S1 EP 9: Tiffani Faison Has Her Head and Heart in the Restaurant Game


You might be surprised to learn that the chef who brought us Southern soul food staple Sweet Cheeks Q is also at the helm of Tiger Mama, an Asian fusion spot—but Tiffani Faison’s food enthusiasm knows no bounds. Frequent relocation within the US during her childhood and extensive travels in Southeast Asia have inspired the creative chef, a 2006 Top Chef runner-up with experience working for the likes of Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse. With the opening of Sweet Cheeks in 2011 and Tiger Mama in 2015, followed by the bar Fool’s Errand in 2018 and the upscale Italian-American spot Orfano in 2019, she’s played a major role in transforming the Fenway neighborhood into a dining destination. 

Tiffani Faison compares working in restaurant kitchens to playing “the weirdest sport on earth.” If the popular and critical success of her ever-expanding Big Heart Hospitality Group is any indication, it’s fair to say she’s winning. Faison didn’t grow up tugging on a grandmother’s apron strings, she got a peek at the chaos of kitchen life working as a busser for Todd English, and felt an inexplicable tug to jump into the game. We talk about getting crushed learning to cook on the line, how she ended up in sports bar-filled Fenway, and why declining to open her “Look at me I’m a Big Deal Chef,” restaurant was the best decision ever.

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Thank you to our season 1 sponsor, Winestyr.

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