Shawnae, whom is often referred to by her trade name, (SayGrace) wears many hats; Wife, Mother, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Social Change Agent, but, it’s her anointing of culinary mastery that resonates to the delight of the masses. To be exact, it was at an early age that SayGrace stumbled upon her passion. She proudly attributes her passion and success to the legacy she lives each day being an eight generation free Black and direct descedanct, to Captain John Jackson, who is noted to be the first African American to purchase property in Staten Island, New York. Her family history, tells a forgotten, yet rich story of the wealth her family gained, by curating a system to help in the freedom of other slaves traveling through the historical Underground Railroad. Her family church, Rossville A. M. E. Zion is documented to be one of the places, along with cottage her late grandmother, Lois A. Henry Mosley was born in. Her grandmother, opened Shaw-nae's eyes to see love translated through the preparation and service of food. She, developed her passion for cooking, while bonding with her grandmother in the kitchen at home, church and the local soup kitchen and pantry. Shaw-nae attended her first cooking class at the ripe age of nine, in the fellowship hall at church. Her father, ran a youth basketball league in Staten Island which provided the platform. From there, it soon became apparent that was all the sunlight Shawnae Dixon needed to churn a penny profit into an enterprise. From a need came the opportunity of supply meets demand providing players and spectators alike with concession type foods; hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. Not only did Shawnae excel, but surprisingly the preparation and love exerted resulted in her signature touch, which later became the motto behind the brand, Say Grace.
In 2012, newly married and 10 years into a fulfilling career, Shawnae's routine life would be forever changed due to a shakeup that would ultimately lead her to a divine purpose. The Dixon family found itself in the path of Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season causing nearly $75 billion in damage and claiming 233 lives. The storm passed over the Dixon family without physical harm; however, it left the family homeless for thirteen months. It was at this juncture that Shaw-nae made a breakthrough by way of adversity. With a newborn child, it was suggested by her husband Jason, that she stay at home and take care of the children. Shaw-nae began to sell plates out of the home much like she did at the basketball courts with her father. Shaw-nae’s signature dishes, macaroni and cheese, chicken, and seafood soon became the talk of the town. She coined the phrase “I serve hood plates like mixtapes.” Everyone in the community knew she was making a way out of no way that would lead to glory.
In 2014, she started a small catering business (SayGrace) that flourished into a profitable venture. The success from the SayGrace brand lead to Shaw-nae being asked to debut her holiday savory cupcakes treats on Fox Network in the Philadelphia area. From the Fox Network, SayGrace has gone on to film with the Food Network, catering to the stars, and has become a recurring guest on New York City radio stations. She is a private chef and caterer to Power 105.1FM, Hot 97.1FM, WBLS, Charlamagne tha God, Angie Martinez, Teddy Riley, DJ Self, DJ Clue, Maino, The YouTube Televised Music Mixer Meetings with DJ Enuff and the Heavy Hitters. Shaw-nae has prepared food for some of the biggest names in entertainment such Lil Kim, Cardi B, Lil Duval (Living My Best Life). Joi Starr, Rotimi, Sidra Smith, Leon Robinson, Vanessa Williams, ASAP Rocky, Dave East, Tiffany Haddish, Mack Wilds, Michael Blackson, Rob Stapleton, A-Boogie, Don Q, Lil Baby, Memphi Bleek, Monolo Rose, Steflon Don, Angela Rye and so many more. Shaw-nae has developed a wonderful partnership Capital Records, Sirus XM Radio, Atlantic Records, Cycle Media, Under Armor, Papa Johns, Carol's Daughter, IHeart Media to provide catering for some of the most high profile and epic events. She recently developed a partnership with Sirus XM and WBLS 107.5 On Air Personality Deja Vu by providing catering in her newly launched women’s empowerment events “Ignite Your Hustle.” Her exposure to these kinds of events in the last year have sparked a new and inspiring lane of work that bring Shaw-nae to her new passion to become a Transformation Public Speaker.
Shaw-nae began her quest to speak by launching her first ever podcast and radio show, “Shoe Shoe and Lemonade.” Shaw-nae partnered with the Staten Island local community radio station at MakerParkRadio every other Wednesday from 8pm-10pm. Shaw-nae promotes the local and passionate entrepreneurs, artists and change makers dominating the scene throughout Staten Island and abroad. Her fun and outgoing spirit and energy have brought filmmakers, authors, health and fitness gurus, real estate owners, musicians and more. She will not stop there. Shaw-nae believes in refining her smooth and refined skills by treating the rough patches and adversities in developing and learning the way by treating every situation like sandpaper.
March 22, 2019, Shaw-nae self-published her first book, “Between You & I.” This transformational reflection tool has the power to change lives by creating the conversation about one’s self and the journey to healing from a difficult and destructive past with chock full of testimonies, short stories, Q&A and journaling. Shaw-nae challenged herself to step out of her comfort zone to author a piece of work that would display a new and more inspiring gift to speak to the public as a motivational and transformational inspirer. She plans to speak at as panelist on July 20, 2019 at the women’s empowerment seminar, “I Am That Woman” presented by Dr. Jeri B. Shannon in New York City.
Shawnae Dixon the Humanitarian
On February 28th of 2017, Shawnae was presented with a proclamation by The City Council of New York City, and by 49th District of Staten Island Councilwoman Deborah Rose for her contributions in the community. In conjunction, a signed certificate of appreciation by Mayor Bill De Blasio was also given to Shawnae Dixon. She has been assisting families and individuals in crisis, to reestablish security and stability. She has continually worked with her community to discover and share resources for empowerment, education and entrepreneurship.
In 2018, Dixon started "The Penny Prophets" for urban communities to provide resources to obtain and sustain a richer and more prosperous life. In the past five years, the organization has grown and soon to become an official non profit organization. In 2013, Dixon (Say Grace) organized a charity bbq to aid families in New Brighton Community who were victims of fire. Mrs. Dixon coordinates several yearly ministry events preparing wholesome foods to serve the community free of charge. She wishes everyone who is fed to experience the taste of “home on Sunday.” SayGrace dedication to the development of Staten Island through her community efforts has fostered great relationships with, Senator Diane Savino and Councilwoman Debi Rose from the Mayor’s office. She believes that there should be no gaps in building an empire; and understandably so, Shawnae continuously shows her commitment to bridging the gap by holding cooking instructions for children and adults in order to broaden professional platform and versatility. Her recent collaboration with the Stapleton community’s Gerard Carter center helps to transform donated vegetables and other foods for the community’s enjoyment. Dixon provides free clinics to prepare wholesome foods to serve to the community dedicated to the development of Staten Island.
Shawnae Dixon- Cooking Style and Definition
What makes SayGrace a sure shot with celebrity guest and industry elites? Today’s typical celebrity chef /caterer follow a format that results in providing cookery advice and demonstrations via mass media. Although that would hold true for the most part, Shawnae takes pride in what has built her clientele from day one! The good old recipe of word of mouth! Since the early 19th century, the demand for chefs with impeccable dishes has been desired by the modest of elites to even perhaps royalty. The misconception that a great meal has to cost an arm and a leg is a strong point Shawnae adamantly defends as she drives to provide wholesome food that brings value. As a matter of fact, it’s the core principle of providing elevated dishes on a budget that has brought the attention of celebrities. SayGrace was developed not just to cater to the celebrity crowd, but from a premise that teaching people the importance of kitchen safety, the pros of going organic, and as a ministry to provide nourishment for the mind, body, and soul. Those very principles have sustained SayGrace as the forefront of her “business plan.”