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Mother’s Cooking brings a plate of home away from home

by Jacqueline V Espinoza

Havana Bowl Ted’s Special. Photo by Jacqueline V. Espinoza

Mother’s Cooking Experience is a Black female-owned state of the art food truck located in Arcata’s Septentrio Winery. Cooked from start to finish, they offer a variety of AfroCuban cuisine with gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options available.

Alby Alawoya and Monique Sutton (also known as Mama Mo) are a skilled mother-daughter duo coming from Los Angeles and have been bringing up a piece of home up to Humboldt for everyone to enjoy since 2020, when they started as side business at Humboldt Bay Provisions Social Club and later a pop-up at Northtown Coffee.

Mother’s Cooking Experience carries “diverse cultural stories from our families crafted with love and care on a plate and I hope each time somebody interacts with us, each time someone eats our food, they feel the feeling of nostalgia in home,” said Alawoya. “Whether they had a mom cooking them food all the time, whether it was their auntie, whether their friends, mom, anyone.”

Alawoya, 30, is a restaurant-eur who graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt in 2017. With her National Business degree she is resilient in making her mark in the Humboldt Community.Today she continues her career in business as the passionate project manager for Mother’s Cooking Experience, as well as her personal project of giving back to the community and “feeding towards a bigger picture.”

The head Chef Mama Mo currently runs a one woman show in the kitchen where she encapsulates her years of cooking experience. After working with Network for a Healthy California and finishing culinary school at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Mama Mo is bringing culture to Humboldt with her contagious smile and laugh. She says she truly wants a “space for people to come feel at home.”

Alby Alawoya and Monique Sutton tending the grill at Mother’s Cooking. Photo by Jacqueline V. Espinoza

Together they offer a burst of multicultural dishes to their menu such as maduros (sweet fried plantains), vegan cornbread, and their most popular the Havana bowl which is offered in a variety of protein options including mojo garlic chicken thigh or pork, portobello steak, and Ted’s special (fried egg). Their Sunday brunch presents lemon ricotta pancakes, buttermilk fried chicken, and some lively tunes from DJ L Boogie. The duo not only believes that everyone has a right to good food but also a space to jam out and attain opportunities.

In honor of supporting their community, this upcoming February they will host their annual Black Hall Marketplace on the 18th and 25th where Black and Brown vendors/creators can have a safe space to sell or promote their creations. Along with the marketplace there will be a free first come first serve cooking demo for children at 4pm with limited spots only on the 18th. They’ve made both events completely free to sign up for, as well as the ability to provide tabling if needed.

Although there’s no fee to vendors, donations would be greatly appreciated as the funds will go towards future Black Humboldt events. To sign up visit @BlackHumboldt or @motherscooking_humboldt on instagram and click their linktree.

You can taste Mother’s Cooking Experience at 650 6th St Arcata, CA 95521 every Wednesday-Saturday from 3-8pm for dinner or Saturday-Sunday from 11:30-3pm for brunch. They are available now on Doordash and offer catering that can be found on their website motherscooking-experience.com.

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