2019 New York Rising Star Chef Mavis-Jay Sanders of Brownsville Culinary Community Center

2019 New York Rising Star Chef Mavis-Jay Sanders of Brownsville Culinary Community Center
January 2019

Brownsville Culinary Community Center
69 Belmont Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11212
meltingpotfoundationusa.org

Photos

Big families are often based around food, and Mavis-Jay “MJ” Sanders is from a big South Georgia family. Cooking, especially with her grandmother, gave her an identity and a way to stand out. Although Sanders knew she wanted to pursue cooking professionally, her parents encouraged her to attend a traditional university. She enrolled at Georgia Southern University in 2005 and gave sports medicine a try before changing her major to hotel and restaurant management. Sanders worked in restaurants throughout college before graduating in 2010. Traditional degree in hand, she went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America. 

In 2013, Sanders joined the kitchen at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Working with Chef de Cuisine Michael Gallina, she cooked in every position on the line before transitioning to the private dining team for one year. Sanders then moved New York City to cook at Blue Hill, later becoming part of Suzanne Cupp’s opening team at Untitled at the Whitney. Weary of the lack of diversity in the dining rooms of her employers, she moved to Los Angeles in 2016 to start the Pico House, a food truck serving responsibly sourced, affordable, and delicious food.

Now back in New York, Sanders serves as the operations director of the Brownsville Community Culinary Center. Founded by activist Restaurateur Claus Meyer, the organization brings world-class culinary training to the people of Brownsville, Brooklyn. The restaurant at BCCC is the first sit-down eatery to open in the neighborhood in 50 years.