By Katherine Hoey



East Side and West Side Dining will get a Southern twist this Tuesday. In honor of Black History Month, Culinart and the Faculty Student Association have partnered to bring African American Guest Chefs this February.


This Special Menu will be available February 11 at the East Side Dining Chef’s Table & West Side Dining International Market from 5pm to 9pm. 


Stop by to meet Georgia-native Mavis-Jay “MJ” Sanders and try her delicious entree which will include chicken thighs smothered in red eye gravy, paired with collard greens, and grits in a secret blend of herbs.


Want to find out about the secret blend of herbs, well join us on February 11 from 5pm to 9pm at East Side Dining.


Red-eye gravy is a staple sauce in Southern cuisine made from a mixture of pan-fried ham drippings and black coffee. While the gravy is usually served over ham, grits and biscuits, Sanders will be modernizing the dish with tender dark meat poultry. 




The entree is a staple in soul food with a Mavis-Jay twist. 


Born into a large southern family, she began mastering cooking before she could even see over the counter. Legend has it, she perfected the pound cake before learning her ABC’s.


Following her parent’s wishes, she received a B.S in hotel and restaurant management from Georgia Southern University in 2010. While in college, her passion for food continued by working in restaurants.


Soon after, she followed her gut and went into the culinary arts, receiving a degree from Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park in 2012.


At the age of 32, Mavis-Jay has made a successful mark in the culinary world already. She takes pride in creating thoughtfully prepared dishes with sustainability raised ingredients.


The chef worked at high-end restaurants like Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown and in Greenwich Village, and the Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art before moving to Los Angeles in 2016 where she was part owner of the award-winning food truck Pico House.


She is a James Beard Chef’s Boot Camp alum, a Chef’s Collaborative scholar, and is frequently a featured chef of the New York’s Queer Soup Night in Brooklyn.


Mavis-Jay felt that high quality food should not equate to a high end luxury. Which is why in 2018 she returned to NYC as the Director of Operations at The Brownsville Community Culinary Center.


The BCCC is a non-profit that provides world class culinary and hospitality training, many of which are free, to marginalized communities in Brooklyn. She aspires to fight for food injustice in low-income and black communities.




The goal of SBU Visiting Chefs is to highlight the beauty in diverse dishes and engage students in new flavors. 


As we continue to bring culture to our food here at Stony Brook, we want to bring in guest chef’s who can share their heritage and bring our campus together.


The guest chefs will continue to take over the kitchen with Brooklyn raised Lindsey Romain coming February 25 from 5-9p.m. at West Side Dining International Market and East Side Dining Chef’s Table.


Follow us on socials to stay up to date.

Instagram: @SBU_eats 

Twitter: @SBUeats 

Facebook: @SBUdining

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