Made in Idaho: Cooking with heart and soul; savory and sweet comfort foods

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 09:47:47-04

BOISE, Idaho — Savory and sweet. That’s the kind of soul food Yvonne Anderson-Thomas has been serving the Treasure Valley for over a decade.

Anderson-Thomas, a certified pastry, and culinary chef is the owner and sole operator of her food truck, “Brown Shuga Soul Food.”

If you ask Anderson-Thomas what she wanted to be as a little girl, she’ll tell you didn’t think she’d be a chef. Her career in food began baking her son birthday cakes. Yvonne says, “other mothers were like wait a minute can you make our kids birthday cake, and then I outgrew my kitchen.”

In 1999, she opened her bakery in Mountain Home, and that’s where she started gathering food experience as a professional. But soul food is where she pours her heart and South Carolina roots, “I attribute soul food as a family tradition and what we grew up on. Our tradition was having Sunday dinners at grandmas house after church.”

Her smoked turkey legs, rice, beans, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and so much more, these southern staples brought crowds to the Brown Shuga Soul Food bus until the outbreak of COVID-19.

Since the pandemic struck the Gem State, Anderson-Thomas temporarily suspended operations, “with all the festivals canceling all of us food trucks are like scrambling like okay, that’s the bread-and-butter of our business.”

Unlike other food trucks in the area, Yvonne tells us that running her food truck is not cost-effective, and she’s concerned about wasting food. Right now, she’s toying with the idea of catering and “take n’ bake meals,” but nothing is set in stone, “this food truck is my life I do this full-time, not a part-time gig.”

As time passes, so does the opportunity to make money. The food truck is Yvonne’s full-time job, and without work, she’s losing money. But thanks to a friend, Yvonne recently learned about a Facebook fundraiser in her honor. In three days, the community has raised over $9,000 to keep “Brown Shuga Soul Food” afloat during these uncertain times. Yvonne tells Idaho News 6, It means a lot to me I put my heart and sweat and tears into this business. I’m just really thankful to the community, and I think the treasure Valley is the best.”

With plenty of ideas in the works, Yvonne encourages you to keep an eye out for the latest updates on her Facebook page.