Stephan Haynes: Kansas City’s Innovative Chef

Well respected culinary artist welcomes exciting ideas to his recipes.

               From the very first bite, you can taste it. You can feel it, flowing through your spirit. Like music for your mouth, you dance with excitement. With packed jaws, you try to express your gratitude for the ingredients and the hands that brought you love. What do you do when it’s all over? You ask for more. Lucky for us, Kansas City culinary artist, Stephan Haynes is always prepared to exceed our expectations.

               One month ago from today, I got the opportunity to meet with Haynes to discuss his culinary passions. Per his suggestion, I took the drive out to Raytown, Missouri for brunch at the Black owned establishment, Breakfast & Lunch Lovers. This turned out to be the perfect venue for great food and the conversation at hand. The interview began with Haynes sharing his first inspirations for his love of food. A huge grin spread across his face as he expressed how his grandmother was the first person to come to mind during his early years. “I found the love and passion from my grandmother. She was the type to always make you feel loved. I wanted that extra time with her in the kitchen”, Haynes states. When asked about a staple dish that comes to mind for her, his response was laughable. “She’d make a big country breakfast. She could care less about your arteries”.

What’s a signature dish that’s expected from you at family functions?Brisket for sure. Sixteen hours on the fire, with me up all night tending to it.” -Stephan Haynes

 Haynes also spoke highly of both of his parents. As a young man growing up in Missouri, he’d expect something delicious and smothered in gravy, every Sunday from his mother. His father, he states, “was a Texas boy through and through”, whose work ethic inspired a multitude of strength for Stephan to carry into his culinary endeavors. He also brought up an interesting early Thanksgiving memory, where a specific comment was made by his uncle. Although Haynes had not fully participated in cooking that year as a young man, his uncle gave him high praise for the way he plated his food. Looking back, Haynes sees that moment as indicative of what was to come for him and his career. There was a growing nuance to his perspective that quickly became realized.

When asking the artist if there was anything he felt helped foster his love of cooking during secondary school, the response warrants introspection. “I wish there were home ec classes to help. I went to Hogan Prep and there were none. Absolutely none”. Haynes goes on to discuss some of the other observations around nutrition he recognized around that same time. He reminisces about the stark difference between the local grocers in his neighborhood, compared to those in predominately white neighborhoods. Pointing out how unequitable it was for those neighborhoods to have access to lower price of food than in areas like those he grew up in. This implies that not only has Haynes remained eager for knowledge in this field but also, that there is an awareness that continues to drive his passion.

Three words to describe your cooking: “Passionate, Innovative and Quality” -Stephan Haynes

Upon creating his business, Haynes states that the support was overwhelming. Especially after. launching at a time so uncertain as 2019. He endured with the support of his mother, family, friends and even other people in the culinary community who shared mutual respect. There was much credit to his sister as he states that, “My sister brings the aesthetic flare”. I asked him to consider what he had learned about himself through this uncharted time, he emphasized how he had to refocus and regroup. There needed to be an understanding that this (Pandemic) was completely out of his control. “I had to encourage myself. I learned that I could pull from the strength of my father”. He connected this concept to analogy of a parent opening a bank account for their children. It was clear to see that this is one of many attributes that effected Haynes and still does today. One that I felt all to familiar with as well. The beautiful part is witnesses how that is now being passed down to his children. Haynes mentions how much his daughter loves to help him but also how encouraging her words are to him. “Daddy’s food is so good cuz he cooked with love”.

Even though Haynes exudes his strengths in cooking, he’s a man of many talents it seems. He also caters to Kansas City in the comedic sense, which was evident throughout the entirety of our conversation, I might add. The humor and charisma poured out during this short period, which are complimentary to his culinary career. When he’s not feeding folks or laughing people out of their seats, he spends his days working as a Broker. Through this he delivers an understanding of how people plan for their needs and desires and how to balance that. Whether it’s being funny, finances or food, he’s serving our community is big ways.

For our Spring event, Haynes is preparing to explore his fusion interests. This focuses on combining food concepts from multiple cultures that he loves. He discusses elements from Jamaican, Lebanese, Asian and even Mediterranean cuisines. “Trying to create a menu that combines everything that I love”, he exclaims. Often times, when we think about food, our minds immediately go to the taste. However, when you a hear a chef speaking so passionately and expertly about their work, it inspires feelings like none other. Like anything, it is the intention that holds up in the comparison of work ethic. Stephan Haynes demonstrates diligence and a discipline to grow within all facets of his life. Whatever he has his hands in, is sure to flourish beyond measure.

Join us March 25th, when we’ll be finally getting a taste of what Stephan Haynes is cooking up:

Appetizer-Lebanese influenced arayes roll w/ cucumber dill sauce and tabbouleh

Main Course-Jamaican beef gravy, rice and peas, collard greens, plantain

Get Tickets Here: Tickets no longer on sale.

Michelle L. Hill

Embodies the peace adventure yields, is home in the beyond, and establishes foundations needed for others to experience true wonder for themselves. Creator of The Black Sunflower.

5 responses to “Stephan Haynes: Kansas City’s Innovative Chef”

  1. Great article, I’m excited to come to KC. soon eat your food. Success in your venture Cousin. AnnetteChandler


  2. Stephan, I am so proud of you and happy for you. I knew you as a little boy, your mother and I worked together. When I saw your name I knew exactly who you are I am a foodie, i didn’t read the entire article where can I try your food. Tell Cynthia hello & I am happy for her as your mother😊

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