Columbia chef Kiki Cyrus, of Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles restaurant, is gearing up for a very busy weekend.
In a whirlwind of activity, Cyrus will head to Charleston on Wednesday for opening night festivities at Charleston Wine + Food, then to New York City on Thursday to participate in a Facebook Live event with Rachael Ray, then back to Charleston for more festival events, culminating in Sunday’s Harlem + Hominy brunch.
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Kitwanda, or Kiki, Cyrus, one of four female chefs chosen as S.C. Chef Ambassadors for 2018, opened her restaurant on Aug. 18, 2012. She and her husband, Tyrone, brainstormed concepts for the restaurant before settling on the chicken-and-waffle combination. After opening a brick-and-mortar location on Two Notch, near the Spring Valley subdivision, Cyrus went mobile with a food truck.
In 2016, the restaurant moved to its current location in an out parcel at Columbia Place Mall, at the corner of Two Notch and Parklane roads.
Cyrus is excited to be chosen, along with two other female chefs, to participate with Rachel Ray as a panelist speaking about their culinary journey, the importance of females in the culinary industry and the highs and lows facing female chefs. The Facebook Live event, 4-5 p.m. Thursday is part of a promotion for Rachael Ray Every Day magazine’s March issue, #LIKEABOSS.
“I’m excited to meet Rachael Ray,” Cyrus said. “I see her on television and magazines, and it’s like ‘Wow!, I’ll be in the same room with this woman who has accomplished so much.’ ”
Cyrus says that, in addition to this weekend, one of the high points in her career was when Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Hillary Clinton ate at her restaurant (Biden ordered the red velvet waffles, Clinton had chicken and waffles and unsweetened iced tea).
As part of her role as a S.C. Chef Ambassador, before she leaves for New York City on Thursday, Cyrus will prepare 500 tasting portions of shrimp and grits for Wednesday night in Charleston. Upon her return to South Carolina, she heads back to the Charleston Wine + Food festival for more appearances and Sunday’s (sold out) brunch.