Guest Chefs

Pat Neely , @patneelybbqking

Pat Neely, the BBQ King, was introduced to the culinary world at the age of 11 in his mother’s kitchen and by grilling on the backporch with his grandfathers. By the age of 15, he was working in his uncle’s BBQ restaurant in Memphis, TN.  It was at that point he fell in love with the art of preparing delicious meals. 

By the time he was 23, Pat opened his first restaurant, Neely’s BBQ, which started a long and successful career as a restaurateur.  Over the years, Pat would open three more restaurants, run 7 concessions in the Memphis NBA arena and operate a location in the Nashville Airport.  In 2011, he and his partners opened Neely’s Barbecue Parlor in New York City.

In 2007, Food Network invited Pat to co-host his own nationally televised TV show, “Down Home with the Neelys.”  The show was an immediate success becoming the highest rate debuting program in Food Network’s “In the Kitchen” block.  With a hit show under his belt, Pat soon moved to prime time by co-hosting “ Road Tasted with the Neelys.” 

Success in television brought Pat a passionate fan base offered Pat the opportunity to share his experiences and recipes by with three successful cookbooks: “Down Home with the Neelys,” “The Neely’s Celebration Cookbook” and “Back Home with the Neelys.”

Pat’s amazing journey has allowed him to perform live cooking demonstrations before thousands of fans around the country, to speak on topics such as family, entrepreneurship and mentoring and, best of all, to share his life stories with the hope of inspiring others to reach out and work to achieve their own dreams.  

When Pat isn’t on the road sharing his food and his messages, you can find him grilling great recipes at home or enjoying a round on the golf course.

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Cellar Door Chocolates, @cellardoorchoco

 

It wasn’t that long ago that Erika Chavez-Graziano, owner and head chocolatier of Cellar Door Chocolates, was a graduate research assistant at UofL preparing to defend her thesis. However, once she realized her heart was no longer in academia she listened to the advice of a close adviser. He told her to pursue her true passion and focus on the truffles she often made for friends and family. The rest, as they say, is history. Erika began Cellar Door Chocolates as a wholesale business and quickly expanded into retail once her confections began to gain popularity and press. Erika’s secret is that while she cares about how her chocolates look, taste is always most important. She puts her money into buying the finest ingredients, not superfluous packaging. She also uses a lot of unique flavor combinations to keep things interesting, like green chile coconut, dark chocolate licorice and white chocolate wasabi pea bark. So next time you’ve got a taste for something delectable, stop in and let Erika find just the chocolate for the occasion!

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Paula Deen , @Paula_Deen

As a young girl growing up in Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen never dreamed she would become an American icon. As a young mother, Paula was living the American dream — married to her high school sweetheart and raising two adorable boys — when tragedy struck. Her parents died, her marriage failed and she began a prolonged battle with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering "lunch-and-love-in-a-bag," beginning in June 1989, Paula turned her life around by sharing what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.

Overcoming poverty, self doubt and health challenges to achieve success and acclaim she could never have imagined, Paula has become one of the best-known personalities in the world of cooking. Yet the most remarkable part of Paula Deen's journey from her kitchen to fame and fortune is that Paula has remained every bit as genuine, real and full of love as she was the day that the first meals left her kitchen.

Deen's first business, The Bag Lady, brought out Paula's strengths and stabilized her family. She moved her catering company to a small restaurant at a Best Western motel in Savannah and finally opened her first restaurant, The Lady and Sons, with Bobby and Jamie five years later. The restaurant was a hit and the popularity of Paula and her cooking led to her first cookbook, 1998's The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. This gave her fans the opportunity to try Paula's recipes at home and led to her first television appearance on QVC. Paula's genuine warmth and folksy personality made her a natural for television. In 1999, USA Today food critic Jerry Shriver named The Lady and Sons "International Meal of the Year."

Paula's rise to stardom was underway, but when she premiered Paula's Home Cooking on the Food Network in 2002, she was on the verge of superstardom. The network added Paula's Party in 2006, and Bobby and Jamie began making appearances with Paula on the programs. The family that began delivering lunch-and-love-in-a-bag in 1989 had become one of the most recognized and beloved families in the country, and Paula is now a two-time Emmy Award winner.

In addition to her success on television, Deen is the author of 14 cookbooks that have sold more than 8,000,000 copies and her bimonthly magazine Cooking With Paula Deen has total readership of over 3,000,000 people today. When Paula tours the country making personal appearances to talk about life, family and cooking, thousands of people come to participate. On New Year's Day 2011, Paula was the Grand Marshall of the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Paula's business interests have grown considerably. In 2011, Paula launched Paula Deen Foods, which includes sauces, spices, baking kits and more. In 2014, Paula launched the Paula Deen Network, an interactive online cooking network that combines cooking, lifestyle and game shows with great recipes, meal-planning tools and more.

Ever grateful for all she has been blessed with, Paula and her family continue to give back to the community. Paula is a member of the board of the Bethesda Home for Boys, works tirelessly for America's Second Harvest and in 2012, launched The Bag Lady Foundation, supporting issues of hunger which affect women and families across the country.

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Gourmet Girls , @gourmetgirlsgf

Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery Bistro Tucson's only all gluten free bakery/bistro serving hand crafted gluten free baked goods plus seasonally inspired breakfast, lunch and weekend dinner menu. Real, fresh food.

Gourmet Girls is located at 5845 N Oracle Road, Tucson AZ. Call them at (520) 408-9000

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Jessie Merlin and Scott Doty

Jessie and Scott are two lifetime northerners who moved to Birmingham, Alabama 3 years ago so that Jessie could pursue her dream job.  Jessie grew up eating out every night, and has always been drawn to eating at new restaurants as a way to experience local culture.  Scott is an industrial designer with a passion for designing kitchen gadgets. Their mutual of love of thrifting means they have an insane amount of cool vintage kitchenware.  When they moved to Birmingham, they decided to explore their new city through food.  Their favorite thing to do is to find hidden gems – places you wouldn’t expect to find in the Deep South, like an out-of-this-world Kenyan restaurant or a sushi bar run by a Morimoto-trained sushi chef.  They write restaurant reviews but also interview restaurant owners to tell the back-story behind the food.  They hope that their blog allows Birmingham newbies and Birmingham natives alike to share in their excitement about the diverse and often surprising Birmingham food scene.

To view Jessie's Food Blog Click Here 

To view Scott's Design Portfolio Click Here 

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The Little Red Cupcake

The Little Red Cupcake store in Montgomery Alabama might have the world's BEST cupcakes! Nita and Fred Johnson are the founders or Little Red Cupcake and they recently appeared on an episode of Flip My Food to share the secrets of Nita’s famous cupcakes! Here is the inspirational story of how the Johnson family turned a fun hobby into a delicious business.

Little Red Cupcake, named in honor of their famous Red Velvet Cake, was actually birthed through the encouragement of family members. The Johnson family is a lot like “The Walton’s”. They have lots of family get-togethers and always had to bring the red velvet cake.  It seemed like at every function, someone would tell Nita to start selling her cake but she never thought of baking as a source of income. 

Before they knew it, people started asking for decorated cakes as well as the cupcakes, so the Johnson's decided to take a few cake decorating classes. Now, when people ask “can u make…..” the answer quickly went from I don’t know to YES! They began making hundreds of cakes and cupcakes in the small oven in their home kitchen. This soon became overwhelming for the family so they decided to turn their empty duplex into their own cupcake store. It took a while to move from their kitchen into the store-front with many ups and downs along the way but with a lot of determination they completed the projects and had the grand opening of Little Red Cupcake on September 9th. Nita said, “We never gave up hope on Little Red Cupcake because we knew God was with us. He placed wonderful people in our paths to help us get to this point and beyond. This may be our journey but we are not alone. We are very enthusiastic about our new business but realize this is just the beginning. There is still plenty to learn and you can go a far as your imagination will take you. We look forward to each new challenge.”

So if you are ever in Montgomery Alabama go to the Little Red Cupcake store to try Nita’s famous Red Velvet Cupcake. They are located at the address below and open Wednesday thru Friday from 10:30am – 5:30pm and hoping to begin shipping their cupcakes throughout the US starting in November.  

 

638 Hall Street

Montgomery, Al 36104

334-202-1397

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Chef Darin Nesbit

A formally trained chef with years of experience in New Orleans’ best restaurants, Chef Darin Nesbit oversees the kitchen at Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House.

His first professional experience came at Commander’s Palace under the tutelage of then Executive Chef Jamie Shannon. During his tenure, he was a key member of the culinary team that led Commander’s Palace to be named Outstanding Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation.

In 1997, Chef Darin joined Dickie Brennan at Palace Café. His focus on food presentation, his keen understanding of culinary technique, and his zeal for flavorful Creole cooking have made Chef Darin Nesbit an instrumental asset.  Chef Darin has been a fixture in the kitchen of all of Dickie Brennan’s restaurants ever since. 

Darin has been a featured chef at the revered James Beard House, the world renowned Cal-A-Vie Spa in Vista, CA, The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL, and has appeared on the Today Show.  He frequently conducts culinary demonstrations, and in the fall of 2010 became an instructor at the John Folse Culinary Institute.  

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Bourbon House, @BourbonHouse

Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House is all about local seafood. If it’s not in season, you won’t find it on the menu. Enjoy authentic New Orleans dishes at New Orleans' premier oyster bar and seafood restaurant. Bourbon House boasts a lively atmosphere with huge picture windows overlooking Bourbon Street. The dining rooms of this famous French Quarter restaurant are indicative of New Orleans’ European heritage, with handcrafted wrought iron and custom millwork.

Dickie Brennan and his culinary team have created an incredible menu of classic New Orleans Creole dishes complemented by new favorites. Dine at New Orleans' favorite oyster bar and enjoy local Louisiana oysters on the half shell either straight up, or topped with champagne mignonette and Cajun caviar. The Plateaux de Fruits de Mer is a great way to start a meal, featuring an impressive selection of shucked oysters, Gulf shrimp, assorted seasonal seafood salads and marinated crab fingers. Signature favorites include Redfish on the Half Shell (grilled skin on) and New Orleans style Barbeque Shrimp.

And Bourbon House is also more than just a name—the restaurant offers New Orleans' most extensive and impressive selection of small batch and single barrel bourbons, a delicious Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch, and the one and only New Orleans Bourbon Society.

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Rhino Coffee, @Rhino_Coffee

Rhino Coffee was established after seeing a need for an independent locally owned coffee house in Shreveport. Rhino Coffee prides itself on a custom made cup, a traditional coffee menu, healthy homemade food, and a warm, comfortable atmosphere.

Many customers ask, “Why the rhino?” While the owner was backpacking through Nepal, he came across many rhinos. The magnificent rhino is often valued for its horn, some cultures believing powdered rhino horn will cure anything from fever to food poisoning. Interestingly enough, coffee growing and drinking began in the Horn of Africa. I guess you could say the rhino and its horn further inspired the dream of opening a coffee house in Shreveport. It is our intent that a cup of coffee from Rhino will help your day go better! In Ethiopia early coffee houses offered a place in which business and social life could be conducted in comfortable surroundings, chess was played, gossip exchanged, and music enjoyed. We hope to offer you a place where you can work, relax, and connect with your friends, from the Horn of Africa to the horn of the Rhino in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The People of Rhino Coffee

Pat Bolling grew up in a small town an hour east of here, Homer, Louisiana, a small (originally an oil field) town. Homer and the surrounding communities are filled with hardworking people who live for the fresh vegetables of spring and summer. His food is unpretentious food that fills the bellies and the souls of southern folks.

Pat grew up in the kitchens of his mother (who worked everyday but still cooked a full meal each evening) and two grandmothers, my dad’s mother "Mammaw" and my mother’s "Mom" who is still cooking today. While my grandmothers’ cooking were somewhat different technically, they were very much the same. Honest, from scratch food! They never looked at what they did in the kitchen as anything special but looking back, I see classic cooking technique in almost every step they took. What a classroom!

 Pat will not refer to himself as a “Chef.” He prefers “Cook” and hopes to replicate, if only in essence, the same honest “from scratch” cooking that he saw in their kitchens, but with a modern twist or two. "My recipes are an amalgamation of similar recipes and of memories from those kitchens of my childhood. Most of their everyday cooking was done from memory, no recipes. Mammaw’s only measuring cup was for detergent beside the washer, yet she would produce the most beautiful loaves of bread and rolls each Saturday for lunch with all of her family, a  spread most would reserve for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Mom prepared full meals every weekday for all of her family, 6 or 8 of us complete with dessert."

 Pat joined the Rhino Coffee team half way through the first year and her fills the air with the pleasant aroma of all his tasty dishes!

Laura Crawford is affectionately known as Rhino Mom, the mother of Andrew Crawford, owner of Rhino Coffee. From the time Andrew was small he was always “serving” people, either at a lemonade stand, at First Methodist Church, or at Young Life.  Now he loves serving people the home-cooked food, baked goods, and the best coffee in the area! He also serves them through his web-site building at Crawford Design!   What was the Premier Dress Shop of the South, “Sue Peytons” Bridal and dress shop, has been transformed into the premier Coffee House!  Laura has four boys who are all very different. Edward and Robert work in investments in Miami and Shreveport, respectively, and John-Henry is a world-class cellist who is making his solo debut on the International concert series at the Louvre in Paris in November.  She is happy to have two precious daughters-in-law, Mary and Shani, and 2 ½ grandchildren!  In addition to the boys, her household sported for many years: a dog, parakeets, geckos, albino corn snakes, a pacman frog, monitor lizards, veiled chameleons, skinks, and several baby alligators who occasionally escaped form their habitats, making unexpected and unappreciated visits around the house! She thinks she earned the award of Most Patient Mom for all this grief! 

Laura is on the faculty at Centenary College and is Director of the Centenary Suzuki School where there are eight teachers and 150 children ages 3-18. She plays violin professionally in the Baroque Artists of Shreveport and the Shreveport Symphony.  She has loved cooking for her husband, a houseload of boys,  and their friends! Her buttermilk biscuit recipe came from her eight grade home economics class in Memphis, TN! 

Whittney Turner grew up in Monroe before moving to Shreveport. She learned how to cook from her mama and grandmamma.  Whittney always has a smiling face at Rhino and is anxious to please her customers. When she is not ordering supplies, managing baristas, serving food or coffee, you can sometimes spy her dancing in the kitchen while she is cooking! J Whittney loves where she works!

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Chef Dudley

I am a native of Louisiana and grew up cooking.  The majority of my recipes are either my own or from my friends back in Louisiana.  I opened the café in June of 1992 in Longview, TX.  The Longview  Daily News conducts a once a year opinion poll by subscribers to the newspaper and readers on what is the best in East Texas.  I am proud to say a big thank you to all who voted us the best Cajun Food in East Texas for 22 years in a row.  We have also been mentioned in Texas Monthly Magazine 3 times. 

 

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