
My godmother, Sarah. She died from breast cancer. Just watching her struggle and her spirit, positivity and faith through that entire situation was mind boggling.

When and where are you happiest?
On those rare moments when it’s raining and I have absolutely nowhere to go. I can just stay in bed and lounge all day while watching Netflix.  

Best food city in the U.S. outside of KC?
I’m so focused on what I do, Modern and Southern foods. The girl who competed against me on Cutthroat Kitchen is now back in the states and she’s a chef in Alabama now, and she’s kind of reviving this restaurant called Grill 29, so I really like watching what they’re doing there.

Where are your southern cooking roots from?
Kansas City is the South historically if you look at the roots of our cuisine. Kansas City is where the North and the South connect. I like exploring the southern part of who we are and the northern part of what we are. Kansas City’s cuisine, like in most places in the South, is dictated by who originally settled here and what they did with the land and how they formed that. 

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