Yvonne always knew she would be an entrepreneur while growing up in Maryland surrounded by strong, female family role models. Her mother worked two jobs to make ends meet as a single parent, including operating a travel agency from her home. Yvonne’s aunt was a self-employed seamstress and assisted living provider who operated both businesses out of her home. A cousin owned an accounting firm. Cooking came naturally to Yvonne early on, and she liked experimenting with recipes using her God-given talent.
Years later, Yvonne married a serviceman, which took her to places all around the world, including Iceland and Germany. She ended up in Idaho after her then-husband was transferred to Mountain Home Air Force Base. Yvonne started making food to take to military parties. People raved about her cooking, and soon she couldn’t keep up with the requests using her own home oven. Yvonne opened “A Piece of Cake” retail bakery in 1999 specializing in muffins, pastries, and desserts. She owned and operated the business until 2003, when she began taking classes at NNU. A divorce, mortgage payments, and the responsibilities of raising a child meant that she could not finish her second bachelor’s degree in
Yvonne felt that being a single-parent business owner would be hard, but she wasn't afraid to step out with her Brown Shuga Soul Food concept to fill a niche she had identified in the Boise restaurant market. Unable to obtain traditional bank financing, Yvonne impressed a local, successful businessman so much with her charisma and drive that he provided a private loan to fund her startup.
The pride of being the mistress of her own destiny and the enjoyment of making people happy with good food keep Yvonne going through days that start at 6:30 a.m. with kitchen prep and don’t end until the last dish is washed and dried at midnight. Yvonne’s optimistic personality, confidence, humorous quips, and larger- than- life persona naturally draw people to her. She has appeared on local television shows demonstrating her culinary talents and letting the community know that the best place to experience Southern-style cooking----outside of your grandma’s dining room in Mississippi or Georgia---- is Brown Shuga Soul Food.
Yvonne Anderson-Thomas is the owner of Brown Shuga Soul Foods, a local, Boise, Idaho based business which prepares and sells authentic Southern-style cuisine direct to customers through two food trucks and catering at special events. It is a family affair, with her parents and her son working as employees to keep up with the demand for Yvonne’s made-from-scratch culinary creations.
The menu includes succulent meats such as smoked turkey legs and barbecue chicken; zesty main dishes like gumbo and jambalaya; a variety of flavorful sides including collard greens, cole slaw, and macaroni and cheese; and her rich, signature desserts—sweet potato pie and lemon tarts. Yvonne’s cooking and
friendly, personal service capture the essence of her background: an African American tradition of big, Sunday gatherings around a table laden with mouthwatering, home-cooked foods.
Yvonne opened Brown Shuga Soul Foods in June of 2011. Yvonne was recently honored to be selected as one of only six local chefs to participate in Boise’s premier fundraiser, the 2012 “A Chef’s Affaire”, an annual benefit for the Idaho Foodbank. Yvonne will also participate in her 15th year at the Soul Food
Extravaganza, one of the longest running soul food festivals in America. Yvonne is proud of the fact that her food trucks are a model of cleanliness and have always passed Health Department inspections with flying colors. Her attention to food safety traces back to the microbiology class she took while learning her Bachelor’s in Applied Sciences at NNU in 2007.
Chef Yvonne Anderson-Thomas