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Men Who Cook: Shannon Wilson

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Welcome back to our weekly feature highlighting brothers who throw down in the kitchen.

Missed one? Catch up on all the interviews and recipes of our featured chefs in our Men Who Cook Roundup »

Name: Shannon Wilson
Occupation: Nutritional consultant and owner of Healthy Cooking With Mr. Wilson catering service
Age: 36
City: Detroit

ESSENCE.COM: Shannon, you have a career built around food and healthy eating. How did you get your start in the kitchen?
SHANNON WILSON.:
When I was about 7, my mother would sometimes cook late, and after coming in from playing all day, I would be hungry. Most of the time my mother would be frying chicken and she never would let me have a piece before dinner, so I would just sit in the kitchen watching and hoping she'd give in to my puppy dog sad face. She rarely did, so as soon as she would turn her back, I would snatch a piece of chicken and walk into my bedroom to devour it. After a few years of observing and swiping, I began to learn how to prepare the foods that I enjoyed eating. I got my big break when my entire family had gotten sick except for me, so I had to step up to the plate, no pun intended, to cook for everyone. The rest is history.

ESSENCE.COM: That's a memorable start. So what's a cooking tip that works everytime?
WILSON: My best cooking tip is use more natural and fresh products when you prepare your foods. Also try to eat more raw vegetables or lightly steamed vegetables.

ESSENCE.COM: Now have you ever had a mishap while cooking?
WILSON: I was making brownies and mixing them up on the counter when I didn't realize a bottle of cayenne pepper tipped off the shelf and emptied into the bowl. I baked the brownies and I served them to some kids. After they ate them, all the kids were running around screaming for water because their mouths were burning. The funny thing, though is, after a few of them got some water they still wanted the brownies.

ESSENCE.COM: So what's your signature recipe?
WILSON: I have quite a few signature dishes but the one that stands out is one that I usually share with everybody, my Wheat Pita Pizza. I love quick but effective dishes and this recipe signifies my specialty at taking traditional recipes and converting them into healthy dishes that retain their traditional taste.

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