Toyin Alli is the chef-owner of Puddin’, specializing in Cajun and Creole comfort food operating in DC out of a food truck and a stand at Union Market. On a recent weeknight I met Toyin for the 120th dinner interview; a chat about what got her started in the food industry, learning that it’s the natural progression from a childhood love of cooking.
Yet Toyin put her culinary career on hold while pursuing two degrees and later working for Amtrak’s inspector general. Eventually, however, the lure of cooking was too strong and she quit her job at Amtrak to focus full-time on making Puddin’ a success. It seems to be working, as she’s won extensive press coverage for her menu that includes gumbo, etouffee, red beans and rice, and her signature brown butter bourbon bread pudding.
Although Puddin’ dominates her waking hours, Toyin is looking to give back to the community in several ways. She employs staff through the city’s Project Empowerment that finds work for people who have barriers to getting jobs. And she’s developing a warehouse into an affordable kitchen space for up-and-coming chefs.
Click on this link or the picture above to read my interview with Toyin.