In My Pantry: Shenarri Freeman’s 5 Essentials

Shenarri Freeman is busy. Between re-opening her vegan soul food restaurant Cadence in a larger space in the East Village, her recent residency in Costa Rica and being nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the 2022 Emerging Chef award, Freeman still makes time to cook with intention. Her pantry staples reflect her passion for highlighting fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Processed foods are overrated. I think we’ve become too dependent on them and don’t take the time to appreciate the art of cooking anymore. Not to mention the amount of chemicals pumped into processed foods and lack of nutritional value,” Freeman says. “There’s nothing like cooking with fresh vegetables, herbs, and produce. Nothing.”

Freeman recently hosted her own food station at the James Beard Foundation’s “Taste America: Los Angeles” at the end of July. She’ll be joining J Vineyards for a residency through September and October.

And with that, here are Shenarri Freeman’s five pantry essentials.

Maple Crystals

“This is the perfect natural sugar. I try to stay away from processed foods and sugars. This is a great replacement, not to mention delicious!”

Dijon Mustard 

“I’m obsessed with sauces. Dijon is probably my go to when making salad dressings and other sauces that I pair with dishes.”

Champagne Vinegar 

“Speaking of salad dressings, I always sneak in a little champagne vinegar to jazz it up a bit.”

Chickpea Miso

“A number of my dishes and recipes are soy free. Chickpea miso has been a great replacement for soy-based misos. I typically add this to any broth that I make, especially my collard greens!”

Black Lava Salt

“Every chef has a favorite salt, black lava salt is mine. It’s the perfect finishing touch to any dish, and makes you feel fancy when you have friends over for dinner.”

Photo by Sen Floyd.