An SOTBInterview with Lola Marie of Big Hair Big Appetite

(Ed. Note: ICYMI on Twitter, I’ll say it again. The era of interviewing porn stars and the like is over. That was cool, but I’m on a new wave. If you want that type of old ish, in the paraphrased words of Jay Z, buy my old albums)

Now that my editor’s note is out of the way, let me say that I love watching people’s glo-ups, especially if I know them on a personal level. This is why I always say to support dope music in all its forms. Sometimes, the glo-up happens by chance. Sometimes, it’s sparked by a lack of something in a place that needs it. Lola Marie’s Big Hair Big Appetite is an example of the latter. I’ve known the Baltimore native a good chunk of my life, having gone to high school with her. She’s always had big dreams and awesome aspirations. Plus, she’s always been Black AF and a Leo, so what’s not to love?

// Hair Big Appetite was created to give a voice to Black Women in the food service industry, a place where there often isn’t a safe place for Black Women. Its name is a perfect description for Lola, as her hair is big and beautiful and her appetite for food and new things is just as big. Having been in the restaurant industry for about twelve years, Lola is well-versed in her food and the industry as a whole. Opting not to give the “frills and fluff” of most foodie blogs, Lola Marie’s vision comes from a special place, even more so than just representation.

I always would watch the Travel Channel with my dad and he would always say I needed to figure out how to get myself out there.

Spurred on by her father and the irritation of seeing mostly white men on these shows, Lola decided to do something different. Instead of being a Columbus to culturally rich places, she wanted to immerse herself in various cultures without the culture-vulture stereotype. She’s not for inviting folks to the cookout just because they seem cool and tried a new dish. In fact, she believes that there shouldn’t be any invites–period–until the neighborhoods and communities where these “cookouts” are being held are “healed and given the capital to fix them.”

“Keep their raisins to themselves,” she says.

It’s that bluntness which makes the blog unique is that. It is completely unfiltered, uncensored, and 100% authentic Lola Marie. It’s Black AF but also real AF.

“I curse a lot, I eat a lot, I like trying new things–all that,” she mentioned when I asked about her influences while giving a shout out to The Boy With The Blue Beard. She aspires to “bring Big Hair Big Appetite to the homes and hearts of everyone missing Anthony Bourdain.” That hit me because that void needs to be filled by someone, someway. And while she admits those are big shoes to fill, she’s up for the challenge because of her tenacity and compassion learned through her years in the restaurant industry.

“The restaurant industry…showed me true compassion for strangers,” Lola said while talking about her experiences. “You never know anyone’s story. If they’re having a bad day or a hard time, it’s imperative to be kind and patient.” That compassion spills over to her blog in bunches and how she interacts with everyone she comes across, from patrons to bartenders and everyone in between.

Between her experiences and her father, who was a great man based on her stories, Lola’s one that’s been set up for greatness.

Lola showcasing her tattoo dedicated to her father

“My dad loved food. A lot. He took me to one of the Man Vs. Food places with the HUGE pizza. He had no problem with trying new things and he always encouraged me to find my passion. He was a very compassionate man and always tried to help as many people as he could.”

Being a foodie myself, I had to ask Lola about some of her favorite spots.

“The brunch at Cava is not to be missed. If you’re in the mood for oysters, Lib’s Grill is incredible–plus they’re a favorite of mind for drinks and other food, too. Hand pies by Chef Amanda Mack are the best. Cocktails from Rye in Fell’s Point are crazy good. And tacos? I absolutely love the street tacos from R&R Taqueria. They have the most delicious and flavorful tacos in the Baltimore area.”

And then, I got schooled on tapas.

“I love Rye for their drinks and tapas-style plates. I hate saying ‘tapas,’ though. After actually trying real tapas in Madrid, America doesn’t have tapas. We have small plates for expensive-ass prices,”

After getting some more recommendations for food, both here and abroad (Paris has the “best damn cheese” and New Orleans is “incredible” for their food and bar culture), we started to talk about her own cooking endeavors.

“I consider myself a wannabe chef,” she said. “I’m a home cook learning as I taste an experiment. My first catering event went over like gangbusters. I was so happy. I want to show people that cooking good food and making good drinks at home can be just as–or even more–fun as eating out.” Agreeing that tipping is a must, we concurred that a great night in can also be better on the pockets if you don’t have the budget for eating out at all times.

Big Hair Big Appetite is the result of a vision, execution, Blackness, and love.

“I hope my voice makes a difference. Being a novice myself, my advice to fellow up-and-comers would be to not overthink what it is you want to do. It may seem like ‘the market is oversaturated,’ but you won’t know if your voice will also make a difference. If mine doesn’t, at least I actually tried and I loved it.”

If you’re in the mood for authentic foodie vibes from someone who knows the real Baltimore, check out Lola and Big Hair Big Appetite and remember to support dope artistry (and food) in all its forms.

Speed on the Beat

Whatever you need to know about me, you can find out on Dad of two, cat dad (of two), mental health advocate, Team Support Dope Music in All Its Forms.

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