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Chef - Samantha Jackson

Where my love for food originated 

I am Lousiana Creole, but I was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and Carmel, Indiana. My mom, however, was born and raised in New Orleans. In fact, my mom's entire family and extended family still lives there. Throughout my life, I've spent summers and Thanksgiving breaks staying with family in New Orleans. This is where I developed a true passion for Creole food, especially gumbo. (This may also explain why creole seasoning is invited into almost every recipe on my blog. Creole seasoning is a staple in every one of my family members' cooking). During this upcoming holiday season, I plan to take advantage of being home to share some of my family's most cherished recipes.

About my Allergies 

I was born with allergies to eggs and nuts. Other than that, I never had to worry about food restrictions. As time went on, more and more began to develop. 

In elementary school, I developed allergies to both seafood and chocolate. This led us to take a trip to the allergist where I then learned I was also allergic to cherries, bananas, avocado, coconut, beans, and peas. By the time I finished middle school, I developed allergies to kiwi and mango. And finally, just about a year ago, I developed an allergy to apples.

I find this timeline to be an interesting point of conversation, because contrary to what people may assume, I actually have eaten most of the things I am now allergic to before. For example, coming from a Creole family, seafood was a must-have for most dinners. Crab was one of my absolute favorite foods until I started becoming allergic. And chocolate, an allergy that is a popular jaw-dropper, I was able to eat until about third grade. Thankfully I didn't enjoy it much, so I don't feel that I am missing out. 

I'll be honest, it can be frustrating having all the allergies I do. However, I truly don't believe it is as bad as people may think. Having such an extensive list of allergies has taught me self-control, self-awareness, and the ability to get creative when life throws me obstacles (like when there's egg in the mac and cheese I wanted). Most importantly, I've learned to stand my ground. Growing up, I often felt like a burden when it came to eating at other people's houses or going out to restaurants with friends. Over time, I realized that I cannot change my dietary restrictions, and true friends will be willing to find something we can both enjoy. If there's a situation I know is more important than my dietary restrictions, such as a birthday dinner, I know to eat beforehand and focus on the time I have with friends. Overall, it's truly not that bad!

Chef - Samantha Jackson
Chef - Samantha Jackson

My Life as a Student

I am a second-year psychology major at the University of Cincinnati pursuing certificates in Minority Health, Non-Profit & Community Leadership, and Professional Communication. My current extracurriculars include:

  • University Honors student and Ambassador

  • Psi Chi member, the International Honors Society for Psychology 

  • Teaching Assistant for one of my favorite professors

  • Tutor for 4th and 5th-grade reading

  • President of the Psychology club

  • Co-President of Melanin Fitness, a club for black girls to get together and work out

  • Member of the Black Women in Pre-Law club (even though I am not sure if I want to go into law)

At first glance, my list of extracurricular activities may appear overwhelming. However, the truth is, I'm so passionate about each of my involvements that I hardly notice how many commitments I have made. I thank my 11th-grade AP biology teacher who taught me that you will never be stressed if you only do what you are passionate about. These words have become my guiding principle, steering me toward a fulfilling life packed with involvements I genuinely love being a part of. I will say, I have never felt as in my element as I have at the University of Cincinnati. 

After reading through my extracurriculars, you may be wondering what I do in my free time. As far as that goes, I keep it basic. I enjoy attending pilates classes through UC, going on runs, reading, and of course, spending time with friends and family. After a long or stressful day, I love to make the chili crisp cucumber snack and binge my favorite show.  

What I do for fun:

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