"Everybody knows the greatest hits. Everybody knows fried chicken and collard greens and cornbread but there is so much to it." Visitors to The Stone Barns Center for Food Agriculture had the chance to learn that and a whole lot more during Chef Adrienne Cheatham's residency this summer.

The Chicago native spent many years in and around kitchens. First, with her mom and later as she took on everything from seafood to pastry production. After many years of hard work and dedication, she became the Executive Sous Chef at Le Bernadin in NYC. Her credits also include Executive Chef at Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster. Here's a fun fact – Chef Adrienne also was a major contributor to The Red Rooster Cookbook as she tested, edited, cooked, and styled all of the food for the book.

A Top Chef and an HBCU graduate, Chef Adrienne spent almost a month on the campus of Stone Barns. During that time, she worked to curate a menu that would detail the evolution of southern cuisine while exploring and celebrating the diversity of cultures that have come through the south to help create new versions of food for the soul.

These days, if you can score a ticket, you can find her at Sunday Best. SB is her nod to the past and to the culture. She says, "By, putting on your best you are showing that you are serious and important and it forces people to move beyond their stereotypes."

Admittedly not vegan, Chef shares some wonderful insights on growing up with veggies and reveals her secret for finding the good stuff at the bodega in your neighborhood. This Spicy-Crispy Whole Roasted Cauliflower recipe is a great plant-based dish that you can easily make with a few accessible ingredients and pantry staples.

Looking to go from plant-curious to plant-focused? Check out Black Girls Eat and follow along @blackgirlseat.

Spicy-Crispy Whole Roasted Cauliflower by Chef Adrienne Cheatham

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 40 Minutes


  • 1 large head cauliflower, rinsed well, leaves trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sunflower seed kernels
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1teaspoon garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
  • 1teaspoon onion powder
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Tabasco)
  • 1tablespoon honey, substitute agave for a vegan recipe


  1. Place the cauliflower in a pot just large enough to hold it. Sprinkle 1T of salt over the cauliflower, then fill the pot with water and add the bay leaves. Turn the flame on high and bring the water to a boil. When the water reaches a rapid boil, turn it off, and let it stand for 5 minutes, then drain the water off and rinse the cauliflower in cold water for a few seconds. Place the cauliflower on a paper towel-lined plate in the refrigerator to cool. *This can be done 2-3 days ahead, keep the blanched cauliflower loosely covered in the fridge.
  2. While the cauliflower cools, combine the cornstarch, sunflower seeds, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and remaining salt in a food processor. Process until the seeds are finely chopped and the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Set aside in a wide bowl.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400. Use a small spatula or brush, and spread the yogurt evenly all over the outside of the cauliflower. Use a couple of forks to lift the cauliflower and turn it over into the bowl of the sunflower seed mixture. Get your fingers around the center stem and rotate the head around to coat the yogurt completely in the mixture. Scoop up the mixture as needed to get it all the way up the sides. Place the coated cauliflower head on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and spray all over lightly with olive oil (or cooking spray). Place in the oven.
  4. Cook the cauliflower until the crust has become golden and crispy, about 20 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the melted butter, hot sauce, and honey or agave in a bowl. Take the tray out of the oven and brush the hot sauce mixture all over the cauliflower. Return to the oven and continue cooking until the sauce has caramelized about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Let the cauliflower cool for 5-7 minutes then slice it into wedges and serve.

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