From Mother or father Fundraiser to Enterprise Proprietor: Michelle Phipps-Evans’ Journey with Vickey’s Kitchen

Within the District, Michelle Phipps-Evans is named a author of reports and tradition for native publications and dealing on the D.C. Division of Transportation, however her facet hustle as a chef can be gaining recognition for the tastiness of her native nation’s dishes and the efforts to show others the right way to cook dinner them.

Phipps-Evans, 52, is the proprietor of Vickey’s Trinidad & Tobago Kitchen. Her meals firm specializes within the delicacies of her native Trinidad & Tobago.

“The identify of my firm is in homage to my mom, Victoria Lanfong Gene Phipps,” she stated. “My mom was a superb cook dinner and I used to look at her work. She knew the right way to cook dinner good curry hen in addition to Chinese language meals. I’m half Chinese language.

“At some point I used to be within the kitchen with my sister and my mom stated, ‘Michelle is aware of the right way to clear effectively however she will’t cook dinner,’ She then proceeded to show me the right way to put together meals and cook dinner them proper.”

Phipps-Evans stated Trinidad & Tobago’s fashionable delicacies consists of jerk hen, stew hen and Chinese language meals.

“In Trinidad and Tobago, we combine up the meals,” she stated. “Trinidad & Tobago has a majority Black African inhabitants, however now we have numerous what we name right here in the USA, South Asians. There are [also] various Chinese language in Trinidad & Tobago, my grandfather was Chinese language, in addition to individuals from locations comparable to Lebanon and Syria. There are Europeans who’re white, and they’re proud to be recognized as Trinidadians.”

Phipps-Evans stated Trinidad and Tobago meals tends to be a mix of all of the meals from the nation’s totally different cultures and races. She made it clear that meals from her nation is totally different from different Caribbean nations.

“Our curry hen is totally different from Jamaican curry hen,” Phipps-Evans stated, noting the Jamaicans season their meals in one other method.

Phipps-Evans Goes Into Enterprise

A resident of the Hillcrest neighborhood in Ward 7, Phipps-Evans determined to check out the cooking classes she discovered in Trinidad and Tobago outdoors of her household in 2011. Considered one of her daughters attended Maury Elementary Faculty in Northeast and Phipps-Evans was energetic as a guardian. 

To meet her position within the college’s fundraising marketing campaign, Maury at The Market, Phipps-Evans cooked delicacies from Trinidad and Tobago and supplied an ancillary cooking class for individuals who have been .

“The meals and the cooking class went effectively,” Phipps-Evans stated, noting {that a} rising and dependable following amongst among the dad and mom developed.

She participated within the Maury at The Market occasion till 2019, when her youngest daughter completed there. At that time, she determined to take her cooking and instructing to a different degree.

“I made a decision to take part in Dreaming Out Loud in 2020 that’s led by Chef Chris Bradshaw,” Phipps-Evans stated. “I discovered quite a bit there. It was there that I discovered the right way to develop a enterprise thought. I additionally met Chef Furard Tate there, too.”

Tate presently serves because the senior director of enterprise improvement on the Larger Washington City League (GWUL). He leads the nonprofit’s By Our Arms Cohort. Phipps-Evans stated Tate introduced her into the 2023 cohort and he or she accomplished it. For her efforts, Phipps-Evans acquired a $10,000 grant from the GWUL and its sponsors.

“I’m so grateful for the $10,000,” she stated. “It will likely be used to develop my enterprise. I’ll think about opening a meals truck. Nonetheless, I’ll proceed to cook dinner and educate courses and I need to get the phrase out about that.”

Tate helps Phipps-Evans’ aspirations in entrepreneurship and likes her strategy to meals.

“You may style the love of her tradition in each chunk of her meals,” he stated. “By consuming Michelle’s meals, you recapture the essence of her ancestors.”