There’s a new chef in town! We sat down to learn about Tot’s Spot with its creator, Ta’te Hinds.
What are the origins of your culinary practice?
My love for cooking goes back to the 5-year-old me watching Emeril Live with my grandmother. The first time I heard him yell BAM! as he tossed seasonings in the skillet, I knew that I wanted to be a chef. After that, I made it my mission to get into the kitchen whenever the opportunity arose. I’ve taken culinary courses throughout high school and college. Currently, I am a culinarian for The Ross School of Business, which allows me the opportunity to work under amazingly talented chefs and learn new techniques every day.
Tell us about the menu you’re currently working with.
As of right now, Tot’s Spot is only making chicken & waffle sliders with a side of Cajun seasoned fries. This happens to be one of my favorite guilty pleasures and I wanted to share it with the world. With increasing popularity, we plan to expand the menu, but chicken & waffle sliders will always be available.
What are your dreams for Tot’s Spot? Or do you envision it more as a temporary experiment/intervention?
Tot’s Spot started as an experiment with my best friend and business partner, DeAndre Slappy. We received so much unforeseen love and support that we’ve been opening every Saturday since January 28. We like the idea of having a pop-up restaurant but a food truck is our ultimate goal.
There’s a recognition among many folks that Ypsilanti is lacking in Black-owned and -operated eating establishments. What kind of supports do you think Tot’s Spot—or any other new dining/drinking project originated by people of color—needs in order to successfully begin to address this lack?
A chance. If people just gave us and others a fair chance they might find that they enjoy the food and/or the people running the operation.
When’s the next time we can eat at Tot’s Spot?
This Sunday we’re having a meet-and-greet mixer during Beezy’s brunch hours, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. The main focus this week is to win over some new customers by offering samples, the opportunity to pick our brains a little bit, and give some suggestions for future menu items. We don’t have a set price for this week’s mixer but donations are suggested.