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Friday, June 12, 2020

Coconut Rice & Peas | A Recipe from Shayla Felton-Dorsey


This spring, Interfaith Philadelphia issued a call for recipes for the Crafting Community Project’s South Philly Cookbook. We are featuring some of those submissions in the run up to the new deadline, which is now June 20th. If you live, work, worship, or volunteer in the neighborhood, please share a recipe or reflection on food and community here. For a taste of the cookbook flavors now, check out this feature below!  

SHAYLA FELTON- DORSEY is a passionate Philadelphia chef whose focus is on the relationship between food and culture. Shayla’s 'cooking gene’ comes from being raised in a family of restaurateurs that includes the late Queen of Soul Food, Sylvia Woods of Sylvia’s Restaurant, and Chef Melba Wilson of Melba's restaurant in Harlem. Formerly a New Yorker, Shayla now calls Philadelphia home. 

Shayla incorporates combating food insecurity along with creativity, reducing food waste and being plant forward with her recipes. She has been featured in Movitos Magazine and in Edible Philly Magazine facilitating a pro plant-based class, and on Spiritual Connect Radio, as a voice for her community. In 2017, Shayla was certified as a Community Chef Educator with Just Food; an organization that pioneers food justice and advocates for sustainable agriculture.

In 2018, she launched Shayla's Savour, personal chef service, whose signature is curating intimate experiences that feature global cuisine, transporting her guests all around the globe. She received her certification in 2019 from the National Council for Behavioral Health in Youth Mental First Aid and partnered with the Free Library Philadelphia to facilitate Self-Care Workshops for “One Book, One Philadelphia” on topics at the intersection of health and nutrition. Shayla is the president of the Philadelphia chapter of “Just Call Me Chef”, which is a sisterhood of mentoring and networking among African-American women chefs.  

Shayla provided delicious, plant forward recipes for the South Philly Cookbook. Check out our Instagram stories under Highlights, labeled “Recipes!” to see her demonstration and ingredients for a summery peanut butter banana shake. Here’s another Shayla’s Savour recipe that’s a perfect way to use some fresh thyme growing in the pot on your windowsill. Or, pick up a bunch of thyme at your local farmers’ market. 




 4 cups long-grain rice, rinsed well

 5 1/2 cups water

 2 cups coconut milk

 3 to 4 cups pigeon peas, cooked and drained (Can substitute with Red Kidney Beans)

 1 cup scallions, chopped

 8 sprigs thyme

 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, whole

 1/4 cup olive oil (Can substitute with any oil)

 Salt to taste



  1. Over high heat in a heavy-bottomed stock pot, combine and stir all the ingredients. 

  2. Bring to a boil uncovered, then reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, rice should be cooked.

You can find Shayla on the following platforms:

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