#077 – Daphne Maxwell Reid: Soulful Food, Open Doors, & Fresh Prince

  • September 18, 2018


I am so excited to be kicking off season two with an absolutely delightful guest: Daphne Maxwell Reid – AKA Aunt Vivian from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And as you’ll learn in this episode, Daphne is so much more than just Aunt Viv.


But before I get into Daphne’s incredible story, I want to share a little bit more about why I decided to start season two of the show. It wasn’t just for a fun Summer break – I went to Costa Rica for that 😉 – it was so that I could make the show even better and introduce a few changes. Speaking of which…


Just Forking Around now has two more episodes every month! In the new bite-size Friday Forkisodes, I will be not just reviewing but celebrating my favorite restaurants in the LA area. I’ll paint a word picture of everything you will experience in the restaurant: the colors, the smells, the lines, the vibe, the energy, the company, and of course, the food! So even if you don’t live in LA, it’ll be just a forking good story, without the trappings of a traditional restaurant review.


“Everything that you do is basically walking through another door, and either the door closes or it remains open. It represents opportunity and adventure and curiosity, and it’s just a metaphor for life! So I continue to take pictures of doors and portals and try to share that philosophy.” –Daphne Maxwell Reid


Now, back to today’s pioneering guest: Daphne Maxwell Reid! This woman is inspirational, motivational, and a true Renaissance woman. She’s the author of five books ( a cookbook called Grace + Soul & Mother Wit and four books featuring doors around the world), a seamstress who created of the Daphne Style clothing line, a photographer with “Fresh Prints,” and obviously an accomplished actor.


So if you thought Aunt Vivian was cool, just wait until you learn more about Daphne Maxwell Reid!


“You can find out why you should be in the kitchen, you should find out how to bring your family together over the table… and you can find recipes and stories from the people from whom I got those recipes!” –Daphne Maxwell Reid


We chat about:

  • The Maxwell dinner table growing up: conversation and community
  • What you’ll find in Grace + Soul & Mother Wit: A Cookbook Spiced with Personal Memories
  • What is mother wit?
  • Enjoying the tastes of different cultures
  • Expressing love through food
  • Growing heritage seeds on her Virginia farm & supporting other small, family farms
  • Setting up a pantry & kitchen for everyday use
  • The power of a bowl of guacamole
  • Enhancing her mother’s waffle recipe
  • Traveling around the world
  • Why Daphne is fascinated with doors
  • Daphne’s pioneering experiences at Northwestern, during the civil rights movement, and beyond
  • Why Daphne is such a strong supporter or Virginia State University
  • Working with Will Smith
  • How she almost passed up the opportunity to be on Fresh Prince
  • Being a seamstress since the age of 9
  • Find Daphne’s “Elephant Butter” recipe on page 24 of her cookbook (a combination of chicken liver, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, salt, three sticks of butter, and cognac)


“Joy & Purpose: Everyone should have that in their lives!” –Daphne Maxwell Reid




Daphne Maxwell Reid’s Bio:

Everyone remembers Daphne Maxwell Reid as an iconic TV mom of the 1990s, from her three seasons as Aunt Vivian on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” These days Reid is a Renaissance woman, respected artist and designer, and education activist. Working from her home in Virginia, and still happily married to pioneering television actor/producer/writer/director Tim Reid (“WKRP in Cincinnati,” “Frank’s Place”), Daphne Maxwell Reid is living proof that a passion for creativity and a dedication to hard work can ensure a lifetime’s worth of success.


Breaking new barriers is nothing new to Reid, who decades ago became the first African-American homecoming queen at Northwestern University and shortly thereafter one of the first African-American women to appear on the cover of Glamour magazine. But many fans of her modeling and acting career probably don’t know that Reid is a lifelong shutterbug, a hobby passed down by her father that has now become a focal point of her career. With five books and 5 annual calendars already published, Reid specializes in fine art photography that features doors and doorways from around the world, including Cuba, Venice, France, China, Germany, and Belgium. Now she’s added to her publishing resume with her first cookbook, “Grace + Soul & Motherwit,” which offers her favorite recipes spiced with personal memories and reflections from her life and travels.


Reid has also been a seamstress for much of her life, creating many of her own outfits and costumes as a young actress and model, and has now developed those skills into an exclusive, custom clothing line called Daphne Style, making Chinese silk brocade jackets that are wearable works of art. She also keeps busy as the Host of Virginia Currents (PBS), and as a spokesperson for Virginia State University, a historically black college/university (HBCU), doing outreach, public relations, and speaking engagements that allow her to preach the importance of education and career prep for students of color.


A thoughtful, inspiring, and fascinating professional with over five decades of experience, Daphne Maxwell Reid continues to demonstrate that mastering a new skill is always possible for an artist with a generous spirit and self-determination.

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