Written by Maya Ulrich
Mykela Jackson, the owner of Keiko’s Kitchen, has a vision which has become her business’s slogan—to create “real food for the soul.”
With her pop-ups, she is working to break down traditional soul food into creative, colorful, and accessible plant-based dishes that the black community can try—in a way that is not confrontational or offensive.
Jackson recognizes that the food the black community often has access to commonly perpetuates food oppression dating back to slavery in America. “I want to bring awareness that the foods that we are eating and are readily available to us are not good for us,” Jackson explains, noting that she hopes to create food that supports nutritious eating and healthy lifestyles.
Jackson believes that by breaking down the traditional idea of soul food the black community can build progressive relationships with each other and with the foods they eat. To accomplish her goal, she started collaborating with Breaking Bread Cafe. Breaking Bread’s food advisors helped her develop a schedule to host Keiko’s Kitchen pop-ups at the cafe while still maintaining her day job and other responsibilities.
Jackson has also helped open up the door for other vegan entrepreneurs to partner with Breaking Bread, helped increase vegan options at the cafe, and she has also helped money go back into the black community by supporting the development of black-owned businesses. In fact, she has just signed a residency contract with Breaking Bread for every other Thursday starting August 1st.
Mykela follows the Dr. Sebi diet which, in addition to being vegan, states that natural alkaline plant foods and herbs can control acid levels in the body and prevent disease. Jackson sees this diet as the key to health because it uses the power of food to transform communities, both through physical health and environmentally sustainable foods.
In addition to supporting the alkaline movement, Jackson is trying to make her business as holistic as possible. Initially, her business was formed on the basis of health and breaking away from the chains of oppression and white supremacy. However, as she continues to grow Keiko’s Kitchen she wants to make animal advocacy and environmental activism even more a part of the business’s mission.