Food Meets Fashion: A Day in the Life of Tanorria Askew

PATTERN had the pleasure of chatting with MasterChef finalist, Indianapolis resident, and shoe fanatic Tanorria Askew. Tanorria walked us through a day in her life, and we dressed her up in some of our fall favorites that would fit all aspects of her day.

Photography: Elese Hacker
Art Direction + Interview: Aubrey Smith
Styling: DaNisha Greene
Hair: Christian Massey

What about shoe fashion sparks your interest? Favorite shoe style/trend?

I love shoes because they always fit! Being a curvy girl makes it hard finding clothes that fit all of my curves sometimes. Shoes never fail me. I also love how a shoe can totally change the mood of an outfit. A basic pair of jeans and t-shirt can go from causal to dressy just by changing your shoes. Shoes can also give an outfit that pop of color it needs. I love playing with colorful shoes!

How did MasterChef change your personal style, if at all?

We were fortunate enough to have an amazing wardrobe team on the set of MasterChef. Those talented women made me feel beautiful every day! They also never made me feel like being a curvy girl was a problem. They loved my complexion so we played with a lot of color when it came to my clothing. I love skinny jeans, so I was fortunate enough to wear them all the time. I don’t always wear bright colors, so they definitely changed my perspective on wearing more color. I had a bright color on every episode, whether it was on the top or the bottom. I was also fortunate enough to bring a large collection of NoonDay Jewlery.  They allowed me to have fun and spice things up a bit with earrings and necklaces—as long as it didn’t get in the way of my mic!

What’s your morning routine, and what garb do you throw on to achieve your pre-workday task list?

I usually go from my bed to my kitchen first thing in the morning. I’m either answering e-mails before I head off to meetings or I’m assessing things in the kitchen while writing grocery lists and menus. I try to start my day off comfortable. It’s important to keep in mind that I have meetings and other things to do during the day. I’m most comfortable in leggings, an oversized tunic, and flats. If I don’t plan to leave the house that day, it’s yoga pants and a t-shirt!

Dress: So Anxious Clothing
Chambray: So Anxious Clothing
Shoes: Merona
Jewelry: Cheeky Couture

What are some interesting fashion and food collaborations that you’ve seen recently?

My MasterChef experience really taught me about putting art on a plate. I don’t consider myself a fine dining chef, but MasterChef definitely made me want to learn more and do better in that area. There is a huge opportunity to use fashion influences when plating your food. For example, always remembering to include a pop of color in your outfit and your plate. Keeping in mind that sometimes less is more when it comes to layers or accessorizing can also translate to plating. Food and fashion collaborate all the time. We just don’t know it! As someone who loves food and appreciates fashion, I try to look for that more often after my experience on MasterChef.

As a fan favorite, do you have any future plans with MasterChef?

The outpouring of love and support when I was eliminated was amazing, so I sure hope so! I don’t have anything on the books yet, but I would love to be invited back as a MasterChef All Star. Whether it be to return for an episode (or season), or aboard the MasterChef Cruise, I would LOVE it if they had a season that was MasterChef Redemption. I’d be all over that!

Compare the qualities you look for in a preparing outfit to a serving outfit.

The outfit I wear to prepare a meal can get pretty messy, even with an apron, so I have to wear something moveable and washable. The kitchen can get hot, and I’m usually trying to preserve my hair, so I want to wear something that is breathable as well. My shoe game is not that exciting when I’m preparing a meal. I’m usually in some kind of slip-resistant tennis shoe because that’s safest. When I’m serving a meal, I prefer something to go along with the occasion. It may be jeans and a t-shirt, or it may be a dress. There’s room for spills and messes when serving a meal as well, so I have to be able to wash it and be able to move because I’m usually going back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen.

Top: So Anxious Clothing
Denim: YIF Distressed Denim
Shoes: Chuck Taylor
Jewelry: Cheeky Couture

What’s a piece in your closet that your fans would be surprised you own?

That’s a tough one! I would have to say hats. I have a lot of fedora hats. It was during a phase when I was growing my hair out, and hated it. I bought several fedora hats and wore them all the time. I will still wear one now, but definitely not as often.

What are some interesting fashion and food collaborations that you’ve seen recently?

My MasterChef experience really taught me about putting art on a plate. I don’t consider myself a fine dining chef, but MasterChef definitely made me want to learn more and do better in that area. There is a huge opportunity to use fashion influences when plating your food. For example, always remembering to include a pop of color in your outfit and your plate. Keeping in mind that sometimes less is more when it comes to layers or accessorizing can also translate to plating. Food and Fashion collaborate all the time. We just don’t know it! As someone who loves food and appreciates fashion, I try to look for that more often after my experience on MasterChef.

Indianapolis is really starting to develop a rep for doing some very interesting things in the food scene. How would you like to see the city further develop the scene?

I am super excited to see the food scene evolve in Indy. I’d love to see more diversity in the cuisine. Especially in surrounding counties. It’s so hard to find good southern comfort food or soul food in Hamilton County! It would also be amazing to see a Community Café develop in Indianapolis. Bon Jovi has an amazing model in New Jersey where everyone is able to eat a three course meal whether they can pay for it or not. They are served with dignity and respect and provided a meal with quality fresh ingredients. That’s really the heart of my desire to cook and feed people. I want to see people who aren’t able to experience good quality food enjoy an amazing meal.

Name key items your wear on a night out.

When I’m going on a night out, I must have a fabulous pair of heels. It’s usually the only time I wear them, due to my line of work. I also love to have some kind of bold jewelry. There’s usually a pair of cute flats in the car in case I don’t make it the whole night in my heels.

Top: Nikki Blaine Couture
Pant: Nikki Blaine Couture
Shoes: Pierre Phillip Apparel & Shoes
Jewelry: Cheeky Couture

What’s your favorite fall fashion trending you’re excited to wear?

Last year I was very anti-booties, but now I’m obsessed with them. I actually need to finally buy a pair…. or two!

What are fall flavors you’re excited to introduce to your dishes?

I’m kind of into all things orange right now. Sweet Potatoes. Butternut Squash. Pumpkin. I was also really excited to see fresh cranberries in the grocery store the other day. This time of year is my favorite for cooking because everything is prepared low and slow which develops amazing flavor. People are also willing to spend more time in the kitchen so there are more homemade things being made. If I could pour browned butter sauce on everything I make, I’d be a happy girl!

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