LOS ANGELES — As a kid, Talia Shipman always knew she wanted to be an artist. She just never realized her artistry would be in the form of food.

It’s a passion she got from her mom.

What You Need To Know

  • Talia Shipman uses hummus as a blank canvas for collaborations

  • Social hummus is new but already a hit with customers

  • Shipman thinks its because of the inherently social nature of hummus

“She never sat down and taught me a recipe," said Shipman. "I don’t think she’s ever followed a recipe in her life and neither have I!"

Shipman was a photographer and mixed media artist until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, when work slowed down. During quarantine, she would make homemade hummus and leave it on her friends’ doorsteps, just to let them know she was thinking about them. That thoughtful act of kindness turned into a business called Social Hummus. Shipman makes hummus, then collaborates with diverse chefs all over the city by inviting them to make whatever they wish to pair with her hummus.

“I’m not trying to pretend that I invented hummus, but what I am doing is taking it to a different level and mixing it with all these different flavors, like we have had multiple Asian chefs, and we just had an amazing black chef who brought in the idea of contemporary soul food.”

The result is hummus blended with every kind of international flavor imaginable: Chinese, Indian, soul food and more. Shipman’s chef collaborations include notables like Chefs Ray Anthony Barret (CINQUE), Chef Nestor Silva (Rustic Canyon) and Rashida Holmes (Bridgetown Roti).

"I see the hummus as this blank beige canvas that they get to play with," said Shipman.

On the day Spectrum News 1 met with Shipman, she was whipping up a collaboration she did with chef Zarah Kahn from Botanica restaurant and market in Silver Lake.

“I was excited to do it because Talia was so excited, and I feel like other people’s excitement is contagious,” said Kahn.

The hummus dish Kahn created was a beautiful green concoction, which was first done in 2020 but was so popular, Shipman decided to bring it back for a special event.

“It’s toasted sage, some parsley, some roasted garlic, topped with foraged pink peppercorns,” she said.

And yes, Shipman foraged for the pink peppercorn herself.

In addition to the chef collaborations, the chef chooses a charity or cause to donate the profits.

Kahn was drawn to the idea of pairing her hummus with a charity.

"It’s rad and a good opportunity again for us to do what we’re doing but hit a different audience or go toward a different subset of people," said Kahn.

Social hummus is so new but already a hit with customers and a regular at events. Shipman thinks it's because of the inherently social nature of hummus.

“You can have all these people from anywhere in the world, all different backgrounds,” she said. “You bring them around amazing food and there’s something to talk about, there’s something to connect on.”

Shipman added that she’s leaning into social hummus, and always thinking of new ways to make art of food.

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