Photos courtesy of Leotha Stanley

Students and staff who frequent the Edgewood College dining room may wonder why the food is so tasty.  Well, it’s partly due to the passion and dedication of Monica Warren, a seasoned (pun intended) chef with 27 years of experience.  Monica is deemed an unsung hero as her prepared food gets more attention than she does.  The UMOJA staff wants to shine a light on one of many who may be in the shadows of other attention getters.    

At an early age, Monica developed skills in the kitchen, learning how to create a variety of dishes.  After high school, she attended the Baltimore Culinary College where she earned an associate degree in culinary arts. After college, her culinary education paved the way for a diverse and enriching career that saw her working in various restaurants and hotels, mastering the craft of creating delectable dishes that delighted diners from all walks of life. In 2007, a new chapter unfolded in Monica’s culinary journey as she transitioned to cooking for the college education system. For nearly a decade, Monica showcased her culinary talents at Towson University, where her culinary creations garnered praise and admiration from students and faculty alike. 

The year 2016 marked a significant milestone for Monica as she made a bold decision to relocate from Baltimore, Maryland, to Madison, Wisconsin. This move to Edgewood College was not just a career shift, but a leap of faith driven by her family’s well-being. Her husband, Terence Warren, played a crucial role in this decision, conducting thorough research on the cost of living between Baltimore and Madison to ensure a smooth transition for their family. For the past eight years, Monica has been an integral part of the culinary team at Edgewood College, where she serves as a cook. This position holds a special place in her heart, as it not only allows her to showcase her culinary skills but also provides her with valuable time to spend with her family—a priority that Monica cherishes deeply. At Edgewood College, Monica found a welcoming community among the students who embraced her from day one. The support and appreciation she receives from students has been a source of motivation and joy, fueling her passion for cooking and inspiring her to create memorable dining experiences. Whether she is cooking at home or in a professional kitchen, Monica’s creativity and love for food shine through in every dish she prepares.   

While Monica’s fans rave about her signature dishes, such as spaghetti dinners, salads, and sandwiches, it’s seeing her children make their own pizzas at home that gives her much joy.  Her son, Jeremiah has embraced cooking, mastering the art of preparing breakfast meals, spaghetti, and hard-boiled eggs. Her daughter, Aaliyah and husband also lend a helping hand, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in their kitchen. 

In addition to home and Edgewood college, you can find Monica preparing food on various occasions at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  It is there where she has expanded her fan base, receiving multiple requests for her signature salad pans.

Looking ahead, Monica envisions owning her own business—a dream that centers around offering heart-healthy meals on the south side of Madison. With a focus on salads, grains, and nutritious foods, Monica aims to promote wellness and healthy eating in the community.   As Monica Warren continues to inspire and delight with her culinary talents, her journey stands as a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and the joy of sharing delicious meals with those she cares about. In every dish she creates, Monica’s love for cooking shines brightly, leaving a lasting impression on all who have the pleasure of savoring her tasty creations.