LA chef Alisa Reynolds redefines soul food as she travels the world in new Hulu series

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Alisa Reynolds forages for watercress with Travis Milton in the Appalachia episode of "Searching for Soul Food." Photo courtesy of Hulu.

The term "soul food" typically describes cuisine that's prepared and eaten by African Americans, often (but not always) originating in the South. Los Angeles chef Alisa Reynolds, who owns My 2 Cents in the Mid-Wilshire area, has a different vision. 

"It's about creating something when your back is against the wall and it lasting for centuries without a recipe," she says.

On her new Hulu show "Searching For Soul Food," she travels around the globe to discover foods that have been passed down through generations. In Mississippi, she meets Maxine Dixon, who lives next door to her restaurant on a residential street. Maxine's husband purchased many of the homes on the block so that she could create community and operate without any disturbances. 

Maxine Dixon still works in the kitchen of her restaurant which sits on a residential street in Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Hulu.

"I wanted to crush some of these beliefs that we have in our head that you can't find soul where you least expect it," Reynolds says of finding herself in Appalachia. There, she meets chef Travis Milton, who mixes old world traditions with modern techniques and introduces her to the pleasures of eating squirrel.

Of South Africa, she says, "It was my first time on the continent. I cried. Food speaks and it creates these dishes under circumstances that may not be that light."

Chef Zola Nena and Alisa Reynolds prepare denningvleis, a lamb stew made with tamarind. It's the oldest recorded recipe in South Africa. Photo courtesy of Hulu.

"Searching for Soul Food" finds Alisa Reynolds globetrotting to discover different interpretations of ancestral foods that have spanned generations. Photo courtesy of Hulu.