Today we’d like to introduce you to Ivy Bordenave-Priestley.
Ivy, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
During the Great Migration many people left New Orleans to live in Los Angeles and those new Angelenos brought with them their rich creole culture. Growing up in Los Angeles, I was surrounded by my creole culture. My grandmother was an active member of the Jefferson Council, a group responsible for putting on many events throughout South LA that were rooted in creole culture. As I grew older, the Jefferson Council was dissolved, Creole cultural events dwindled, and the creole culture in Los Angeles began to fade.
Now that I am a mother, I began to look for outlets/events that I could bring my daughter to in order to experience our creole culture. Needless to say, there are not many events, cultural hubs, or spaces that provide an authentic creole cultural experience. I started Treme Kitchen to preserve my Creole culture and present authentic Creole cuisine to the city of Los Angeles. As a native Angeleno with New Orleans roots, it pains me to see those who are not of Creole heritage recreating “creole” cuisine and stripping the food of all its history and story. My ultimate goal is to use Treme Kitchen to create a space to present authentic Creole cuisine, create a space for Creole Angelenos to experience and participate in cultural events, and to reclaim the story of Creole Angelenos.
My grandmother, Meme, grew up in the Treme, the oldest black neighborhood in the United States. The story goes that my great grandmother would make pralines in her home kitchen and give them to my Meme to sell around the Treme. Fast forward fifty some odd years, my Meme stands right beside me as I continue the traditions of our creole culture. Pralines are just the beginning, but it is the foundation in which we stand before you.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I started Treme Kitchen in March 2019 and after doing many weekend festivals, I saw that I could grow my business by continuing to vend at these large events. March 2020, the height of the festival season, and the entire world had to shelter in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We were forced to move our operation online and utilize delivery platforms to reach our customers. Having a new business and being in the midst of establishing our customer base, I was unsure if we would be able to reach customers, but we were supported by many family members, friends, and the online community that directed their focus to highlighting local black businesses.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a real estate broker. I specialize in managing multi-million dollar real estate portfolios.
What matters most to you?
Creating a legacy and cultivating authentic cultural experiences.
- Website: www.TremeKitchen.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/tremekitchen
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/treme-kitchen-los-angeles
Becky Tornell @beckybitesrecipes (instagram)