Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

V. Sheree Williams of

V. Sheree Williams, Publisher and Editor in Chief of

When I first started blogging about food, I immediately discovered an informative culinary website focusing on African-Americans with a passion for food. is one of my favorite food sites for learning about up and coming chefs, food trends, wine and recipes. Recently, published their premier print issue, which is still on sale. Sheree Williams, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chef graciously answered a few questions and discuss how her publication will honor Kwanzaa.

What did you do prior to becoming Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at

I worked in corporate America for companies like Safeway, Macy’s and Visa. My background is communications (marketing, pr and advertising), so I was working hard at building a career that would one day land me at the top as a VP, so I thought that was what I wanted.

I eventually went back to school and starting taking a strong interest in multicultural marketing and also started my own marketing and pr company, which I did for 6 years.

I have always been a writer since the 5th grade in Ms. Delaney’s class so that seed that was planted just started taking root and when this opportunity presented itself, I knew I had found my calling and passion.

What lead you to… How did you become involved in the culinary publishing business?

I met the founder Richard Pannell in 2005. I was hired to do my first event through my business and he was working on the project, too. After that was over, he contacted me in 2007 and told me about the magazine. I was like wow. At the time he wanted me to do the pr but I saw something bigger and approached him about being a partner. I love food and always challenging myself to learn and grow so I thought why not. I don’t mind coming out of my comfort zone professionally and personally.

When we started, I was excited about what we could accomplish and the contributions we could make to the industry. I didn’t have any plans of becoming a publisher. I just wanted to write and lead the team but that changed in 2008 and now I am just staying open to the journey that lies ahead.It has been great so far.

The originally was named “Black Cuisine” when it initially started as pull-out section of a print publication. How has online media expanded’s vision and growth?

Richard originally wanted to go back in print when he first approached me but at the time i was in grad school and new everything was going digital and plus there was a financial concern going to print as well. So I suggested online to engage and grow an audience and then look at expanding into print. It is backwards from the other big publications but for us it has worked. We launched at a really great time with social networks, blogs, etc. All of this has really worked in our favor and has been a blessing in growing the magazine online and in print.

We have been able to connect with so many great people around the world by being online that is as we grow, we can continue to see what the needs and opportunities are to continue publishing a great magazine.

What are future plans? Would you like to share a few story ideas in progress for the next print edition?

For CN online, in 2012 we want to share more recipes, and continue to showcase the professionals who are the movers and shakers.

As for print, we are looking at more recipes as well, and a few additions that you see online that will now be in print as well such as our Healthy Living section and our Book Grub on our blog. My favorite continues to be the Celebrity Dish which is fun and then of course it is always fun to think about who will be on the cover, so I am narrowing down the choices now.

How will celebrate Kwanzaa this year?

This month we are introducing themed based recipes to give our readers some ideas for the upcoming holidays. We are calling it “Cooking with Friends” and will partner with other chefs, food bloggers and home cooks to share recipes. We’ll definitely have recipes for Kwanzaa in there both from our chefs and friends. We will also blog about the principles and connect those to recipes as well.

What does Kwanzaa personally mean to you?

For me it is a great time for reflection. To look at the person I am and the better person I am striving to be. As blacks, we have such a rich and strong history, present and future and I want to do my part to make help others.

Could you share your favorite recipe you’re serving during Kwanzaa?

Well, this year I really want to do something different then the traditional foods prepared so I say that to say… let me get back to you on this one, the recipe is still in development. 🙂

A special thanks to Sheree for her time. Follow on Twitter @CuisineNoirMag, Facebook, and their blog at

About Sanura

Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer at Food Writer at

One comment on “V. Sheree Williams of

  1. Bren at Flanboyant Eats™
    December 2, 2011

    Sheree is super sweet and works hard! Have known her since before the mag launched on line and finally got to meet her in person earlier this year. I hope only the best for the direction of the magazine. It’s a great resource.


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This entry was posted on December 1, 2011 by in 2011, business, Interview, publishing, Ujamaa and tagged , , , , .

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Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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