Lashante Cox is Chef Po, a delta-born native of Shaw, Mississippisippi but raised in Jackson Ms. She attended Murrah High School and is also a graduate of Jackson State University. She discovered an interest in food while spending time in the kitchen with her mom, grandma, and great-grandmother. It was with these ladies that Chef Po was born.
Chef Po loves creating elevated dishes that remind her of those experiences, cooking with the matriarchs of her family. The chef is also the mother of one son, Jeremiah Cox. It is Jeremiah’s love for food and his creativity that fuels her passion for food. Although Chef Po doesn’t have any culinary training food has always been her gift and passion. This inspired her to open her business Chef Po Urban Kitchen, a personal chef and full catering company that offers many other services. Her next venture is to purchase a food truck that will enable her to feed the people on the go. “Love the people, Cook them great food” is Chef Po’s motto.
Dig in below to learn more about the Mississippi cuisiner below.
Fancy: Please tell us a little bit about where you are from (try to be a little descriptive about your city or state as we focus on the beauty of living in the South).
Chef Po: I am originally from a small town in the delta, called Shaw, Mississippi. It is a small rural area, that doesn’t have much. A few stores that are mostly locally owned and there aren’t many people that live there. My family and I stayed there until I was in about the third grade. Then we moved to the Jackson area and I have been in Jackson, Ms. So, I consider myself a Jacksonian.
Fancy: I must ask because I can’t get my teenage girls in the kitchen for anything but to eat, how did you end up in the kitchen with the matriarchs of your family? Was this a family tradition and how did you feel about it initially?
Chef Po: Growing up around my grandma and great-grandmother, even if it was for just summers, is where I got my inspiration. I was always in the kitchen with them because I initially wanted to just listen to all the stories and wisdom they had. Being the oldest grandchild, I was always pulled into situations that would help me and also help my younger cousins in the long run. So, just being around them allowed me to pick up a few things in the kitchen. Gathering together was a tradition on holidays and special occasions. It was guaranteed to have some good food there. Good food brings people and families together.
Fancy: Do you remember the first meal you prepared by yourself?
Chef Po: The first meal I ever prepared was fried chicken and French fries-something basic, believe it or not, my dad taught me how to fry chicken. Yes, I stand behind my fried chicken being the best.
Fancy: So tell us about Chef Po Urban Kitchen. What type of food do you typically serve?
Chef Po: Chef Po Urban Kitchen is a full catering and personal chef company. We serve from the Southern classic all the way to the elevated culinary dishes, such as a nice redfish and braised lamb chops.
Fancy: What was it like to start your business?
Chef Po: I started my business in 2016 because I was always preparing food with a nice presentation for others. One of my friends put a bug in my ear and was like you should cater and cook for others. I hit the ground running. Ever since then, I have been creating and cooking.
Fancy: What is the wildest or most creative dish that you’ve made that people enjoyed?
Chef Po: A wild dish I created was a Rasta pasta where I used alligator sausage. Some people were reluctant to try it but when they did, they were like, “This is the bomb!” If I wouldn’t have told them they were eating alligators, they probably wouldn’t have even realized it.
Fancy: I see that you’ve been teaching cooking and culinary to children at a local center where you are located. Can you tell us more about that?
Chef Po: I also work with a nonprofit organization called SR1, where we service children K-12 with tutoring, ACT prep, social skills, and other various subjects where there is a need. We are located in Ridgeland, MS. They afforded me the opportunity to teach culinary skills to K-12. I am excited about this opportunity because I always want to give back to the younger generation. It’s never too early to learn how to cook. It’s not a gender role; it’s a life skill everyone should know.
Fancy: How would you describe your swagher? What makes Chef Po, Chef Po?
Chef Po: What makes Chef Po, chef Po is my swag. Lol. When I walk into a room, I own it. I am small in stature but I make some big boy noise when it comes to cooking and what I do. You won’t get my presentation and my customer service anywhere else. That is what makes me stand out. My clients will tell you that I take care of them.
Fancy: What does it mean to you to be a Black woman in business?
Chef Po: Being a woman in business is sometimes hard because you have to work twice as hard to prove your worth, especially in the culinary world which is male dominant. Some women chefs don’t get the credit they deserve or are not even recognized as real chefs. I’m here to tell you I can put a lot of them to shame, and some are learning from me. So it’s just different. Male chefs may have tons of business but I’m making a greater impact through my food, and that’s my goal -to impact the world and change it using food.
Connect with Chef Po below.
Francheska “Fancy” Felder is a quiet Southern, media mogul in the making. In 2010, she launched SwagHer Magazine, an empowerment and lifestyle publication for the progressive Black community.
Fancy’s passion for all things creative combined with her love for writing, Black culture, and business guided her to also offer her public relations, creative, and branding services, making the magazine more of a media boutique having its own subscription clients as well as advertisers, hence why the name changed to SwagHer Magazine & Media.
SwagHer Magazine uses positive media and storytelling to create new narratives and mindsets around Black people, their communities, and the businesses and organizations they lead. Fancy executes campaigns for Black women-led businesses, coaches, authors, and girl bosses so that they receive more visibility and establish themselves as an authority.
The Mississippi native is also one half of Theories & Thoughts Podcast, a discussion-driven show that tackles Black issues and taboo subjects with a kitchen table talk feel, which she hosts with Arnya T.M. Davis. The two also co-produce and host Theories & Thoughts Deep Dive, a millennial talk show.
The former teen mom graduated from Southwest Mississippi Community College with her associate’s in marketing management and studied mass communications with a focus in public relations from Southern University A&M College.