We had the good fortune of connecting with Nenia Samayoa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nenia, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Born and raised in Los Angeles. I had a very rough upbringing which has a huge amount of impact on where I am today and who I am today. Being in foster care and seeing how the system failed me and others pushed me to be an advocate for a change in the foster care system. I have a different level of understanding for the youth I serve because I was once in their position, no one to trust, lean on or truly have my back. I lacked basic life skills and much more. The only thing I knew how to do was survive. The foster system should not be this way for youth in care but often youth are treated this way due to their behavior. In society eyes, they see a rebellious youth but in my eyes, I see a youth who needs extra love and extra guidance. My background fuels my foster youth advocate mission.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I considered myself a Chef, but as I keep moving and prospering I now realize I am an artist. I create. I started cooking when I was very young. It has always been a survival skill for me. Once I found out I was actually good at this I started looking into the art of cooking. I turned a survival skill into a business. While I am still learning presentation, I take complete time with my food. From my seasoning choices to the quality of foods I cook with. I take pride in serving good food. Food brings everyone together. I use my food to not only fill the stomach, but to comfort my people. You sad? I am going to cook. You celebrating? I am going to cook. My business ventures include private catering, pop up shops and catering large events such as birthday parties, wedding etc. It has not always been easy, I have made many mistakes through out the years but the good thing about mistakes is that you learn something new every time. Along with cooking I am also a foster youth advocate. I pay it forward to where I came from. Being in foster care for 7 years showed me how a failed system can severely impact our future generation. I am apart of the change to make the foster system a better system. I started The Experience this year with my co-partner Eclasia. I put together an amazing team and we executed the mission! We created a safe wellness space for foster youth ages 12-18 to come together and enjoy a day that is tailored just for them, for foster by foster. The mission was to send them home with top tier essential items and luggages for if and when they moved homes or transitioned into adulthood. The Experience will be ongoing and we will have many more events for youth in care. My goal in life is to be impactful and I am hoping to be just that.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Week long trip in LA? Food, food, food. We should definitely see what Sky’s Kitchen ( my favorite LA chef) is cooking. After we could stop and get a drink. A new black owned wine bar opened up in Inglewood called IngleWine. I am a wine person and so is my bestfriend. We enjoy good music and smooth vibes. I like to hear 90’s r&b so I would definitely hit up a spot where I can play off a juke box. We are also into escape rooms. My favorite rooms are located in Hollywood. Its called the Escape Room Hotel but do not try level 5 rooms there unless you are quick on your skills because whew, the challenge. We love Monty’s burger in DTLA. It is a vegan burger place and it is fire! Vegan shakes, vegan sauces, vegan burger. You definitely get to go all out on eating with out feeling guilty from to much meat. I have never been to a rage room so that would be on our to do list as well. We love therapeutic fun activities. Da poetry Lounge is opening back up so we would make a stop there. Tuesday night around 6/7 they open their doors to a wide range of artistes. The vibe there is incredible. Great people, great environment.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First I would like to shoutout God because he never lets me fail. I could fall but not hard enough to where I can’t get up. He picks me up every time and pushes me to my greatest potential. Second, I have to give a shoutout to the reason why I am here, my daughter. She is and will always be my greatest accomplishment. I look at her and see the better version of myself. Success to me looks means keeping her happy, properly nurturing her physically and mentally and keeping her life trauma free. The love she gives me is the love I use to dream I had as a child. Unconditional. Thank you Naomi. Lastly, shout out to my friends who turned family. On my worse days they have loved me. There is not enough words to write out how grateful I am for them. God has given me mother figures, sisters, brothers and more. I have been adopted into the arms of some great people. God, my child and my family have played a huge part in where I am in life.