Name: Tinashe “Nash” Wanya-Nya, chef and owner of Project Smoke Catering
Home city: St. Catharines
Chef Tinashe “Nash” Wanya-Nya graduated from Brock University with an honours degree in geography and minor in economics. However, culinary arts and hospitality were his true calling.
His Project Smoke Catering business was born out of a passion for and love of food. His focus is smoked foods. Barbecue is Wanya-Nya’s specialty — ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and brisket.
Project Smoke offers offsite barbecue events, in-house dining with full-service servers, and the dishes all accounted for.
Since the pandemic, working with other local businesses has become even more important for Wanya-Nya. He works out of Commis Culinary Work Space, run by talented chef, Caitlin Bermuhler and her wife, Jess Marshall.
Wanya-Nya also collaborates with Nyarai Cellars for his fine-dining experience, supporting an innovative, virtual winery and the first black-owned winery in Niagara.
Favourite place to grab a coffee?
Whenever I need a coffee or cold drink, I go to Chris at Mahtay Café.
When friends visit from out of town, I always take them to:
My favourite place to take friends when they’re in town is oddBird. Their menu is sophisticated and also delectable.
Favourite cold weather comfort food:
It’s my mom’s perogies and chicken breast soup. Very homey and satisfying. My mom and I buy the perogies at St. Joseph Bakery on Facer Street and halal chicken at Al-Noor Halal Food Market on Geneva Street. Makes the best dish. When I dine out, it’s a curry at Kully’s when in season.
When I need a break from cooking, I:
Play footy. But since I broke my ankle, I enjoy walking my neighbour’s dog.
A local beverage I always have on hand is:
My favourite local beer is always around Halloween: A pumpkin ale at The Merchant Ale House.
A night out with friends includes:
Hot tip for cooking with a smoker?
When cooking with a smoker, patience, care, and attentiveness are key. A change in temperature or lack of spritz can mess up an expensive brisket. But most of all, have passion.
Author: Tiffany Mayer
Follow her on Instagram: @eatingniagara