I’m Shanika!

WELCOME! I’m the girl with a whisk in one hand and a cookie (or chicken wing depending on the day) in another—literally! I create all of the recipes that you see on Orchids + Sweet Tea®, styles everything for the complete perfect shot, while my Husband shoots it with our camera + does all edits—-he’s the “techy” one in our family. I know—-we’re a dynamic duo!

To top things off, I’m a Jesus lover and Millennial Mama to a witty boy + pup who both always keeps me on my toes! Plus, I’m a Cookbook Author (Entitled: Orchids + Sweet Tea: Plant-Forward Recipes with Jamaican Flavor + Southern Charm) and have had the pleasure of being featured in Taste of Home Magazine (April/May 2021 Issue), Food Network Magazine, The Every Girl, The Zoe Report, Huffington Post, SELF, Food52, PARADE, + more.

To dig a bit deeper——I’m a connoisseur of interior decorating (I started channeling my love for this at age 13, hence my passion for beautifully staged food photos—-it just oozes from my pores), and I’m absolutely obsessed with things that are simple, YET have a healthy dose of sparkle + bling. Yes, both can co-exist—just in case you were wondering. Haha. Definitely many layers to me, guys!

What’s MY story?

While I don’t come from a long line of chefs or restaurant owners, one of the main ways that my family often came together growing up was through food, music, and laughter which inspired me to create a space that both uplifts and feeds those who choose to visit my little corner of the web here.

As a teenager, I often experimented in the kitchen by making things that I wanted to eat as opposed to the traditional Jamaican foods that were often created in my home. After attempting (and often failing) and then successfully mastering simple things like pancakes, biscuits, chicken wings, etc., I realized that I truly enjoyed cooking in the kitchen and seeing what I could create.

However, after having my own family, I began experimenting even more with cooking and stumbled upon a real passion for food creation and thus Orchids + Sweet Tea® was born in 2016. Shortly after the start of Orchids + Sweet Tea® (while on my Postpartum Journey), I realized that my body could no longer successfully digest dairy + gluten at it’s best level in conjunction with everything else—–Why hello, HORMONES! One of the evidences seemed to link to consistent monthly ovarian cysts, endometriosis symptoms, lack of hair growth (and shedding), body aches, etc.—-that often were draining to suffer through for most of the month for a total of almost two years. Countless Doctor visits resulted in no solution (or at least one that didn’t require that I be committed to hormonal medication) until I finally decided to use my Faith in God and diet as a way of healing.

MY PROCESS: A whole lot of prayer and a TON of research on self-care + home remedies that helped my body better regulate my hormones and move things along in my Postpartum healing journey. We’re talking things like aroma therapy for calming effects, essential oils for skin, hair, and body; the right foods to eat + to eliminate, incorporating exercise (no matter how small), and a host of other things. Yes, it’s still a journey, but a journey that I am learning to embrace, love + eat through; one plate at a time!

What Now?

Because of my Southern roots + Jamaican background, you’ll find a lot of my old childhood favorites along with many NEW FAVES that offer bold flavors and intricate combinations (often stumbled upon through trial, error, + a whole lot of grace!).

In addition, you’ll find a few different options as it relates to eating healthier without being RESTRICTED TO JUST ONE DIET (some Dairy-Free, sprinkles of Gluten-Free, an explosion of Vegan, and Plant-Forward dishes), which all caters to my entire foodie community.

Overall, Orchids + Sweet Tea® holds true to helping others discover their love journey through Foods and an overall Healthier Lifestyle while keeping the comfort of foods; with a little Brooklyn Flare + a touch of Jamaican Flavor + a whole lot of Southern Charm.

At last, I’ve recently written my first cookbook, Orchids & Sweet Tea: Plant-Forward Recipes with Jamaican Flavor & Southern Charm, which walks you through why I started my healthy lifestyle journey, my experience as a picky-eater growing up + how that has affected my food choices, easy delicious plant-forward & plant-based recipes that cater to your whole family, and more.

All Eaters welcome! Xx

Let’s be Friends on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, + Pinterest.

Get to know me

This or that?

Early Bird
Night Owl


What About

lifestyle & wellness?

To touch a bit on Lifestyle + Wellness —-for me it’s all about Mind, Body, + Spiritual wholeness. I’ve learned that oftentimes you have to lose to win–in the literal sense! Whether that loss comes from eliminating certain things from your diet for optimal health or killing certain relationships to ensure that the positive aspects of yourself are secure and protected, changing household essentials to ensure that your environment is green and non-toxic, using quality organic skincare products or natural remedies to keep your body healthy, or even setting aside time to cultivate your spiritual being through self-care or spiritual practices; whatever it looks like for you, rest assured that your losses will only bring forth new + fruitful gains if you choose to let them.

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Cheers to a Happy, Healthy, Hearty Life!


let’s work together!

When it comes to working together, I offer an array of options: recipe development, recipe videos, food styling, IG posts/stories, blog content, zoom/live events, + food photography.

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