Before COVID, we filmed One Detroit at various restaurants and cafes around the Detroit area, and we always like to talk with the owners and chefs to get a sense of the place. Quiana “Que” Broden runs “The Kitchen by Cooking with Que”on Woodward in Midtown. She’s part teacher, makes vegan food taste delicious, and is all family.
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Christy McDonald You know when you walk into a place and it just feels like home and then the chef comes out and hugs you and calls your family? Well, that’s what it’s like when you walk into The Kitchen with Cooking with Que on Woodward in Detroit. Kianna Broden specializes in plant-based dishes and people asked her so many times how to make certain things that she turned her place into a sort of performance kitchen so you can enjoy and learn at the same time. And her energy is contagious.
Quiana Broden, Owner & CEO, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que My goal was not to be a chef, it was not to open up a restaurant, I got sick. I found out I had stage four sarcoidosis right before I turned 30 and then I was allergic to dairy at the same time. It was like the end of the world, you know what happens when you get sick, everybody googles it, they go to WebMD.
Christy McDonald Right, exactly, we’re instantly wearing a white coat. We’re like, now I got he answers.
Quiana Broden, Owner & CEO, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que I’m like, okay, now I’m going to figure this out, and everything is plant based. So, I knew I had to just drop everything cold turkey. Like, there was no like, oh well, wait, because I had munchkins and my brain was like, I don’t want to kill myself, I want to live. So, I got to figure out what I got to do, so I started wanting to make everything that I would eat normally, plant based. People ask me so many times, “Que how did you change your diet, how did you change your diet, how do you change your diet?” I was like, I’m going to create a website and I will show you all the recipes I make so you don’t have to think twice about it. Que how did you make this? Boink, here it is! I made mac and cheese! That’s like the crowd favorite in our family, right? How do you make a vegan mac and cheese? I made a vegan mac and cheese literally the day I pushed post the vegan mac and cheese. The next day I got a call from Veg Michigan saying they had a festival, and the person was supposed to be doing a vegan mac and cheese was backing out and they needed me to the vegan mac and cheese.
Christy McDonald You feel like you’ve got some, you’ve got some spiritual intervention here.
Quiana Broden, Owner & CEO, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que All day! That’s where it come from, it’s not me. I cannot take credit for this.
Christy McDonald So you start telling people just what you’re doing and sharing it with them. They start doing it and then the idea becomes, I got to get a place.
Quiana Broden, Owner & CEO, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que Yeah, because you make a blog for people to see the recipes, but then they’re like, show me how to make the recipes. So, I wanted to show people how to make the food, people learn in a comfortable environment. They learn better at home or when they’re in a space where it’s intimate, not too many people. There’s not a thousand people that can fit in here, because it’s not about the money for me. It’s about making sure that I connect with the person that wants to learn how to eat better.
Christy McDonald So where did you get the funding?
Quiana Broden, Owner & CEO, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que I apply for everything that you can get. Sue Mosey and the people in Midtown Detroit, and they’re my landlords. I emailed her probably every day for like 90 days. And it was like, hey, you know I’m doing this around the city. Hey, I really would love to be in Midtown. Hey, this would be great! People in the suburbs were like blasting me like, we will pay for your build up, build it in the suburbs. But I was born and raised in Detroit and this is not something that they would put in the city of Detroit. When I was little, they never brought me to a place like this. I wanted to put it in the city of Detroit so I could bring people to see what you can be you can do this in Detroit!
Christy McDonald So I walk in the space and it’s bright, it’s happy. There’s just a, there’s a different kind of vibe here and when we walked in, you said, “hey, family.” And I’ve watched a bunch of stuff online from you and you’re like, “hey, family.” What is it about that greeting? What is it about the people that walk in the door here that is family to you?
Quiana Broden, Owner & CEO, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que It has to feel like home, like for me, for us, our entire family, we are very close knit, it’s family. Family helps family. So, when people came to this space, I wanted them to feel like they were at home and I wanted them to feel like it was a part of family. So, I’m like a walk around like you own the place. So, can meat eaters coexist peacefully with the plant-based eaters? Yeah, I think that’s why people like me. It’s like, let me just show you how you can eat better not telling you can’t have everything. I’m just saying make sure you focus on what you eat. No matter what it is, no matter what avenue you come from. We just want you to learn how to eat better.