On Que: Vegan kitchen to open on Woodward in August

On Que:  Vegan kitchen to open on Woodward in August

Quiana Broden is the picture of health, but that wasn’t always the case.

A vegan for the past five years, Broden – or Que, as she is called by most – turned to an animal-and-dairy-free lifestyle after she was diagnosed 10 years ago with sarcoidosis. It’s an autoimmune disease that she quips “can piss everything in your body off at one time.”

Quiana Broden, business owner, chef, and busy entrepreneur, revels in the many hats she wears. Que’s new shop, The Kitchen By Cooking With Que” will open this August on Woodward Avenue, in the heart of New Center.

Que, owner of the Cooking With Que catering service, says she was always sick. She had trouble breathing, had consistent rashes, and swollen lymph nodes, the telltale sign of an autoimmune deficiency. Her slew of problems worsened as she became an adult.

For years, Que had had a slight allergy to dairy. Moreover, she was always going to the hospital seeking treatment for one symptom or another.

“I just kept going from doctor to doctor,” she says. Her physician eventually performed a biopsy, and stage 4 sarcoidosis was uncovered.

According to the Mayo Clinic, sarcoidosis is the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in different parts of your body — most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin. In stage 4 scarring has occurred in the lungs, which makes it the most severe.

After the doctor told Que she’d need to go on steroids two to three times a day, possibly for the rest of her life, her first thought was “No way!”

Her second thought was to fix herself.

“I quit dairy cold turkey, and then went plant-based, my whole diet,” she says.

Que tried it for 10 days and then just kept going.

“By the 27th day, my nose wasn’t running and I felt so much better,” she says. “It was a complete change. I thought to myself, ‘I can’t go back!’”

She wasn’t only one who noticed the change. Everyone who saw Que her asked how she did it.

She decided to share her healthy eating knowledge with others and started Cooking with Que December of 2015 and soon realized it was her mega-passion.

“This is a real life quest,” she says.

Cooking With Que is more than a catering business. She calls it a place where “vegans and meat eaters coexist.”

Que’s website has everything culinary and everything nutritious, with tips, links to her podcasts, recipes, her blog and videos. There’s even a shop that sells T-shirts declaring “Don’t Eat Food With a Face” and “Lettuce Eat!” It’s as warm and welcoming and jubilant as is Que.

Here’s  one of her recipes for lettuce wraps.

Smart businesswoman that she is, Que kept her day job as an account executive at United Shore, the wholesale national mortgage lender based in Troy, until Cooking with Que was fully up and running. She says helping people get into homes is something she loves. “I’m a helper, and am happiest when doing so.”

To kick things into high gear, Que entered Motor City Match, the program run under the Duggan administration that connects new and expanding businesses, like Que’s, with tools and available real estate and, most importantly, funding. Que won $60,000 as a Motor City Match recipient in January.

Now, she can go brick and mortar. Que says it has taken months to find the space she wanted.

“They showed me every property they could show me,” she says of the hunt with real estate brokers that started as far back as 2016. As person of faith, Que prayed on it.

“I said Lord, I’m going to do this and if it’s going to go down, it will go down!”

It did.

Her business, “The Kitchen By Cooking With Que,” will be located at 6529 Woodward between Milwaukee and Grand Boulevard, just past the start of the QLine. Construction is underway with an August opening in the works.

Prior to Que obtaining the lease last September, the 1,480-square-foot space was vacant and had been for a while. The block is a hotspot of development in Detroit, with almost every storefront on both sides of the avenue under construction.

Inside, Que plans a demonstration kitchen and a shared kitchen space to the rear that will be available for rental. Classes will be held three times a day, in all categories, conducted by local chefs from all over Wayne and Oakland Counties.

“Every class will show you how to do something,” she says. “We’ll be working with nutritionists, diabetics, even cancer patients.”

Although people begged the Farmington Hills resident to put her new business in the suburbs, Que loves Detroit where she says there is a dearth of natural foods resources – and education on how to live a natural lifestyle.

“No one was demonstrating how to cook and eat clean – how to go vegan or vegetarian and have it taste good,” she says. “Detroit doesn’t need to be all about cars. I’m not saying you have to be a vegan too, just try some plant-based foods. Once you clean your insides out, it’s a whole new story.”

“I’m not saying you have to be a vegan too, just try some plant-based foods. Once you clean your insides out, it’s a whole new story,” says Broden.

Que is looking forward to developing her kitchen as a place where people can go to learn how to prepare meals for themselves.

“I want everyone who comes here to learn something and take the next step, which I hope they can implement and share,” says Que.

On top of her very busy job, newly launched business, and role as wife and mother to a son and daughter Que is working on two cookbooks and makes television appearances.

“Fox 2 keeps telling me to come on,” she says. “I keep saying to them, ‘Maybe we can do a cooking show.’”

Que is a recognizable face around central and southeast Michigan, providing cooking demonstrations at area events, such as Detroit is Different with Khari Frazier last September and Flint’s Veggie Fest in October as well as coaching private clients. The variety lets her mingle with a diverse population and educate people from all walks of life.

“I am a living recipe, a recipe for life!” Que says.

For more information, please click here.

Editor’s Note: This Small Shops feature is supported by Bank of America.

To learn more about Bank of America’s many programs and resources for small business owners please click here. 



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