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Chris Brooks

Soul Food
Richmond, Virginia

Barb GillespieChris Brooks was born and raised in Richmond, learning traditional cooking through the women in his family: mother, aunts, and grandmas, who have a shared knack for combining the right ingredients. His earliest cooking memories are of these women preparing meals. “In the South, dinners would be done big, on Sundays, usually at your grandmother's house,” Chris recalls. “My interest came from the smells, the noise... and then I had to be active and learn to crack eggs, run a mixer, and be able to feed myself.” Cooking was more of a necessity than passion in his early adulthood, and he devoted much of his time to working as a DJ and later a television and radio host. Chris came to appreciate the rhythmic parallels between cooking and his work as a DJ, and he soon began devoting more time to developing his culinary talents. For the past 15 years, Chris has been employed by Croaker's Spot in Richmond. A family-run business that started in Richmond's historic Jackson Ward neighborhood, the restaurant prides itself on preparing seafood in the style of soul food. It is also beloved for its seafood chili, alfredos, sautéed dishes, cornbread, and of course, some of the best fried fish in town.