Fernay McPherson: Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement

fernay mcpherson of minnie bells soul movement
Photo: Nicola Parisi

Fernay McPherson

Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement

The Public Market
5959 Shellmound Street
Emeryville, CA


Joined La Cocina: November 2011. Graduated: March 2018

On the menu: rosemary fried chicken; mac and cheese; brown butter cornbread; braised greens.

Fernay McPherson learned to cook while growing up in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, thanks to her grandmother Lilly Bell, her great-aunt Minnie, and her mom Loretta, known for her mac and cheese. McPherson, a former MUNI bus driver who says she still carries trauma from her years driving a crosstown route that covered peak capitalism and peak crazy in one 45-minute trip, found solace in cooking her family’s comfort food. Laid off from work in 2008, she decided to pursue cooking professionally and headed to culinary school.  After being accepted into the La Cocina program, she started out with a food truck, catering business, and pop-up before landing a lease on a rotating temporary pop-up space for La Cocina in Emeryville’s Public Market. She plans to move to a more permanent space within the market. It is her dream to open a restaurant in the historically African American Fillmore, which she still calls home.

Accolades: Rising Star Chef, San Francisco Chronicle, 2017

Edible SF: How did La Cocina help you expand your business?
La Cocina helped me grow to a sustainable level by creating opportunities for me to cater large company events, find a brick-and-mortar space, and share my story and build a platform, which I’ve grown to understand the importance of.

Edible SF: What’s your biggest take-away from the program?
I entered the La Cocina program with a passion to cook. I now understand business and how to create opportunities for my community. I have met some amazing women entrepreneurs who are on this journey with me.

Edible SF: What advice do you have for a budding food producer interested in the program?
Take advantage of all the resources available. They are tools for success.

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