Family and food. That's what makes me happy. I've got two daughters, and I was a foster mother for years. With some of my foster kids, the parenting never finishes. I'll be at their weddings. And they'll keep eating my food.
I had a friend who wanted to open a Mexican restaurant in Greece. I'd never been a chef but I'd lived in Mexico when I was 16 and was confident with the food. So we went to Greece. I rang social services and they didn't mind, so I had two daughters, a foster child and her sister and my niece in tow. I liked restaurant life, so I started one when I returned to the UK.
The soul food I serve is another slant on American cuisine. It is comfort. It is happiness. Every culture has a kind of food that just makes you feel good. You want to eat it when you're down - fried chicken, but done with care; meatballs, but hand-rolled. My definition of happiness is feeling warm inside and well-fed on the inside. And, while we're at it, add to that equality.
It comes back to family. I like that with all these interracial marriages we're creating a new ethnic group. That's exciting. I'm remarried to a guy who lets me be me. He's there because I need backbone for the ups and downs. I've got my family all around me, making the food I love, and that's satisfying. Sometimes my aunt works so hard she dreams of jambalaya.