Chef Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, and Fool’s Errand, has made a name for herself nationwide for her dynamic personality, fierce work ethic and distinct ability to create restaurants that are warm, creative, and instantly lovable.
Faison began her career working under such renowned chefs as Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse, Todd English and Tony Maws. In 2006, early into her career, she was cast on the very first season of Bravo’s Top Chef, and placed as runner-up. From there, she worked in prestigious kitchens in Nantucket, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco before returning to Boston in 2010 to become Executive Chef of Southern Italian restaurant, Rocca Kitchen & Bar. After transforming Rocca into a critically acclaimed dining destination with a three star review from The Boston Globe, she set her sights on creating her own restaurant.
She opened Sweet Cheeks Q in 2011 during the very early stages of Fenway’s revitalization. Drawing inspiration from her love of Southern barbecue and extensive travels in Texas, Sweet Cheeks became an instant hit for its laidback Southern charm and addictive offerings. Shortly after opening, Sweet Cheeks garnered a three-star review from The Boston Globe, and it has since been awarded “Boston’s Best Barbecue” numerous times by Boston magazine. Forbes deemed its biscuits the “Best Biscuits in the World.” Sweet Cheeks uniquely attracts the young professionals moving into the neighborhood’s new developments at lighting speed, the Red Sox fans who come to Fenway religiously, and guests from near and far who are simply seeking the city’s best ‘cue.
In December 2015, Faison expanded on her culinary skills, creativity and business savvy with a new restaurant: Tiger Mama. The seeds of the new restaurant, which is also in Fenway on the same block as Sweet Cheeks , were planted during her travels to Southeast Asia. Tiger Mama offers a chic, tropical-meets-urban atmosphere and a menu that journeys through Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, offering Faison’s unique stamps on timeless dishes. The goal at Tiger Mama was not to aim for authenticity, but to playfully interpret traditional recipes while maintaining their intricate, crave-able flavors.
Opening the restaurant in Fenway, a neighborhood that is so rich in history yet so ripe with growth and an area that Faison has contributed to so greatly since opening Sweet Cheeks, gives Tiger Mama all the more meaning. From a chef who pours her heart and soul into each project, Tiger Mama sets a new benchmark, both for Faison’s career and Boston’s dining culture. In its April 19, 2016 review The Boston Globe agreed, calling Tiger Mama “a spectacular restaurant” with dishes that you’ll “take to the grave” and hospitality that “feels generous and natural.”
On August 16, 2018, Faison opened her third restaurant – an adult snack bar called Fool’s Errand. With an irreverent menu and an intimate, standing-room only experience, Fool’s Errand will neighbor Sweet Cheeks Q and Tiger Mama on Boylston Street in Boston’s Fenway. The snack forward menu works with top quality, luxurious ingredients to deliver irreverent bites. Classic American cocktails, done beautifully and with care, join a rotating list of internationally sourced wines and aperitifs.
Marking her many culinary achievements, in 2018 the James Beard Foundation nominated Faison as Best Chef: Northeast and Boston magazine awarded her “Best Chef: General Excellence” in its 2016 “Best of Boston” issue. In November 2016, the Boston Business Journal named her to its 2016 Power 50 list, “The Game Changers,” celebrating individuals from Boston’s multiple industries and professions who are making a difference in their business communities.
Outside of the kitchen, Faison has been a frequent judge on Food Network’s Chopped and Chopped Grill Masters, and has competed on Top Chef All-Stars. She has made frequent appearances on NBC’s TODAY, CBS This Morning, PBS’s Simply Ming and was Host of “Tiffani’s Taste” and “Food Truck Friday” on New England Cable News. She has been a contributing chef to numerous cookbooks and has been widely featured in such national outlets as SELF, Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated and Food & Wine.
Faison lives in Jamaica Plain with her wife and business partner Kelly Walsh and furry kids. She is a tireless advocate of LGBT human rights.