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My 2 Cents LA
I partnered with Day Reps for their spotlight on local BIPOC owned businesses and industry professionals.
I met Chef Alisa about 9 years ago while working with Common and she immediately stood out. She was driven and bright — plus the food was always insane. Her restaurant, My2CentsLA, has been one of my favorites since the day it opened. It was an honor to photograph her for this feature.
Alisa Reynolds, a Los Angeles Native, is the Head Chef and Owner of My 2 Cents, a restaurant in Mid-City, LA.
To describe the cuisine at My 2 Cents, she often uses the term “Evolve Nostalgia” – it’s conscious comfort food. Her southern classics have been updated by using modern techniques, healthier ingredients, and incorporating vegan and gluten-free options into the menu, so everyone can enjoy her version of the traditional home-cooked meals.
As a Black female chef, who also owns a small business, Alisa knows the odds are stacked against her, calling it a “double whammy.” But she isn’t deterred from the challenge to overcome biases.
While she’s been disrespected because of her sex, race, and chosen career path, being a woman has also motivated her. “Don’t let the fact that you work in a White, male dominated field deter you.” she says. “You must overcome that and keep pushing.”
Inspiring the next wave of chefs and owners is a priority for Alisa and she takes pride in mentoring her younger staff. She wants to show the next generation that all hard work is rewarding – she will not only run the kitchen, but will also clean the toilets, if necessary – because in the end, it all leads to success.
She wants to push her staff to be in constant pursuit of their goals. “People of color have always been forced to be creative and now is the time to be creative and stay creative. If you lose that drive within yourself, you lose the energy for tomorrow.”
The BLM movement has brought to light the discrepancies between White and Black-owned small businesses, and that the time for equality is now. Alisa, herself, has been refused multiple business loans while her White counterparts have received them without issue.
She wants her industry to “strive more to be inclusive” by creating the opportunities for people who have proven to be talented, motivated, and hard-working. She goes on to say that while she has faced difficulties because of biases, “some of the greatest things have happened because I am a woman. The overwhelming support trumps all of the hardships.”
“[You have to] constantly be grateful. Stop complaining and do the work.”