About Chef Thia
With a smile often described as blinding, Haitian-born Cynthia “Chef Thia” Verna has a larger than life personality that lights up a room. She is a personal chef, accomplished author, and cooking show host who specializes in gourmet, Caribbean-fusion cuisine.
Verna is known for infusing Caribbean, African, Latin, Asian, French and Mediterranean flavors into her Haitian fine dining repertoire. Her professional culinary life started in her mother’s restaurant in Haiti when she was 17 years old. Not long after, she opened her own restaurant – Atelier Les Bamboos. She studied under Haitian top chef Reginald Koury and worked at the prestigious Club Med, before moving to the United States at 21.
She went on to graduate cum laude from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in her new home of Miami, Florida. She has been affiliated with two Ritz Carlton franchises, and has been a culinary representative for Haitian consulates, presenting at events in Italy, Suriname, Taiwan and Vietnam.
In May 2017 she became the first woman to win the People’s Choice Award at the Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington DC, representing Haiti, and beating master chefs from more than 30 other countries. She’s also been given one of North Miami’s highest distinctions. For her accomplishments in the culinary arts, the city presented a proclamation naming November 18, 2017 ‘Cynthia Verna Day’.
She made her debut as co-host of Taste the Islands in June 2017 when the second season of the Caribbean cooking series premiered nationwide on Create TV. In collaboration with the show’s creators, she co-authored her first cookbook called 50 Favorite Haitian Recipes, which entered at #1 in Amazon’s Caribbean cookbook section at the time of its release.
As a renowned social media tastemaker, Verna’s live videos have garnered tens of thousands of views.
She is a survivor of sexual assault, who has become a sought after public figure, with much of her messaging involving spiritual inspiration and self motivation.
She is a mother of three, living and working as a culinary professional in South Florida.