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Culinary arts grad caters to the allergen-friendly community

Published March 6, 2024

She is twenty-one years old and has never tasted chocolate. Born with over eight different allergies, Prince George’s Community College culinary arts student Royal Severe found a way to turn her life’s challenge into purpose, passion, and profit.

“Not being able to eat cake or any ice cream because you’re always worried about cross-contact with other foods built up an interest,” Chef Royal said. “I wanted to know what chocolate, cake, and frosting tasted like.”

With life-threatening allergic reactions to wheat, soy, eggs, seafood, peanuts, sesame, cats, and dogs, curiosity led her to explore desserts in a new way. She wanted to know more about life beyond food restrictions.

Her twin sister, Legacy Severe, and brother, Jeremiah Severe, share the same allergies. Chef Royal says they spent many childhood years being homeschooled, and when they did join public school, they were often isolated.

“In elementary we always had to sit at the peanut-free table and I was wondering why everyone goes crazy about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Chef Royal said. “A lot of times we felt like we were excluded from the party or our friends.”

For Chef Royal and her siblings, allergies affect their lives in dietary ways but also how they socialize because some of their allergies are airborne. They have had allergic reactions just walking into a Red Lobster restaurant or hugging family members after a seafood boil party.

EpiPens, packs of Benadryl, and inhalers have been a way of life. She credits her father, Jubner Severe, for being a proactive health advocate for her and her sibling’s safety and care. Chef Royal’s mother, Kabrena Severe, often experimented with other ingredients to make baked goods and bread for the family. Eventually, she continued her mother’s work to find a way to enjoy food.

“Even though we experienced the isolation and being excluded, we still found ways to come up with substitutions as well and learn more about food allergies,” Chef Royal said.

Her determination and initiative led her to entrepreneurship, launching Royal’s Rock N Recipes in 2018. She fell in love with making conscious baked goods after successfully perfecting a snickerdoodle cookie recipe while in high school.

“There were a lot of times where I thought ‘why me’ but then it changed to God thanks for choosing me and using what I thought was maybe a mistake to turn into a masterpiece,” Chef Royal said. “I was thinking that it was a dark place but it brought light to the situation. Serving other people is light. When I take the attention and put it on someone else, that’s when it creates something bigger than myself and it’s worth living for.”

In 2020, Royal enrolled at PGCC where she committed to learning more about her vocation as an allergy-friendly chef and business owner. She graduated with a culinary arts certificate in 2023.

“After learning about recipe costing in my culinary courses, I realized I had to add it to my business,” Chef Royal said. “I sat down with an Excel sheet and started doing the math on everything. My professors worked with me on my allergies and still made it possible for someone like me to enjoy class. I really enjoyed my time at Prince George’s Community College.”

At PGCC, Chef Royal has had the opportunity to be a DMV Black Restaurant Week demonstrator and showcase her baked goods at various PGCC events. In the future, she hopes to own a bakery and offer dessert shipping services all over the world.

“It’s important that people all over the world can celebrate their children or their birthdays even though they have allergies,” she said. “Everyone all over the world should be able to indulge in desserts worry-free.”

Chef Royal encourages others to push through difficult times and find joy in service to others.

“As I am baking and decorating the cakes, I’m thinking about how my actions are out of love,“ she said. “I know exactly what that other person is going through with an allergy. I understand them completely and with that understanding, I can give love and care. I love what I do, the process of it, and the impact it can create.”

To support Royal’s Rock N Recipes, visit or connect with her on Instagram.


Soncier Bey

Published February 15, 2024

“Motivated” is the word Soncier Bey uses to routinely describe his day-to-day outlook. The word-smithing hip-hop artist and Prince George’s Community College alum recently won BET’s Beats and Bars rap competition powered by Nissan.

Bey was selected among several submissions for his light-hearted, 60-second rap highlighting his connection to hip-hop’s historical legacy. He ended his prize-winning sixteen bars expressing the thrill of being a part of hip-hop culture.

“It’s a beautiful time to be alive,” Bey said. “It’s all about what an individual wants. You can have anything you want. You have to create your own perspective of success.”

As the winner of the national rap competition, Bey received a monetary prize and the opportunity to fly to New York to shoot a music video for the song featuring Nissan’s newest Ariya electric vehicle. The video was shown during the nationally syndicated BET Awards ceremony filmed in October 2023. The video has also been featured in a national advertising campaign for Nissan.

“In my heart, I felt I was the winner,” Bey said. “Of course, I was excited to actually win! I got the star quality treatment that I felt I deserved. My relationship with BET is long-standing and it started with a 106 & Park performance many years ago. Winning this competition felt like those days-a rejuvenated feeling.”

Rejuvenation is his reward after many years of remaining motivated and dedicated to a musical calling. Bey uses music as a medicinal vehicle to empower, heal, and transform his community. As a child, he was affectionately called “preacher” in the neighborhood.

“I love how music makes you feel,” he said. “I love the ability to express myself artistically because I have a lot of opinions and viewpoints. I was always very wise.”

Bey spent most of his adolescence being raised in Prince George’s County where he encountered many negative influences. At the age of 16, he suffered a knife wound injury after being stabbed several times in his back resulting in 32 staples.

“It was violence, drugs, police chasings, and shootings,” he said. “I grew up around all of that and it took a toll on how I perceived things. I had a chip on my shoulder about being melanated and being a youth.”

In time, Bey recovered from the incident and persisted in his musical giftings. He formed rap groups with his neighborhood peers, entered several competitions, and eventually had his music played on the radio. Through the years, he released several projects and six albums.

In 2010, he was invited to perform with singer Darelle on BET’s 106 & Park show. He said he spent years catching the bus to attend the show as an audience member to study other rap contest winners. He looked to artists like Twista, Nas, and Tupac Shakur for inspiration. Bey felt he could relate to Tupac’s artistry on many levels.

“I always felt a certain way about my neighborhood but I didn’t know how to frame it,” Bey said. “Tupac was doing that. He was a drama student who grew up in a certain neighborhood and had certain experiences who was able to tap into his divine masculinity and still give you the feminine energy and sensitivity. He was balancing both energies. He was vicious with both of them. He was super romantic, really angry, and revolutionary.”

In 2017, Bey graduated from PGCC after matriculating towards a mass communications degree as a recipient of the Herb Block Foundation scholarship. Although he admits to initially having a disdain for college, attending PGCC as a challenge from his uncle turned out to be a beneficial decision.

“I really started to expand my opinion about community college once I started attending,” Bey said. “I was like wow PGCC has a lot of technology here! I met great people and made great relationships. I met a lot of artists.”

Today, Bey serves as the program director for the nonprofit, Message in the Music, where he recruits and trains other artists to use their talents to be change agents in the world. The programming focuses on community development, financial literacy, and spirituality.

“The lack of spiritual principles is the reason why some of them [the youth] have an impoverished way of thinking and a lot of them are discouraged,” he said. “You have to have the ingenuity skillset to be developed not only as a business-minded individual but as a spiritual being. Without spiritual grounding, you are subjected to be swayed and lose faith.”

The message in Bey’s music has always been about spiritual empowerment.

“Everything is a calling,” he said. “It’s a spiritual calling for me to assist the people who are seeking to get in touch with their inner God. My mission is to enlighten as many spirits as I can through music and teaching.”

Watch Soncier’s video commercial, BET interview, and freestyle performance. Learn more about Soncier’s music here