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Meet The Chefs

Coda’s Kitchen

Jamaican Soul Food

Meet the Chef: DeCoda Reese of Coda’s Kitchen

Chef DeCoda Reese has held a love of food in her entire being since childhood, when her family’s Jamaican heritage met American Soul Food in her mother’s kitchen. DeCoda remembers, “My mom made a cherry cheesecake on my 7th birthday, and it was so simple. It was the Jello Cheesecake out of the box. I think it was just the fact that she made it after work and replicated the picture on the box so well that this memory to this day sticks with me forever. My love of food grew from that very moment.”

DeCoda’s mom and grandmother taught her to cook starting early: “I always spent my play time in the kitchen from age 8. Her mom is still a huge influence on DeCoda, and sends her positive messages and encouragement every day as she works to open Coda’s Kitchen in the Pacific Northwest.

Coda’s Kitchen originally was meant to launch and grow in Georgia, but (luckily for us) life brought her and her immediate family to South King County, where she discovered Spice Bridge.

We spoke with DeCoda about her business, her cuisine, and what it’s like to start a food business.


What type of cuisine do you offer?

Authentic Caribbean Soul Food: Jamaican dishes with a Southern influence.

How did you find out about Food Innovation Network and Spice Bridge?

“I came into Spice Bridge one day during Women’s [History] Month and my bank had a deal with a few female entrepreneurs that allowed women to dine for free. I had the pleasure of enjoying a meal made by Jolorene’s Kitchen, one of the cohorts who operate out of Spice Bridge and I told her about myself and that I was a private chef and had a catering company that I put on hold during COVID. She gave me information about the program and that’s how this all began.” Jolorene’s Sushi Bake and Chicken Stew are still DeCoda’s favorite dishes from other food businesses in the incubator program. “I’m a big fan of sushi and this was a creative take on a classic salmon roll but offered as a bowl and was so filling and delicious.”

What’s your favorite dish to cook and why?

“Macaroni & Cheese. I’ve learned so many ways to make it but have finally locked down my own special way of making this dish and it has been so well received by so many people. If I don’t bring this as a side for the holidays, my family slightly disowns me for the day.”

What special dish would you like to share with us today?

Jerk Chicken/ Oxtail, rice & peas, cabbage, festival: This is a two-day process because we allow the ingredients need to marinate the meat overnight to give it that flavor that speaks truth to our cuisine. Oxtail is cow tail meat, that is broken down into 1-inch pieces, sometimes larger, and is traditionally prepared in a braised/stewed method. It marinates overnight in a blend of fresh herbs, scotch bonnet peppers, onions, vegetables. Seared at a high heat to caramelize the marinate and then braised for about four hours with butter beans added an hour before the stew is completed. Jerk chicken is smoked to enhance the heat element in the scotch bonnet but rounding it out with those warm notes from the fresh cinnamon, allspice, clove, ginger. A lot of the ingredients used are from the land. I have a few herbs and vegetables that are grown in my garden as spices for my menu.”

What are your dreams for the future?

“To be successful in my business, financial freedom and being a great role model for my kids. Hard work, consistency and integrity keeps me motivated and by showing them that they can do whatever they put their minds to with this concept, will take them far in life.”

Coda’s Kitchen will be offering catering, will vend at festivals and farmers markets, and DeCoda is considering opening a kiosk at Spice Bridge.