Chef Shanita Bryant, the queen of modern Southern cuisine in Kansas City, has announced that she will be cooking things up inside Renee Kelly’s Caenen Castle in Shawnee, Kansas starting this month.

Bryant, who rocketed to local fame for her win on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, is now in business with Kelly, the first chef in Kansas City to appear on Bravo’s Top Chef, and the two could not be happier about the arrangement.

“We met through a mutual friend, and we talked about our businesses, and how we were both in the process of rebranding and refocusing our careers,” Bryant says. “She mentioned that she had closed her restaurant Harvest to focus on some new projects, and I had been looking for a space to host cooking classes, pop-up dinners and weekend brunches, so I just asked her if she would be interested in letting me rent the castle space from her.”

Bryant’s first event in the castle will be an open house on Tuesday, August 21, followed by a pop-up wine dinner on Saturday, August 25; on September 1 she will be hosting her a Labor Day brunch pop up.

“I'm really looking at this space as a place to play, host collaboration events with other chefs and create catered events for my clients,” says Bryant. “Who wouldn’t want to cook in a beautiful castle like this?”

Bryant is looking forward to pushing her culinary boundaries even further with pop ups than she has been able to do in her catering business, which was built on the success of her most popular Southern dishes from her original restaurant menu at the now-shuttered Magnolia’s. She has taken those favorite dishes and parlayed them into a steady catering business, one that keeps her busy but also allows her to spend time with her family, including her young daughter.

“I'm not looking to have a full-time restaurant job at this point in my career. I already have a full-time job: I'm a mom with a 4-year-old daughter,” says Bryant.

Bryant is currently booking dates to cater fall and holiday parties at the castle; for more information about her upcoming pop-up’s at the castle or to book her for your next catered event, go to shanitamcafeebryant.com.

 Caenen Castle, 12401 Johnson Dr., Shawnee, Kansas, 913.631.4100, reneekellysharvest.com

Jenny is Feast's contributing editor for Kansas City. She brakes for chef's coats.

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