Page 1


Cooking With




Supper Club Sensible Switches FOR HEALTHY

EATING + Orleans Bistro + Rust + The Palette Café + DeRego’s Bread + Corks & Cleaver Wine Bistro

Bringing Mississippi Roots to the Table page 68

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1

June 2-3,


Gifts | Frames | Fine Art | Jewelry | Clothing | Food Items | Much More!

Mississippi Trade Mart

1200 Mississippi Street • Jackson, MS

1.888.886.3323 2 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

Closed to the general public

Second Annual

Moonlight Market Benefiting Mississippi Food Network

March 31st, 2016 For more information, visit eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 3 4 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016




32 64 “ Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” • Craig Claiborne •

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 5

Missing an issue? Back issues are available online at VOLUME 4, NUMBER 5



eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI FLAVORS of Fall eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI


Peachy page 34





+ Vicari Italian Grill + Rose’s Downtown Bakery & Tearoom + Sway’s Bistro + Stromboli’s Italian Eatery + Cast Iron Cafe

Day in the


+ The Auction Block Steakhouse + The Blue Biscuit + 10 South Rooftop Grill & Bar + Taste & See + Keg & Barrel


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI



Fire & Feast


Eudora Welty's White Fruitcake





August/September 2015

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

+ AC’s Steakhouse • Pub + Five O’clock on Deer Creek + Lou’s Full Serv + The Twisted Burger Company + The Blind Tiger



page 30


October/November 2015

Roasted Brussels Sprouts page 31

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1

Heritage Breed



December/January 2016

Dinner Mississippi FARM TABLES

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

21.02S 00TN ATTTA ETTSEETSS ATTTA ETESEETTSR,TEJRE NO, NM, SM S 1 2 0 01N 0A. T NSE.TSS A R AETCE,KTJS,AOJCN AKC , SM KOSS M M M AM M A– TSU ARtYo 11 1 16t0o M O N DAM Y –OSN M ADO TAN UYD R–A DSY A Y 1AR 1TADU DA Y 0 APM1 1t o 1 .03P 9 68 0. 4165. 0 36 1 92 .83. 9 5 .6425 6 0P 1 8



26 49 14 WHAT’S HOT

Red Velvet Remake


Chef Ty Thames Inspired By Culinary Past


Starkville Youth Competes on Food Network’s Chopped Junior


Mississippi Cold Drip


Asparagus Tart


Deborah Hunter Shares Love of Cooking Through Various Types of Media


TO DINNER Delta Supper Club Encourages People to Put Down the Phone, Enjoy Good Food and Conversation


Sensible Switches Help Reach Weight Loss Goals With Small, Easy Steps

44 FROM MISSISSIPPI TO BEYOND Cookbook Author Susan Puckett Shares Expertise of Food-focused Writing



Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories by Jocelyn Delk Adams



Good Food for Oxford Schools


Orleans Bistro in Grenada


Rust in Clarksdale


DeRego’s Bread in Starkville

IN EVERY ISSUE 8 From the Publisher 10 From Our Readers 16 Fabulous Foodie Finds 20 Deep South Dish 78 Events 80 Recipe/Ad Index 81 Coming to Terms 82 Till We Eat Again


The Palette Café in Jackson


Corks & Cleaver Wine Bistro in Gulfport


Tupelo BBQ Duel

ON THE COVER: Chef Nick Wallace brings his Mississippi roots to the table at The Palette Café in Jackson. See page 68. Photography by Christina Foto. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 7

{ from the publisher }


ife was much different when I was a kid compared to how it is now. With only four channels to choose from on television, there wasn’t too terribly much to watch. And, for most of my childhood, I had to be home at the time my favorite shows came on or I’d miss them. It was a great day when VCRs were introduced. I remember my brothers and I pooling our money to purchase our first one. The four channels we could pick up on our antenna were NBC, CBS, ABC, and (on a clear day) PBS. If we wanted to watch cartoons, we had to wait until Saturday since that was the only day of the week they came on. As you know, today there are more channels than one would care to count. You can watch cartoons 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’ve come a long way in the world of television. Most of my favorite shows came on right when I got home from school and ended just before the evening news. I wasn’t a news junkie, so I usually moved from the sofa to the kitchen until my momma got supper ready. I learned how to cook mostly from watching her. As I began to try my hand at cooking, I found that baking is my passion.

For those of us who love to cook, it was thrilling when Food Network launched in 1993. I believe it’s responsible for the foodie revolution we’ve seen take place over the last couple of decades. Many Mississippians have made a name for themselves by competing on Food Network (and other channels) cooking competitions. The highest honor a professional chef can achieve on the network is the title of Iron Chef on Iron Chef America. Only ten chefs have earned that title, one of them being Jackson native Cat Cora. Recently, Starkville youth Mark Coblentz jumped into the cooking competition world when he appeared on Chopped Junior (see page 22). It's amazing to watch today's kids perform under pressure in the kitchen. As much as I loved to cook at that age, I couldn't have handled it like they do. Through the foodie revolution, we’ve watched as the culinary landscape here in Mississippi has changed tremendously. Our state is home to world-renowned chefs, legendary restaurants that have withstood the


photo by renea rayborn

test of time, and many new restaurants that are elevating local cuisine to a new height. I am quite proud to live in a state that has established its place on the culinary map. And, one that has done so while holding strong to its roots and rich culinary heritage. Nick Wallace is a chef that brings his Mississippi roots to the table at The Palette Café inside the Mississippi Museum of Art in downtown Jackson (see page 68). He made his own appearance on Food Network in 2014 when he competed on Cutthroat Kitchen. Eliminated after the second round, the loss didn't deter him. If anything, it has made him work even harder to make a culinary difference in his home state. It is my hope that, in 2016, we will work together to keep our state moving forward by supporting our local restaurants, farmers, and food charities. Now, turn off the TV and let's eat!

“When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13


EAT DRINK MISSISSIPPI is published bi-monthly by Carney Publications LLC, PO Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654-1051. Periodicals postage pending at Monticello, MS, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to EAT DRINK MISSISSIPPI, PO Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654.


Dine at the Museum, where the art comes off the wall and onto your plate. Executive Chef and Culinary Curator Nick Wallace takes inspiration from his own Mississippi roots and Museum exhibitions to craft menus rich in the state’s cultural traditions and flavors. Seasonal menus highlight ingredients from Mississippi farmers and purveyors. The Palette Café

The artist’s palette. Plated.

Lunch served Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 2 PM Dinner served every third Thursday, 5:30 PM until @MSMUSEUMART.ORG 380 SOUTH LAMAR STREET JACKSON, MS 601.960.1515

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 9

{ from our readers } Thanks for an absolutely stunning magazine! The pictures are wonderful. Keep up the good work. Dianne Jackson Brandon

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI J.J. Carney Publisher/Editor John Carney Executive Editor

VENDORS WANTED We are currently seeking magazine vendors in all areas of the state. If you would like to sell this magazine at your business, call 601-756-1584 or email for more information.

Anne Morgan Carney Executive Assistant Wendi O'Neill Advertising Executive Joe Luca Newsstand Sales Consultant



b eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI is published six times a year by Carney Publications LLC


4500 I-55 N, Ste. 253 Jackson, MS 39211


P.O. Box 1051 Monticello, MS 39654






Thank you for your interest in this magazine. We would love to hear from you. Please understand that letters submitted become the property of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI and may be edited for length and clarity. E-mail us at, leave a comment on our Facebook page, or write to P.O. Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654.

Š eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted without written consent from the Publisher.


Advertising rates and more information are available upon request.

If you're a subscriber and your address has changed, please let us know. The post office doesn't provide forwarding service for the magazine and we don't want you to miss an issue. Send your change of address to us at P.O. Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654 or e-mail us at


Subscriptions are $24 for one year and $36 for two years. Subscribe online or make checks payable to: eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI 4500 I-55 N Ste 253 Jackson, MS 39211



Collect. Create. Celebrate. In Ridgeland, the masterpieces are yours in an array of galleries, the Mississippi Craft Center, the state’s premier shopping centers and the great outdoors. With an abundance of attractions and events, more than 1,600 quality hotel rooms and over 140 great restaurants, Ridgeland is the perfect stop for travelers seeking the arts – whether it be culinary, craft, fine art or just nature’s creations. Enjoy the Art of It Ridgeland.

Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival • April 2-3, 2016 F E AT U R I N G

Santé South Wine Festival and Ridgeland OBO Tandem Rally


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 11


JULIAN BRUNT is a food and culture writer from the Gulf Coast whose roots run more than three hundred years deep in Southern soil. He is deeply concerned with culinary and cultural traditions and thinks no man worth his salt that cannot hold forth in tall tale and willingly endure the heat of the kitchen.

LISA LAFONTAINE BYNUM is a freelance writer from Grenada. Her work has appeared in several publications in Mississippi. She is a graduate of Delta State University where she received a BA in Marketing and her MBA. In her free time, she enjoys food writing and photography. She currently resides in Brandon. Photo by Alisa Chapman Photography

and national newspapers. She is a restaurant reviewer and her travel, food, and lifestyle articles appear in magazines around the Southeast. She has taught Communication Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi and operates a marketing and public relations firm. She has served as a pageant judge, corporate trainer, and public speaker.

SUSAN MARQUEZ lives and writes in Madison. She has a degree in RadioTV-Film from the University of Southern Mississippi and had a long career in advertising and marketing before stumbling into a freelance writing career in 2001. Hundreds of published articles later, Marquez still loves to tell the stories of the interesting people, places, and events throughout the South.

KATHY K. MARTIN is an Ole Miss journalism graduate who currently lives in Collierville, Tennessee with her husband and two children. She works as a freelance writer and chairs her church’s Christian writers group. COOP COOPER is a journalist, film critic and filmmaker based in Clarksdale. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a B.F.A. in Cinema, and received his Masters in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Hollywood. You can read his past film-related articles at www.

KARA KIMBROUGH is an Associated Press award-winning journalist from Magee who enjoys interviewing everyone from ordinary Mississippians to celebrities. She writes a syndicated food column published in state


SARAH RUSSELL is a G.R.I.T.S (Girls Raised in the South) freelance writer. With a Master’s in Mass Communications, she has been a feature editor, corporate trainer and university instructor. A fourth generation teacher, third generation writer, Sarah inherited those genes from her Alabama grandmothers, one of whom was among the first women in the newspaper field. Sarah’s qualifications for writing for a Southern food magazine include an iced tea addiction, resulting in her Lipton blood type, as well as her unfaltering ability to joyfully consume whatever food she encounters.

GENNIE TAYLOR, a native of Forest, is a technical writer for L-3 Communications in Fayetteville, N.C. and a freelance writer, graphic designer, and photographer. She previously served for seven years as the publications coordinator at East Central Community College in Decatur. She is the former editor of The Demopolis Times, a five-day daily newspaper in Demopolis, Ala., and managing editor of The Scott County Times in Forest. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, she has received numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Mississippi and Alabama Press Associations. She and her husband, Steven, have one daughter, Mallory. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, reading and cooking.

KELSEY WELLS is a news writer at Lawrence County Press in Monticello. She is a graduate of Southwest Mississippi Community College where she served as editor of The Pine Burr. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications at William Carey University and served as a staff writer and life editor of The Cobbler student newspaper until she became managing editor her senior year. She currently resides in the Divide community where she is active in her church and community.

KATIE HUTSON WEST is a freelance writer from Tupelo. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University where she earned a B.S. degree in Marketing, Communications, and Business Psychology. An avid traveler, when home she resides in Starkville.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 13

{ what's hot }

Red Velvet Remake

Decadent treats have become a staple of Valentine’s Day. But not all Valentine’s celebrants want to indulge in high-calorie treats with their significant others. For those who want the decadence without all those extra calories, try the following low-calorie recipe for Rockin’ Red Velvet Trifle from Lisa Lillien’s Hungry Girl 200 Under 200: Just Desserts (St. Martin’s Press).

Rockin’ Red Velvet Trifle 1 packet hot cocoa mix with 20 to 25 calories 2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup moist-style devilÕs food cake mix 1/2 cup moist-style yellow cake mix 1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute 1/2 tablespoon red food coloring Dash of salt 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese 2 tablespoons Jell-O Sugar-Free Fat-Free Vanilla Instant pudding mix 2 tablespoons Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated) 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip (thawed) 4 cups chopped strawberries Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Place the cocoa mix and 1 tablespoon chocolate chips in a glass. Add 1/4 cup very hot water, and stir until mostly dissolved. Add 1/3 cup cold water. In a large bowl, combine the cake mixes, egg substitute, 14 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

food coloring, and salt. Add cocoa mixture, and whisk until smooth. Pour batter into the baking pan, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chocolate chips. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, 26 to 28 minutes. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes in the pan and 30 minutes out of the pan on a cooling rack. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir cream cheese until smooth. In another medium bowl, combine pudding mix with Splenda. Add vanilla extract and 1/4 cup cold water, and vigorously stir until mostly smooth and slightly thickened. Add cream cheese and 1 cup Cool Whip, and stir until uniform. Cover and refrigerate. Cut cake into 1-inch cubes. In a large glass bowl or trifle dish, evenly layer half of the cubed cake. Spread all of the pudding mixture over the cake layer. Evenly top with half of the strawberries. Continue layering with remaining cubed cake, Cool Whip and strawberries. Makes 8 servings

J O I N U S F O R T H E 7 6 T H A N N UA L

MARCH 28 - APRIL 9, 2016


Catfish & Blues

April 2

76 Years of Exemplary Historic Home Tours and Unparalleled Hospitality PILGRIMAGE 2016 EVENTS: MARCH 28 - APRIL 9 Tour 15 historic homes & gardens with carriage & double decker bus rides MARCH 28 Kickoff Party: crawfish and shrimp boil with live music APRIL 2 Pilgrimage Half Marathon & 5K • Artisan’s Alley: handcrafted period articles & food Catfish in the Alley® Festival: live blues and fried catfish APRIL 3 Chanticleer, “the world’s reigning male chorus” and GRAMMY® award-winning ensemble APRIL 9 Garden Party in Colonnade Garden with music, mint juleps and cheese straws MARCH 30, APRIL 1, 4, 6 & 8 Tales from the Crypt graveyard tour

go to for complete listing of events SAVE THE DATES: PILGRIMAGE 2017 MARCH 27-APRIL 8 | PILGRIMAGE 2018 APRIL 2-APRIL 14

Tennessee Williams Home & Welcome Center 300 Main Street • 800-920-3533 •

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 15

{ fabulous foodie finds }

2016 Color For the first time, Pantone is introducing two shades for color of the year. “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” saidLeatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of Pantone Color Institute®.

Pressed Glass Cake Stand, $29.95 Pier 1 Imports

Kate Aspen "The Perfect Mix" Kitchen Whisk, $1.99 Bed Bath and Beyond

H2Om Water Bottle, $28 lululemon, Jackson


see page 80 for store information

of the Year Smeg Retro-style Toaster, $149.95 Williams-Sonoma

Artisan® Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, $349.99 KitchenAid ®

Pickard Color Sheen Dinnerware Collection, Blue Platinum, $44 - $150 Williams-Sonoma eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 17

{ chef's corner }

Culinary Past Inspires Today’s Cooking


by chef ty thames

rowing up in the South, I was unaware of the bounty around me and it took moving away for me to understand the enormous beauty of my home state of Mississippi. Over the years and through the evolution of my work as a chef, I have realized a greater understanding and appreciation for the history and culture of Mississippi. I strive to play my small part by preserving our traditions that seem to be dying out of our rich culture due to modern conveniences. Preparing wholesome foods with real ingredients in a kitchen with the people you love is what I enjoy most about cooking. It is easy to see the heavy influence of the variety of cultures on our culinary traditions here in Mississippi; whether it is cornbread and grits or braised vegetables and our many uses of a pig. At our restaurants, these traditions resonate throughout the blue plates prepared at lunch to the confit of pig ear fried for one of our pasta dishes at dinner. As a chef, I am inspired by Southern food history, which enriches my culinary journey and brings a greater understanding and appreciation for the ingredients in the meals I create. It is essential to our restaurants that we stay true to the tradition and ingredients of the south in order to showcase Mississippi’s culinary values. Through the poverty of Mississippi we have learned how to use the entire animal and how to make and preserve the cheapest parts of the animal in an attempt to get the most out of the carcass. Somewhat lost today, but we can still see descendants of these times in items tucked away in familyowned convenience stores throughout our state. From pickled eggs, head cheese, and souse, to the neon red colored pigs feet nestled so “chainsaw like” in those snugly packed jars. However one’s taste might view these treats, one has to respect the era from which they came – time in our history when we used the whole animal and waste was not an option. As Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said, “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you what you are.” These words ring true today more than ever because we are not simply dealing with a few extra pounds, but with our quality of life, an economic impact on healthcare, and sometimes life and death. As a chef, I consider it my responsibility to seek out the natural process, and to preserve the traditions of our ancestors. This is what “Farm to Table” means to me – not simply words or a current fad, but a way of life. My life as a chef is a constant experiment, whether it is making vinegar from seasonal fruits, dehydrating whatever I can get my hands on, or chasing down lost recipes to recreate them, possibly with my own modern twist. It is invigorating to research and learn the history of our culinary past, which inspires me to become a better cook. I believe a restaurant should be the direct reflection of the chef ’s personality and showcase the beliefs and values of that person. We as a culture 18 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

are so caught up in a money-driven society and wanting everything at warp speed that we lose the true value of our local restaurants and the time-honored traditions of our past. Eat local is a conscious effort for us as a society not to lose our culinary history and to support the ones who mean the most, our neighbors. edm Chef Jonathan “Ty” Thames started his culinary career at the age of fifteen. Thames started his educational path at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he received a BA in Hospitality Management. He then went on to the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont where he graduated with distinction. After leaving Vermont, Thames moved to Parma, Italy to pursue his culinary passion of Italian cuisine. There he apprenticed under Chef Leonardo of Maria Luigi Restaurant. Upon returning to the U.S., Thames moved to Washington D.C. and began work at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Georgetown Property. He later moved to the regional Italian fine dining restaurant Centro, located in Bethesda, Maryland. Thames moved from D.C. to pursue his dream of owning a restaurant in his native state of Mississippi. Traveling back to his roots, he found home in Starkville and opened Restaurant Tyler on Main Street. Chef Thames is a supporter of the ‘eat local’ movement and uses only the freshest and most local ingredients from around the Golden Triangle.

Seafood Gumbo with Venison Boudin

Venison Boudin by Chef Ty Thames

11pounds venison (shoulder and/or hind quarter) 3 pounds pork shoulder (smoked if possible) 1 venison heart, cleaned (optional) 6 onions 5 bell peppers 1 bunch celery 2 tablespoons minced garlic 2 cups muscadine wine 12 cups Delta Grind rice, cooked 2 tablespoons granulated garlic 2 tablespoons onion powder 2 tablespoons Kosher salt 1 tablespoon red pepper 1 tablespoon black pepper 2 bunches fresh parsley, chopped 30 feet of hog casing

Cube raw venison, venison heart, if available, and smoked pork shoulder small enough to pass through a grinder; place aside. Small dice onions, bell peppers, and celery. In a large pan, sweat vegetables until translucent. Add garlic and deglaze with wine. Cook for 10 minutes, then place aside to cool. While vegetables are cooking, grind the venison and pork mixture. Once vegetable mixture is cooled, add to venison mixture. Add seasonings and pass through the grinder one more time, then add rice and parsley to mixture. Load sausage press and load tubing with hog casing. Make sure to run cold water through the casing before loading in the sausage tube. Press sausage mix into casing and twist to desired sausage link. Once sausage is twisted and laid out, poke holes in casing with sausage pricker. Vacuum seal sausage, label, date, and refrigerate. For long time storage, place in freezer. Recommended cooking method: Poach in vacuum bag or Sous Vide. Yield: 23-1/2 pounds eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 19

DEEP SOUTH DISH Food. Family. Memories.

Mississippi Catfish Reigns Supreme BY MARY FOREMAN


Mary Foreman, a native of Biloxi, is the author of the popular website, where she shares her favorite, homespun, mostly from scratch and, very often, heirloom and heritage, Southern recipes. She is also author of her first cookbook, Deep South Dish: Homestyle Southern Recipes.


arm-raised catfish is a huge industry in Mississippi, boasting about 75% of the world’s supply, making us first in total U.S. catfish production. In fact, the area around Belzoni claims the title of Catfish Capital of the World, with 117 catfish farms and more than 35,000 acres of farm-raised catfish. Every April, they host a huge World Catfish Festival, drawing crowds in the upwards of 20,000 to the Delta. The only catfish I will buy is Mississippi farm-raised catfish. Some of the best catfish in town comes from Pleasant’s in Ocean Springs, a barbecue joint that is attached to a used tire store. If you aren’t from the South, you might be surprised to hear that. Believe it or not, some of the best barbecue joints here have a similar hole-in-the-wall connection as they are located next to a variety of automobile-related services, primarily gas stations, or some kind of auto repair shop. Generous servings and reasonable prices are what has made family-owned Pleasant’s a best kept local secret since the early 80s. Tourists generally happen upon them accidentally when they find themselves in need of a temporary tire for the trip home. Because they are right on the Ocean Springs leg of our annual Cruisin’ the Coast event, more folks have been introduced to their food along the route. They carry the usual barbecue fare from brisket, chicken, sausage and ribs, all the typical sides, their own signature sauce, and even homemade sweet potato, coconut, and pecan pies, but they also offer daily lunch specials from meatloaf with mashed potatoes, cabbage and cornbread, to smothered chops with collards, rice and gravy, and blackened chicken with fettuccine, salad, and garlic toast. Friday it’s all about the catfish, though, and while I don’t know for sure, I can’t help but wonder if they must use some rub in the coating. Either way, it is hands down the best catfish on the Coast in my humble opinion. I’ve started adding a bit of my own rub to my fried catfish coating and find it only adds another delicious flavor element. Some folks season and coat all of their fried seafood exactly the same, but in my kitchen, fried shrimp is coated in self-rising flour, oysters are coated only in yellow corn meal, and catfish is coated in a mixture of the two, with mostly cornmeal and a little flour. I also prefer to cook catfish in smaller strips when I deep fry it, rather than cooking them as large whole fillets like I do when I pan fry. I love the way the smaller pieces curl up in the fryer - to me, that’s deepfried catfish! edm

BBQ Joint Deep Fried Catfish ©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

3 pounds catfish fillets 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, or to taste, optional Canola oil for frying 2 cups all-purpose yellow cornmeal 1/2 cup self-rising flour 2 tablespoons BBQ rub (see recipe below or use your favorite commercial rub) Hot sauce, for the table Rinse the fillets. Cut into three to four strips lengthwise, at a slight diagonal. Season fish with salt, pepper and Old Bay, rubbing into fish; set aside. Preheat fryer to 375 degrees F or heat enough oil to fully submerge fish in a large, deep sided, iron skillet. Whisk the cornmeal, flour and BBQ rub together in a large bowl. Dredge catfish fillets in the mixture until well coated, shake off excess and set aside. Once the oil is heated, pass fillets through the cornmeal mixture again, shake off and carefully slide fish into the fryer with the basket lowered. Fry only a few at a time so as not to overcrowd and bring down the temperature of the oil. Fry until fish floats and is golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on size of strips. Drain on several layers of paper towels or plain brown paper bags,

before transferring to a platter or individual plates. For hushpuppies, add enough buttermilk or milk to the remaining dredging cornmeal to form a thick batter and drop by spoonfuls into the hot oil until browned and cooked through. Offer hot sauce and tartar sauce at the table. Tip: Frozen catfish sometimes has a muddy flavor to it. Remove any fat and/or dark flesh that is present on the fillets and soak them for 30 minutes at room temperature in a salt water, with 1 tablespoon of salt for a quart of water. You may also cover them with buttermilk.

BBQ Rub ©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

2 t. paprika 2 t. brown sugar 1/2 t. garlic powder 1/2 t. dry mustard 1/4 t. cumin 1/2 t. salt 1/4 t. black pepper 1/4 teaspoon red pepper Mix all ingredients together. continued on page 80 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 21

Junior Chef Starkville Youth Competes on Food Network’s Chopped Junior story by katie hutson west photography by robbie coblentz


The Food Network kitchen in New York City was full of beautiful foods that Mark and the other contestants could use as they prepared their dishes during the competition. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 23


hen it comes to local celebrities in Starkville, Dan Mullen and Dak Prescott are usually asked for autographs and selfies everywhere they go in the area. But recently another joined their ranks when he was introduced to the nation as a contender on Food Network’s Chopped Junior. Mark Coblentz, a 12-year-old seventh grader and son to Robbie and Bonnie, was thrilled to make it through the auditions and paperwork for the show, which aired in November 2015. A game of skill and time management, Chopped competitors are given baskets of mystery ingredients

ABOVE - Mark Coblentz uses a kitchen torch he got for Christmas to caramelize the top of crème brulee he made for his family for dessert. RIGHT - One of Mark Coblentz’s signature dishes is a creamy shrimp béchamel he makes with sautéed vegetables. He prepared this dish to audition for Chopped Junior.


they must use to create an appetizer, main course, and dessert. The show can get a little crazy, but Coblentz was prepared. “My mom and dad made up baskets of mystery ingredients and then timed me,” Coblentz says of his rehearsals, adding, “And the time constraint was a lot harder than cooking with the mystery ingredients!” He also got a lot of help from Starkville’s chef Ty Thames, owner of Restaurant Tyler (Eat. Drink.Mississippi – April/May 2014). “Chef Ty and his sous chef helped me a lot with perfecting my technique and especially with plating,” says Coblentz. With a lot of practice and planning, Coblentz and family made their way to New York for the competition and filming. “I had an idea of what I wanted to make beforehand, like ice cream for dessert,” says Coblentz. But some things he couldn’t plan for. “What they didn’t show on TV was that I spilled it twice!” Even though he had a couple of accidents, Coblentz found cooking in the show’s kitchen better than his at home. “It was actually easier…the show’s kitchen was a lot bigger and there weren’t any school books and stuff laying around!” As a boy from the South, he was happy to see something very familiar as one of the main course’s mystery ingredients. “I felt like I had the upper hand when I saw the venison, since I’m a hunter from Mississippi,” said Coblentz. And when it comes to cooking deer, he has some advice. “Venison should be cooked medium rare…lots of people cook it medium or more, but medium rare is best.” So when you live with a chef in training, who fixes dinner?

Mark Coblentz enjoys visiting with Andrea Self as a guest on the set of her show, Mid-Morning with Aundrea on WCBI in Columbus. “My parents do most of the cooking, but once or twice every couple of weeks I’ll find a recipe I want to try out and I’ll ask if I can cook that night…and they always say yes,” says Coblentz, with a gleam of pride in his eye. And when he’s not the one cooking, he’s not shy about giving his parents some advice in the kitchen. “My dad’s a pretty good cook and we usually see eye to eye, but my mom…” says Coblentz as he trails off, glimpsing her way. “I’m getting thrown under the bus here!” Bonnie exclaims with a laugh. Coblentz also has advice for other kids getting into the cooking game. “Don’t stop trying…just keep making the same recipe, but use different seasonings,” the young chef recommends. And he’s taking his own advice when it comes to the kitchen skill he hasn’t quite perfected yet - candy making. “My caramel ended up too hard…but I’m blaming the candy thermometer!” said the junior cook. For recipes that work a lot better for Coblentz than the caramel does, the Chopped alum’s website (www.markthechef. com) contains recipes for fares like “Fluffy, Fluffy Mallows” and “Mark’s Almost World Famous Chicken Pot Pie.” It’s also full of info about the young chef - press releases, future appearances, and even instructional how-to videos.

As for his future, Coblentz says he would love to own a restaurant someday, starting with Starkville and then expanding across the U.S. But for now, Coblentz hopes to participate on another cooking competition show soon; perhaps ‘MasterChef Junior’ will come calling. And with his parents as his biggest fans, the sky is the limit. “Robbie and I are just extremely proud of the talent and drive that has taken him down the cooking path…He decided he wanted to do something and he did it,” says proud mom, Bonnie, adding, “There’s no way I could’ve done what he did.” When it comes to being a local celebrity, Coblentz says, “It’s cool!” He’s also honored the town seeks him out for the holidays to score one of his homemade pies. But it’s not just the townsfolk who crave Coblentz’s talent. “My teachers always want me to cook something for class parties,” says the junior chef. And although he’s not quite sure if cooking or football is his favorite, he combined the two by cooking his delicious donuts for his junior high football team’s coaches and he also says, “I’d definitely love to cook donuts for Dak!” Already an exciting past at such a young age, Coblentz has a bright future ahead and it’ll be a treat to see what comes out of his kitchen. edm eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 25


Easy, Creamy Shrimp Béchamel by Mark Coblentz

1 cup heavy cream +/- 1-1/2 cups milk 2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 1 cup mozzarella cheese 1 lemon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg Salt and white pepper, to taste 1 pound fettuccine noodles 1 pound peeled shrimp 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces 8 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Boil fettuccine according to label directions. Drain and set aside. In a saucepan, melt butter and combine flour until it forms a thick paste. Slowly add in the milk until it forms a gravy-like sauce. Add in heavy cream, mozzarella and nutmeg. Let simmer. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a sauté pan and add asparagus. Let cook for 3-5 minutes, or until asparagus begins to soften. Add in mushrooms and let sauté for 2 minutes. Then, add the shrimp and tomatoes and let cook for 2-4 minutes or until the shrimp is bright orange. Squeeze half a lemon over the top. Combine parmesan, salt and pepper into the béchamel sauce. Immediately pour the sautéed vegetables and shrimp into the sauce. Pour drained pasta in next and gently toss until thoroughly combined. Finish with the other half of the lemon squeezed over top and garnish with fresh herbs.

Why advertise with us? Reach over 40,000 readers with each issue. Distributed throughout Mississippi and more than 35 states. Mississippi’s only magazine dedicated to the food and hospitality it’s famous for. Jerky - Sauces - Rubs - Marinades - Jams - Jellies - Popcorn - Snacks - More

For more information, call 601.540.5858 or email: VOLUME









R 2015





all ORS of F

+ Ravine + 1933 + Henri's + Coffee Pot Cafe + The Sicilian II








EY TURK formation Trans



IPPI • 1







page 41

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1





RecipeING s Fire &




eat. drink.



I •1

Visit our website to order online and we’ll ship it to you! Breed




nuary 2016 December/Ja

eat. drink.


ember 2015


Roasted outs Spr Brussels page 31

y's Eudora Weltcake White Fruit page 30

-to-Tab DINN le ER

Shrimping Trip ptember



pi Mississip UNITY

+ Vicari + Rose’ Italian Grill + Sway’ s Downtown Baker + Strom s Bistro y & Tearo + Cast boli’s Italian om Iron Cafe Eatery



the Day in Y

eat. drink.

eat. drink.

use • Pub + AC’s Steakhoon Deer Creek + Five O’clock y Full Serv Compan + Lou’s Burger + The Twisted Tiger + The Blind


use Block Steakho + The Auction Biscuit Bar + The Blue Rooftop Grill & + 10 South & See + Taste Barrel + Keg &

PeaEcCTLY hy

eat. drink.



pi Mississip TABLES FARMIPPI • 1

eat. drink.



eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 27

{ mississippi made }

Let It Drip Raymond Horn Turns Craving for Good Cold-brewed Coffee Into Thriving Business by gennie taylor


orking in California as a chef and frustrated with As an adult, Horn moved from New Orleans to California the desire for a taste from his home, the Big Easy, and then on to Mississippi. While working in California, Horn Raymond Horn was faced with the inability to find said he found the coffee offerings to be unsatisfactory. what he considered “good” “No one in California coffee. These circumstances made cold brew coffee, began Horn’s adventure so I started doing it as a into becoming a full-time hobby,” Horn said. “When entrepreneur by founding I moved to Mississippi and Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee started working at Table 100 and Tea Company, bringing (Flowood), I began making it back his roots of Southern for the crew and just to show culinary tradition with quality people. After about a year ingredients made in an “oldof just making it and giving fashioned way.” it away, I then started selling Mississippi Cold Drip it to friends in a very casual creates a cold-brewed coffee way.” concentrate which, when Horn began selling mixed with water or milk to his product under cottage taste, creates a robust, versatile food laws at local farmers coffee that is more flavorful markets in Jackson and and less acidic than regular Livingston after developing heat-brewed coffee. This his concentrate while working concentrate can also be used as a chef at a retirement in baking, cooking, cocktails, community in California. Founder of Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee and Tea and can be mixed at varying Just getting himself Co. Raymond Horn (right) poses with his sister, volumes and strengths for any established, he developed a Kathleen Horn, (left) during the company’s palate. following at local farmers grand opening celebration of the company’s As a child in New Orleans, markets. first brewing facility at The Hatch located Horn has early memories of “The farmers market was at 126 Keener Ave., in Jackson’s Midtown coffee. His mother brewed so good for me because I neighborhood. coffee concentrate in whiskey could give everybody a little bottles - there was always one cup to taste and I converted a brewing on the counter and one ready to drink in the fridge, lot of people to cold-brew coffee,” Horn said. Horn said. Before school, Horn and his siblings would have Not only was the farmers market a good audience to “coffee milk” with just a splash of that silky concentrate. introduce his cold brew to, it was also a great resource of direct 28 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

feedback from his consumers, he added. “Mississippi Cold Drip is a company that believes in providing good business, good service, and great coffee,” Horn said. Founded in 2010, Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee and Tea Company is a locally owned and operated Mississippi business committed to offering a strong, healthy, and consistent coffee and tea concentrate for consumers. Not to be confused with iced coffee, which is hot-brewed coffee on ice, cold brew requires patience, Horn said. “Need a little more time, so you don’t have heat, so you need to have the coffee soaking for a longer period of time,

usually 24 to 36 hours,” he said. Horn developed this method from his mom and his strong New Orleans heritage. If you’re not familiar with it, cold drip coffee is a part of The Big Easy culture. Because Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee is brewed without heat, it produces a stable, pure coffee concentrate. The concentrate is stronger, smoother, and healthier than heatbrewed coffee, with 65 percent less oils and acids, Horn explained. “The slow brew accounts for the robust flavor and high caffeine content,” he said. “This coffee is delicious served both hot and cold.” eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 29

In addition, the slow process of soaking ground coffee beans creates a product that is less acidic than its heat-brewed counterpart, he said. In 2015, Mississippi Cold Drip became the first business to open in midtown Jackson’s Hatch incubator, signifying a major step forward for the pilot program partnership between Millsaps College’s business school and the Midtown Partners. Horn credits his work with the ELSEWorks program at Millsaps College for his business development. The program pairs the college’s business students with existing and start-up businesses to give the students hands-on experience. A pair of seniors worked with Horn to develop new labels, bottles, and go through the FDA approval process. “They did incredible work and I am so grateful for their assistance with my business,” Horn said. “They’ve catapulted me to where I am today,” Horn said. Mississippi Cold Drip sells three sizes of cold brewed coffee concentrate (16 ounces, 32 ounces, and 64 ounces), a Chai tea concentrate, and a vanilla caramel coffee sweetener called “Ray Au Lait.” The Chai Tea Concentrate is made from a combination of 13 different herbs and spices and is perfect for tea and coffee fans alike. The Chai Concentrate is sweet and flavorful, Horn said. “The concentrate allows you to make as much or as little as

you like, and to mix the concentrate with water or milk of any kind,” he described. It can also be used in a Dirty Chai, which is made by combining the Mississippi Drip Chai and Coffee Concentrates. The Ray au Lait Sweetener was developed after Horn found that his homemade brown sugar syrup perfectly complimented his caramel sweetener and that his customers loved the combination. “It’s the perfect creamy sweetener for our robust coffee concentrate and is definitely a fan favorite,” he said. He currently sells his products at local grocery stores and farmers markets in the Jackson and Hattiesburg areas. Flowood’s Table 100 and Babalu, which has expanded from Fondren to Birmingham, Memphis, and Nashville, serve drinks using his coffee concentrate. In addition to ordering a specialty drink at Table 100, Ray’s cold drip coffee is also used in the tiramisu made at The Manship Restaurant. Horn said recently his company has expanded into Kroger’s 30 stores in the metro Jackson area with planned expansion into Starkville and Oxford. edm Mississippi Cold Drip 601.622.4116

Give a gift that lasts all year, a gift subscription to...


k. t.SSdISSriIPn eaMI PI . k eat. d n r t. drIiPPI 1

ME 4,


ER 6



ME 4,




2015 Block BER Auction + TheTEM UST+/SEP The Blue Biscuit


+ 10 South Rooftop + Taste & See + Keg & Barrel





MISS ISSIP PI Eudora We FLlty'AkesVO itca Fru RS White

Grill & Bar

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

hy Peac

of Fal

+ AC’

s Ste + Five akhous 30 page e • Pub + Lou O’clock eat.

on ’s + The Full Ser Deer Cre ek + The Twisted v Bur Blind Tiger ger Com pany

drink. MISSIS

ge 34








Only 24 Day


COU in the NTRY Heritage Breed







-Ta rm-to








k. eat. drin





MississippSi FARM TABLE I •1

eat. drink. MISSISSIPP

ber 2015


ber/N ovem








ry 2016



l & Tea ian Grilwn Bakery ari Ital + Vic e’s Downto ery + Ros Bistro ian Eat ay’s + Sw mboli’s Ital e + Stro Iron Caf t + Cas


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

st/Sep Augu

BrussRoasted els S prouts page 31

er 2015 temb

for six issues! eat. drin

k. MIS


PI •



Fresh Twist

Basic asparagus gets a fresh twist with this Asparagus Tart, which blends savory Jarlsberg cheese and puff pastry for a pretty presentation that can be cut into squares before serving.

Asparagus Tart 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, shredded 1 pound asparagus 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves Salt and pepper Heat oven to 400 F. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out puff pastry into 16-by-10-inch rectangle, trimming uneven edges. Place on baking sheet.

With knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch from edges to mark rectangle. Using fork, pierce dough inside markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove pastry shell from oven and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Trim asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside pastry shell. Arrange in single layer over cheese, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, sprinkle thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, about 20 minutes.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 31

The recipe for this Southern Pecan Cake will appear in Deborah Hunter’s cookbook that is currently in production. 32 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

Sweet As Honey Deborah Hunter Shares Love of Cooking Through Various Types of Media story by susan marquez | photography by christina foto


here’s no way to listen to Deborah Hunter and not be affected by her energy and charisma. The beautiful and upbeat lady known by thousands as “Honey” has an amazing following online, both on Facebook and on a YouTube channel that features her show “Cooking with Honey and Friends.” Hunter hasn’t always been a cook. “I didn’t start cooking seriously until 2010,” she said. A native of West Jackson and a graduate of Lanier High School, Hunter is a pastor’s daughter. “Both of my parents are pastors of a local church. I’m the

oldest of four children, but I didn’t cook when I was growing up.” The turning point in her cooking life came when Hunter moved to Terry. “I asked the Lord to teach me how to cook,” she recalled. “I felt an urgency to go to the grocery where I bought all the ingredients to make a pound cake, which I had never done before. I took it to my mother and it passed her test—she loved it!” Hunter started cooking all the time, reading cookbooks, talking to others, and trying new recipes and techniques. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 33


In 2011, she had the concept of “Cooking with Honey and Friends.” “For a while I cooked elaborate dinners for my friends and family a couple of times a week. It was something I really enjoyed doing, and it gave me a lot of great hands-on experience. Then my oldest brother was killed in a tragic car accident. I looked for something to do to help me through my grief. I felt like I was a giant computer download until one day I heard ‘Cooking with Honey and Friends.’ After being on Facebook for three or four months, I decided to do a YouTube video. The ball started rolling and has been going ever since!” Hunter recorded dozens of YouTube videos in her kitchen, and gained a loyal following of viewers. Randy Tinney, a local businessman who runs Local 98 on cable television, reached out to Hunter and asked if she’d like to do a television show. He put together a crew and she started cooking. “We’ve done six episodes for television, and the response has been great,” said Hunter. That show gave Hunter a bit of local notability, and she was asked to be the special guest at the ribbon cutting for the new Terry branch of Hope Credit Union and she was invited to be a featured guest at the Paint the Town Red event. Jason Kline, a radio producer for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, watched all of Hunter’s 55 YouTube videos with his wife and said “we have to give her a job!” Now Hunter has a regular segment on MPB radio called “Deep South Dining” along with Kevin Ferrill. “The show airs at 9 a.m. each Monday, so I call Kevin my Monday Morning Man! I always cook a dish and take it with me to the station.” In addition to her broadcasting duties, Hunter has also been asked to write a regular food column for the Byram Banner. Hunter says hers is a story of faith, food, and miracles. “To go from saying a prayer asking God to teach me how to cook to being on television and radio is beyond my wildest dreams!” Hunter says she had the privilege to be on a panel at Mississippi’s first ever book festival, even though she has yet to write a cookbook of her own. She sat on a panel with four renowned Mississippi chefs, and one of them has actually joined her on the set of her television show. “We aren’t just about food,” Hunter stressed. “This is a movement. This isn’t just food, it’s Mississippi food. Southern living is about a whole way of life, not just the meal. We live in a place where we can enjoy nature. The pace is slower here. I have traveled all over the world, and I’m always happiest when I come back home. This conversation with and about food is what my life is about. We all come from God, light and wholeness. Food nourishes our bodies and feeds our souls. That love language, that song, really makes food what it is. I want people to have a love affair with their lives! That starts when you are preparing food for yourself and others. We eat in joy and in sadness. I once heard that when you cook, your DNA is transferred into the food, and then shared with those who eat it. It’s impossible for that moment not to happen. Food connects us all. When I cook, I pray for people I may never see. I pray for leadership. I have a deep-seated need to push forward with this every day!” You can follow Hunter on Facebook at www.facebook. com/cookingwithhoneyandfriends. You can also subscribe to her YouTube channel, edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 35

Honey’s Stuffed Collard Greens by Deborah Turner

“Like Mississippi, these greens are packed full of flavor and a lot of down home goodness. My secret for a great pot of greens starts with an delectable broth. For me, it always starts with choosing the meatiest turkey necks or legs, allowing them to boil down until they are falling off the bones tender.”

3 very robust turkey necks Water Salt and pepper, to taste 1 coarsely chopped onion 1 cup chopped celery 24 ounces collard greens 1 bag mixed peppers 1 cup turnip roots 1 large sweet red onion, coarsely chopped 1 cup Country Pleasin sausage link, thinly sliced 1-1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions 1-1/2 tablespoon brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


In a large pot, add turkey necks and cover with water. Add salt and pepper, to taste. (If salt is not on the menu for you, try using a salt substitute like Mrs. Dash Original.) Next add chopped onion and celery. Allow turkey necks to boil until falling of the bone tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Once turkey necks are done, remove from the broth and put them aside, allowing to cool. Add collard greens to the broth, making sure that the greens are completely submerged. After 35 minutes of cooking, add to your collard greens the mixed peppers, turnip roots, red onion, and sausage. Remove the meat from the turkey necks and add to the greens. Then, add crushed red pepper, green onions, brown sugar, and baking soda. Reduce heat to low and allow the greens to simmer for another 15 minutes.


“This cornbread is a true representation of my personality - never being afraid to think outside the box. It’s how Southern girls do it; we do it with style and class. After all, there's good then there's Mississippi good.” 1 package of your favorite red velvet cake mix 1/2 cup of hot water 5 eggs, divided 1-2/3 cups of buttermilk, divided 1/4 cup of melted butter or coconut oil 2 teaspoons of vanilla 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper 2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix 1 tablespoon sour cream 1/4 cup of sugar

In a large mixing bowl, add cake mix and water. Mix well. Then, add 3 eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, butter, vanilla, and cayenne pepper. Blend all ingredients together and sit aside. In a second bowl, add cornbread mix, 2/3 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, sour cream, and sugar. Mix batters together by adding one half of the cornbread batter at a time into the cake batter, stirring until no yellow streaks remain. Pour mixed batter into a large cast-iron skillet or your favorite muffin tin. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350F until cornbread is firm to the touch when lightly pressed in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 37

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Delta Supper Club Co-founders: David Crews, Kimme Hargrove, Stewart Robinson 38 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

Delta Supper Club Encourages People to Put Down the Phone, Enjoy Good Food and Conversation story By Lisa LaFontaine Bynum | photography by rory doyle


t’s a beautiful evening in late October. Overhead, the sun the culinary greatness of Mississippi, but also wanted the event fades into a pink and purple sky. Clinking glasses and the to have a philanthropic aspect. Part of the proceeds went smell of food lead hungry revelers down a gravel path directly to Mississippi culinary arts students. The proceeds towards a lighted pavilion. also provided funding to the Delta Seed Bank, which fills the The scene described does not take place on a vineyard in private gardens of the residents of the Mississippi Delta with California. Or an expansive terrace in The Hamptons. It’s the inaugural dinner of the Delta Supper Club, which took place on the grounds of historic Dockery Farms Plantation. The Delta Supper Club is the brainchild of Stewart Robinson, a native of Holly Springs who grew up listening to the stories his grandfather told about life in the Mississippi Delta. Later, Robinson became co-owner, chef, and guide for Esperanza Outdoors at Linden Plantation in Glen Allen. It was then that Robinson began to understand the essence of the Mississippi Delta that was always interwoven within his grandfather’s tales. Out of this sprung a desire to share the Mississippi Delta with more people. “The Delta has this neat tourism thing going on,” Robinson explains. “People like Delta Supper Club co-founders Chef David Crews and Stewart [tv personalities] Andrew Zimmern and Robinson welcome guests to the inaugural event. Anthony Bourdain have visited here because they know it and want more folks to see it.” Robinson tossed his idea out to his friend Chef David Crews, executive chef of Six Shooter Land and Timber in Drew, executive chef of Merrimac Farms, and 2013 winner of The Great American Seafood Cookoff. Crews jumped on the idea and the pair recruited Kimme Hargrove, marketing associate for Hammons & Associates in Greenwood to round out the team. “Our grandparents used to have supper clubs,” adds Robinson. “Here in the Delta, everyone is so spread out. Your friends and family live far away, so you have to make your own fun. I thought it would be fun to host a get together once a month. I wanted to bring in a chef and have them hang out and let us show them what makes the Mississippi Delta so neat.” Delta Supper Club co-founder Kimmie Hargrove during opening The group not only wanted to highlight remarks. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 39

Guests enjoyed live blues music, appetizers, and local beverages during a cocktail hour before the meal was served.

Food was served family-style in order to encourage guests to get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company.


heirloom, organic seed in exchange for the opportunity to buy a portion of the yield. Guests are required to pay an annual fee to become a member of the Delta Supper Club. Members have the opportunity to purchase up to four tickets to any supper club event on a first come, first serve basis. Members receive an email with a hot link to purchase tickets as soon as they go on sale. Chef Edward Lee, owner of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky, was invited to kick off the event. Lee’s farm-to-table approach ensured that the best of Mississippi’s bounty would be the star of the evening. Trey Zoeller, founder of Jefferson’s Bourbon, was also a special guest. The nine-course meal began with an outdoor cocktail hour where guests enjoyed live blues music while wetting their whistle to libations from Cathead Vodka, Crooked Letter Brewing, and Southern Prohibition Brewing. Three appetizers were passed around, including caprese skewers made from heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and living basil pesto; Asian pork belly wraps; and rice balls topped with catfish gravy. The food highlighted many Mississippi-made products, such as pasture-raised pork from Home Place Pastures in Como, Delta Blues Rice, Delta Grind Grits, Simmons Catfish, Mississippi Seafood, Linden Plantation honey, Brown’s Dairy, and Sweet Magnolia Ice Cream. The main courses were served family-style because Stewart wanted to, “replicate our grandparent’s supper club. I wanted folks to enjoy each other’s company.” Guests were served roasted oysters with bourbon brown butter; a fried green

tomato served over arugula with pear, confit tomato, pine nuts, and topped with buttermilk dressing; cornmeal-fried catfish with jalapeño mint tartar sauce; adobo fried chicken served with Thai chili dipping sauce; and oven-braised brisket with Jefferson’s Bourbon peach glaze. For dessert, guests were served Southern chess pie with buttermilk brown sugar and Jefferson’s Bourbon gelato. Robinson says that while the food was fantastic, the highlight of the meal was when his wife pointed out something significant. “She came over to me and said, ‘Have you noticed? Not a single person is looking at their phone. They are all talking to each other,’” he recalls. “I felt like we really won. We managed to create an environment where people were comfortable enough to put the phone down and enjoy a conversation.” Robinson had no idea how people would initially embrace the Delta Supper Club, but the response has been overwhelming. The second event, which will take place in Clarksdale, sold out in just 80 minutes. Robinson hopes one day to host an event every 60 days. “The Delta has panoramic sunsets that rival anything at the beach,” he says, “There is a certain kind of relaxation that comes from being out in the middle of nowhere. Only Delta people know about it. We want to give people a reason to come here and get that exposure for Mississippi. That’s what this is all about.” edm Delta Supper Club 662.202.5695

Chef Edward Lee eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 41

Sensible Switches

Reach Weight Loss Goals With Small, Easy Steps by sarah russell


ot going to happen. You’ve tried and tried – every year, so many years. With massive amounts of determination, you load the fridge with raw vegetables, you pull out the workout clothes. Good to go! Before long, the only thing gone is your willpower. You’re left with the same old guilt, the ever present bulges, and the nagging thought that there has to be a better way to lose weight and get in shape. There is – ditch the all-or-nothing approach. Try small, easy steps instead. Sodas, sweet tea and juices – start there, suggests Rebecca Turner, a registered dietician and author of Mind Over Fork. Downsize


your sodas and/or eliminate some altogether. Your scales like tea and lemonade better. Sweet tea? – order it half sweet/ half plain or order it plain, adding your own sweetener. Drink lots of water, especially before meals, to trick your stomach. Hunger cue or thirst cue – the body gets the same message, Turner says. Give veggies flavor by substituting some broth for the water. A working mom, Turner likes the convenience of steamable vegetables. Before serving, she adds a pinch of salt, then maybe some spices – like Mrs. Dash. “Sometimes when we try to go healthy, we over-free everything,” she explains. “Additives make healthier foods more appetizing.” At 6’3” and 290 lbs., Chef Chris Ellis got his doctor’s orders – literally. Now the Project CHEW (Choose Healthy, Eat Wise) Coordinator for the Culinary Arts Institute at Mississippi University for Women, Ellis serves himself vegetables first, limiting plate space. Switching to a salad plate, Turner suggests, shorts unhealthy portions, too. Elliis’s challenge: “I was a huge pasta fan. That was a big one for me.” Now he cooks whole wheat pasta. Switching to whole wheat – pasta, bread, pancakes – can be easier than cutting foods out entirely. When baking – from scratch or mix – swap out some wheat flour for white – equal parts. Sugar addict? Replace two whole tablespoons of sugar with 1/3 teaspoon vanilla. Try unsweetened applesauce, too, in an equal substitution, cutting back 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe. Applesauce also substitutes for oil/butter in equal amounts. Unsweetened pureed pumpkin is another fat-controlling friend as are mashed sweet potatoes, bananas, or avocados. The consistency and creaminess of Greek yogurt also makes a great substitution, suggests Turner. Use it as well to beat out – in even exchanges – the sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese in recipes. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too! Toppings can kill good intentions though. Try marshmallow crème with dark chocolate chips instead of frosting. Top off a bare cake with whipped cream, drizzles of honey or chocolate syrup, fresh fruit, or unsweetened all fruit jams. Flavored yogurt - regular or frozen? Absolutely! Your pancakes will feel the love, too. A major obstacle to weight loss is that we overfeed the beast by fork-racing. Let your stomach tell you if it’s full, which takes 20 minutes from your first bite. Ellis says, “Enjoy the meal on purpose.” Focus instead on how smart you are with your substitutions. In no time you will be looking good! edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 43

{ from mississippi to beyond }

Culinary Wordsmith Cookbook Author Susan Puckett Shares Expertise of Food-focused Writing


By Kathy K. Martin


usan Puckett jokes that she took the backwards way popular columns in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Puckett to becoming a food writer and editor. “I became a worked as the food editor there for almost 19 years before she cookbook author at age 23 before I knew how to write a left in 2008 to concentrate on her other projects. That same recipe,” she says. That first book, A Cook’s Tour of Mississippi, year she was one of five newspaper food editors recognized by includes an introduction by famed Mississippi writer Willie Saveur magazine in their annual top 100 tribute to food-related Morris and is a collector’s item today. people, places, and things. Born and raised in Jackson, Puckett graduated from Ole Puckett feels that conversations about food lead people to Miss in 1977 with a degree in journalism and a budding passion open up in interviews. Her greatest satisfaction comes through for putting Southern food traditions into words. She especially helping people tell their stories. “I’ve found that chefs have loved stories that reminded her of her grandparents and she great stories to share and telling their stories has become my found that talking to cooks really inspired her. She eventually calling card.” settled in Decatur, Georgia, where she lives and works today. She has coached James Beard-nominated chef Steven As a rookie reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, Puckett wrote a Satterfield of Atlanta’s Miller Union on his first cookbook, Root variety of feature stories that led to food-focused stories. She To Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons. It was named began learning how to cook as her stories grew into features on by Epicurious and Vogue as one of the best cookbooks of 2015. Mississippi’s fading food traditions such as working gristmills, She is also collaborating with Eddie Hernandez, executive molasses making, and cushaw melons. She met the farmers behind the food and the wives who created the recipes. As her enthusiasm for food grew, she decided to study food and nutrition at Iowa State University, which led to her second cookbook, A Cook’s Tour of Iowa, before returning to the South to become a fulltime food writer and editor. She has continued to write for many magazines such as Country Living and Saveur and to edit awardwinning food sections of major newspapers in Ohio, Florida, and Georgia. She has produced and collaborated on 10 cookbooks. Plus, she has spoken at food writing events, Susan Puckett immersed herself in the Mississippi Delta as she got to know judged cookbook and food the late Rat Ratliff, proprietor of the historic Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, journalism competitions, and where she stayed during her book research. co-taught a food magazine writing class at Ole Miss. She traveled with college students throughout the Mississippi Delta to explore the chef of Taqueria del Sol restaurants, on his cookbook and is state’s unique foodways from hot tamales to haute cuisine. working with other culinary clients on their literary projects as The students published their stories and photographs in a she continues to write a monthly feature for Atlanta magazine. magazine that garnered the Best Student Magazine award Her stories feature chefs and their renowned recipe techniques, from the Society of Professional Journalists’ national awards which she translates for the home kitchen. competition. Puckett also produced a travelogue with recipes Most of her cooking at home revolves around testing entitled, Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler’s Journey Through the recipes for her writing projects. Her husband, Ralph Ellis, who Soul of the South. “My experience in the Delta reconnected me is also a journalist, serves as taste tester. As she recalls her back to Mississippi with a writer’s perspective.” hundreds of interviews for stories and books, she finds that Many of the cookbooks Puckett either wrote or co-wrote people in the South seem to have a deeper connection to their (Dips; The 5:30 Challenge: 5 Ingredients, 30 Minutes, Dinner on the food and its history. “I’m grateful to have grown up around Table; and The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce Cookbook), developed from that special bond.” edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 45

Cheddar-Jalapeño Bites


Cheddar-Jalapeño Bites by Susan Puckett

"I got this recipe for these tender, cheesy little biscuits from a friend who brought them to a party, where they were a huge hit. They are incredibly easy to make, and freeze well – perfect to take to a potluck when you’re short on time." 1-3/4 sticks (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter 8 ounces sour cream 2 cups self-rising flour 3/4 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese 3 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray mini muffin tins with nonstick vegetable spray. Set aside. Place butter in a medium glass bowl. Microwave for 1 minute or until melted. Whisk in sour cream until well blended. Stir in flour, then fold in cheese and peppers. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in center of one of the muffins comes out clean. Do not over-bake. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 48 pieces.

Cider Chicken with Onions and Apples by Susan Puckett

"Apples, onions and thyme are a winning cool-weather combination in this comforting dish." 6 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more if needed) 6 whole chicken thighs, skinned, boned and cut in bite-size chunks Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick 1 large or 2 medium cooking apples, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick 2 to 3 teaspoons brown sugar 2 teaspoons dried thyme 2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard 2 bay leaves 12 ounces hard cider 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth 1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving 16 ounces wide egg noodles In a large, heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the oil. Season the cut-up chicken lightly with salt and pepper on all sides and saute in the hot fat in batches (add a little more oil if needed) until lightly browned all over. Remove chicken pieces to a plate and set aside, scraping up any browned bits (use a little of the cider to deglaze if necessary.) Add 2 more tablespoons butter to the pot. Reduce heat

to medium-low and add onion and apple slices. Sprinkle with brown sugar, thyme and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Stir in mustard. Add bay leaves, cider and chicken broth. Return chicken to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook, uncovered, another 30 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Taste for seasoning. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and cook according to package directions until tender. Toss with remaining butter. Just before serving, stir ¼ cup sour cream into the chicken and sauce mixture and cook a minute or two to heat through. Divide noodles among 6 serving plates. Spoon chicken and sauce over each. Serve with extra sour cream on the side. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Mama Clower’s Tea Cakes by Susan Puckett

"The famed Mississippi comedian Jerry Clower shared this simple yet delicious soft sugar cookie recipe many years ago when I was at the Clarion-Ledger. I made them when testing recipes for, A Cook’s Tour of Mississippi, and liked them so much I repeated them in Eat Drink Delta in the chapter on Yazoo City, where Clower is from." 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided 2 large eggs 3 tablespoons buttermilk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease several cookie sheets. In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 1-1/4 cups of sugar with an electric mixer set to high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on high speed until fluffy. Beat in the buttermilk and vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Beat only until incorporated, taking care not to overmix. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl. Gently roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place them about 3 inches apart on the lightly greased cookie sheets. Use the bottom of a drinking glass dipped into the small bowl of sugar to slightly flatten the cookies. Bake for 8 to 13 minutes, depending on the size of the cakes. Makes about 5 dozen.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 47

{ from the bookshelf }

Grandbaby Cakes Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories Author: Jocelyn Delk Adams | Publisher: Agate Publishing


by kelsey wells

ocelyn Delk Adams is no stranger to Eat. Drink.Mississppi. An “In the Bloglight” story featured her “Grandbaby Cakes” blog site and mentioned that a cookbook was in the works. The sweet treat of Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories is now available to allow all cooks to try their hand at Adams’s treats. Having been raised in Chicago, Illinois, Adams’s childhood was filled with car trips to visit her grandparents in Winona, Mississippi. Unlike former generations, Adams admits it took a while for her to find her passion for cooking. She was in her twenties before she truly developed her kitchen skills, and she now makes a life from the art of cooking. Both the Grandbaby Cakes blog and now cookbook focus on recipes handed down from her Mississippi grandmother, affectionately known as “Big Mama.” The book is exclusively made up of cake, cakelette, and cupcake recipes that tempt the sweet tooth. In hopes that the book will be passed to future generations, the inside of the front cover contains a special block to record the name of “The First Generation to own this book.” Before jumping into the more complex recipes featured throughout the book, Adams offers helpful hints for refining baking and storage techniques, choosing the perfect ingredients, and making baking an enjoyable and easy experience. Each recipe is designated as a “Grandbaby Cake,” “Mama Cake,” or “Big Mama Cake,” to indicate the level of the recipe’s difficulty and preparation time. Of course, “Big Mama Cakes” are the hardest and most time consuming, but also the most rewarding. Pound cakes come first, with traditional recipes like Johnnie Mae’s Seven-Flavor Pound Cake and the new taste of Grandbaby’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake. Layer cakes follow with the tastes of Mississippi Mudslide Cake and Real-Deal Caramel Cake tempting the taste buds. If a single layer sheet cake suits your style better, consider the Southern Coca-Cola Cake or Cookies and Cream Gooey Cake. Need the taste of sweetness in a bite size package? Create the Rainbow Sherbet Cupcakes or Neapolitan Cakelettes. Celebration cakes aren’t necessarily the hardest to make,


for S’more Lava Cakes and Lighter Lemon Pound Cakes are designated as “Grandbaby Cakes” in level of difficulty. The Ultimate Birthday Cake may present more of a challenge. If Valentine’s Day, Easter, or another holiday presents the need for a special occasion cake, why not invest some time into the Strawberry “Eat Your Heart Out” Cake, Merry Berry Christmas Cake, or Mango Swirl Carrot Cake? Grandbaby Cakes isn’t made for dieters. The beautiful photography makes the mouth water with the tasty possibilities. But if you enjoy creating special sweets for your family and friends, want to make a special treat for a holiday, or enjoy an occasional indulgence, Grandbaby Cakes is the perfect addition to your cookbook collection. edm

Strawberry “Eat Your Heart Out” Cake recipe on page 50

“When I was growing up, every year for Valentine’s Day my mom and I would make a giant (I’m talking huge), heartshaped, pink strawberry cake with darling bubblegum-pink frosting. To do this, we’d bake one round cake and one square cake, cut the round in half, and place the two halves on adjacent sides of the square layer. The love and memories of baking with my mom always made the holiday much more

special for me. Now that I’m older, I love making this version, which is more refined than my childhood heart-shaped cake. This berryscented, blush-colored cake crowned by crimson strawberry slices is definitely worthy of sharing with your sweetheart. But for me, this cake is dedicated to my loving Mommy. She will always be my number one valentine.” - Jocelyn Delk Adams Photo © Jocelyn Delk Adams, courtesy of Agate Publishing.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 49

Strawberry “Eat Your Heart Out” Cake Makes 2 (6-inch) cakes or 1 (9- or 10-inch) cake Grandbaby Note: This recipe uses a specialty heart pan. Fat Daddio’s has a great 6-inch one that is quite reasonable. However, you can use one 9- or 10inch round pan to bake one cake. Just watch the baking time, as it will take a few minutes more to bake completely through.

Strawberry Topping: 1/4 cup granulated sugar 8 fresh medium-sized strawberries, hulled and sliced Cake: 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup strawberry purée (whole strawberries puréed in a food processor) 1 large egg, room temperature 1 large egg yolk, room temperature 1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup sour cream 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon strawberry extract 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Garnish: 4 coffee stirrers 2 fresh medium-sized strawberries, hulled and halved Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling For the strawberry topping: Preheat your oven to 350° F. Liberally prepare 2 (6 x 2-inch) heart-shaped pans with nonstick baking spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit each pan and use it to line the bottoms. Spray the parchment paper with

the nonstick spray. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the parchment paper. Arrange the sliced strawberries in the pans, covering the entire surface. Set the pans aside. For the cake: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar for 5 minutes on high speed. Add the strawberry purée, egg, and egg yolk, combining well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Turn your mixer down to low speed and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Be careful not to overbeat. Add the sour cream, oil, and strawberry and vanilla extracts. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix the batter until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Evenly pour the batter into the prepared pans, over the strawberries. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 6 minutes, then run a knife along the edge and turn each cake out onto a separate serving plate. Remove and discard the parchment paper. For the garnish: Push a coffee stirrer through the side of 1 of the cakes, on an angle. Push a second stirrer through the opposite side, to make it look like the stirrer is running all the way through the cake. Pierce 1 strawberry half, face up, with the stirrer on the lower side of the heart cake. Pierce a second strawberry half, face down, with the stirrer on the higher side of the heart cake. Repeat with the second cake. Sprinkle the cakes with the confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm. Reprinted with permission from Grandbaby Cakes by Jocelyn Delk Adams, Agate Surrey, 2015.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Visit our website for Mississippi culinary news, recipes, cooking tips, culinary events, and more! 50 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

{ raise your glass }

Tasty Twist on Tradition A Bloody Mary is more than just a crave-worthy cocktail. It’s a spectacle, a cultural phenomenon, and an opportunity to make a statement at your next party. Put an unexpected twist on this traditional drink by ditching the wilted stalk of celery and soggy slice of bacon. Bolster your Bloody Mary with any variety of sausage - a move that’s sure to turn heads, experiment with different flavor in your garnish and earn the respect of your guests. For added fun, offer a complete Bloody Mary bar to let guests build their own drink to their liking. Include options such as: • A variety of sausages • Plain or flavored salt for glass rims • A variety of hot sauces • Worcestershire sauce • Horseradish • Pepper • Pickled green beans or okra • Pickles • Wedges of lemon and lime • Pearl onions • Olives stuffed with pimento or blue cheese • Cheese cubes

Bratty Mary 1 cup vodka 3 cups Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice 1 tablespoon horseradish sauce 1 tablespoon hot sauce 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 dashes pepper 1 Johnsonville Brat, grilled 1 brat bun 4 skewers 4 cheddar cheese cubes 2 dill pickle spears, cut in half In pitcher, mix vodka, Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice, horseradish sauce, hot sauce, lime juice and pepper. Pour into 4 glasses with ice. Assemble grilled brat in bun and slice into four pieces. For garnish, assemble each skewer with one quarter of brat with bun, one cheese cube and half dill pickle and place into cocktails. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 51

{ community }

School children in Oxford learn where their food comes from beginning with the seeds.


Nutri t i o us & Delicious A Oxford School Inititiave Aims to Connect Students to Food Sources by Susan Marquez


at your vegetables! It’s an age-old rallying cry for children, and it’s extending beyond the home and into the Oxford School District through the Good Food for Oxford Schools initiative. The goal is to improve cafeteria menus and simultaneously educate students and their families. The program started with the 2012-13 school year, and strives to connect students to where their food comes from. “We want students to make a real connection to the people who grow their food,” said Sunny Young Baker, the program director for the Good Food for Oxford Schools initiative. “This isn’t a new concept,” said Baker. “My research found a couple of districts in the state that have been doing this since the 1990s.” In Oxford, the initiative was the idea of a former food service director of the district, Richmond Smith. The initiative is the result of a collaboration of a community advisory committee consisting of chefs, farmers, moms, students, teachers, and folks from the University of Mississippi. The group received a grant which got the ball rolling. Young, who had moved to Oxford from Boulder, Colorado, was tapped to be the program director. Young had worked in school food reform and the farm-to-table movement. An evaluation of the program is done each year with students filling out questionnaires describing their feelings towards certain vegetables. Part of the program includes farmers visiting the schools and talking to the students about how they grow the vegetables that are served in the cafeteria. The more the students connect to the farmers, the more their opinions about vegetables change. “Kids are actually getting healthier,” said Young. It didn’t take long to see the importance of engaging with parents early on. “It started with kids taking information home. They often had a sticker on their shirt saying they had eaten a local food at lunch that day. Parents would ask about it which started a dialogue.” A fall harvest festival was held with a series of free and low cost cooking classes so that parents and other family members could learn more about what was happening in the schools. The festival is centered around a gospel choir showcase, held the same weekend as the annual Double Decker Festival. “It’s the biggest event of the year,” said Young. Funds are raised by passing the hat, and eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 53

there is a small charge for food. Students in the program are invited to go on stage to talk about how the program has affected them.” School gardens are sprouting up, with education that includes classroom lessons that link seeds to plants to meals at the elementary level. Food-themed clubs for students at the middle and high school level have led to a Food Justice conference, rooted in the community. Experiential learning in grocery stores and at area farms further highlights the local aspect. “We are seeing students and their families learn how to cook healthier, how to order out at restaurants, and they understand more about the nutritional effects of food on their bodies,” said Young. “We are increasing their knowledge of delicious, healthy, fresh, local foods, and extending the learning from the classroom to the cafeteria to home and beyond.” edm 54 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

TOP - Children in Oxford schools tend to their own school gardens, knowing they'll be able to eat the vegetables when they are ready. BOTTOM - Students take delight in eating produce they've worked to grow themselves, as well as other nutritious foods.


Rust -



OrlGrenada eans Bistro The Hills

The Delta -

DeRego’s Bread Starkville The Pines

- The Pal e tte Café Jackson -

Corks & Cleaver Wine Bistro Gulfport


Our wonderful state is divided into five travel regions - The Hills, The Delta, The Pines, Capital/River, and Coastal. It is our goal to give equal coverage to all regions of the state in every issue. The following sections are color coded by region for your convenience. We hope you will take the time and travel to all regions to take advantage of the diverse culinary styles present throughout our state. We do suggest that you call to verify operating hours before visiting any of these wonderful establishments.


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 55

The Hills


The Hills

A Taste of the Big Easy Orleans Bistro in Grenada Serves Fresh Fare With a New Orleans Flair


by katie hutson west

early a century ago, the City Hotel sat on Grenada’s Main Street; eventually offering an elegant place to sleep and dine for the civil engineers working diligently to build the massive neighboring lake. Fast forward 99 years, and you’ll find something just as special in its place – the Orleans Bistro. Still with that old hotel look, the upper floors were converted to apartments while the downstairs has seen a host of businesses come and go. When Diane Chidlow bought the building in 2004, she thought the town could use a little New Orleans flair. Chidlow is feisty, fabulous, and boy, can she cook. Coming from a long line of chefs and home cooks, she knows her way

around the kitchen and when it comes to her restaurant’s food, she says, “Every single thing we cook here is fresh…I won’t have anything ready-made coming out of this kitchen.” She proudly adds, “Here, we make things just like momma did only a whole lot bigger.” With everything made fresh daily, the team at Orleans Bistro always goes the extra mile. “We even do catering as fresh as possible,” says Chidlow. “We had a wedding rehearsal for 500 and we made it all that day.” She says it’s a lot of hard work, but that’s the way it has to be. “It’s a sin to buy it already made.” So why Cajun and creole? “I’ve just always loved that kind of food and the way of life down there,” Chidlow says of the eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 57

The Hills

Filet topped with jumbo lump crab meat and cream sauce


The Hills

Crescent City. “People think hot when they hear Cajun, but it’s really just well-seasoned and flavorful food…I’ve cooked this kind of food forever.” And when she decided to share her Nola style cooking with the lucky people of the town, she was planning on having just a “little restaurant,” but it turned into a whole lot more. As the go-to place in Grenada, it’s visited by regulars, folks camping at the lake, and passersby. Orleans Bistro boasts a menu chock full of delicious dishes. With everything from po-boys to thick cut ribeyes, Chidlow helps with the decision making by asterisking her signature dishes. Charbroiled Oysters (which Chidlow says she could eat every day), Mardi Gras Pasta (shrimp, crawfish, andouille, bell peppers, and onions), and Crawfish and Asparagusstuffed Redfish are just a few examples of the mouth-watering offerings at the Bistro. Pair these with a Southern Caesar (topped with andouille sausage), Grilled Zucchini, or Tobacco Onions (called this because they look like shredded tobacco). Chidlow names several other dishes she’s most pleased with. “You won’t find fried green tomatoes like mine,” she says of the classic Southern dish that she tops with Parmesan cheese, homemade comeback sauce, and seasoned grilled shrimp. She’s also very proud of the fresh tuna she puts over risotto and “shrimp and grits so creamy a baby could eat it.” Describing her gumbo as “second to none,” it comes two ways, either chicken and sausage or seafood. Along with the seafood, the Orleans Bistro’s beef dishes are usually the star of the show. “Our meat is so fresh and we cut it right here,” says Chidlow. “We don’t put a lot of junk on them either because when it’s good meat, you don’t need anything but the flavor of the meat.” With a disclaimer stating ‘Not responsible for steaks requested over medium’, you can get your ribeye or filet topped with crawfish cream sauce, sautéed lump crab, and creole butter. As for the daily lunch and dinner specials, Chidlow and team meet together in the kitchen every morning and make plans from there. “We really enjoy coming in and deciding what we’re going to make that day.” It might be barbecue chicken, scratch-made mac and cheese, and Brussels sprouts for lunch, and rack of lamb for supper. Dessert specials are also whipped up daily – Bread Pudding, Cherry Amaretto Cobbler, and Peach Dumplings are just a few of the delectable sweets and are planned with what’s in season. “We don’t decorate our cakes and desserts…there’s so many beautiful fruits – that’s the only decoration you need,” Chidlow says of her dessert style. She also makes a chocolate pie with a family recipe that’s been passed down since the 1800s. With a big menu that’s all freshly made, Chidlow is extremely grateful for all great help she has to keep her going. “It doesn’t get easier with age!” she says with a laugh. “There’s nothing like rattling a pot and pan…it’s therapy.” Chidlow thinks everyone should at least try the cooking therapy. “Buy a little cookbook and just do it…people have to eat!” So for that Big Easy experience in small-town Mississippi, stop by Orleans Bistro for great food and a good atmosphere. You might even get some beads thrown around your neck. edm

Orleans Bistro 149 S. Main St., Grenada 662.294.8880 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 59

The Delta


The Delta

Soulful & Savory Rust at The Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale Offers a Fresh Take on Traditional Southern Fare


story and photography by coop cooper

ust began as an upscale eatery with unique décor in the center of downtown Clarksdale and was widely renowned until its sudden and unexplained closing, much to the dismay of its fans, in April of 2013. Rust reopened in May 2014 under new ownership and a new location: the scenic tourist spot known as The Shack Up Inn just outside the city limits of Clarksdale, which attracts curious visitors and loyal patrons from all over the world. The main building which houses the Inn’s front desk, gift shop, bar, and the Juke Joint Chapel music venue was expanded to create additional room for the newly resurrected restaurant which is helmed by head chef Allen Johnson. The new Rust attracts locals, but it also serves as an onsite eatery for the dozens of guests and tourists staying at the Shacks. Rust’s General Manager, Joey Young, who comanages with the original Rust manager Laura Barnaby, says the restaurant was designed to accommodate this dual-purpose role.

“It’s hard to tell when the locals are going to come in and they are more likely to want something fancy like a filet or ribeye steak special, but when the Shacks are full, we could have 125-130 people on site. The Shack customers would be okay with burgers and pulled pork barbecue because they just want something to eat and the experience of being here. The food is definitely a focus, but it’s also about the experience,” says Young. Part of that experience is the beer bar which serves draft and bottled suds including a large selection of imported and domestic beers. During the times throughout the day when there isn’t a dedicated bartender, the front desk clerk in the lobby/gift shop will temporarily abandon their post to dispense and pour for thirsty guests. Young describes the menu as a “fresher, lighter take on traditional Southern fare.” “They are Southern dishes, but with a twist to bring some elements of things that we can’t necessarily get around here. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 61

The Delta

Lightnin Malcolm performs in the Juke Joint Chapel. Seasonally, we change it up depending on what we can get and we have scaled down to a more refined menu. Everything is locally sourced as most places try to do these days,” says Young. Rust features entrées like the Blackened Catfish Tacos with black-eyed peas, cabbage slaw, sweet pickle relish, and corn tortillas; the Rust Burger with 80/20 grass-fed beef, brie, roasted red peppers, lettuce, dijionaise, a ciabatta bun, and served with french fries; the Pulled Pork Sandwich with sautéed onions, wooster aioli, slaw, a ciabatta bun, and fries; and Pan Roasted Mississippi Catfish with jalapeño cheese grits, greens du jour, garlic, and mushrooms. Separate sides are offered in the form of jalapeño cheese grits, black-eyed peas, greens du jour, and black beans. Steak, pork tenderloin, and other specials are served on selected nights. Two specialty desserts round out the menu: the Strawberry Sundae using locally-made Sweet Magnolia french vanilla gelato, strawberry sauce, graham cracker brittle, and whipped cream; and the Chocolate-Pecan Brownie a la Mode, also using Sweet Magnolia french vanilla gelato with bourbon caramel sauce. As an added bonus, the menu also suggests a craft beer pairing with all of its entrées and desserts, each of which best compliments the flavor of the dish. Sunday brunch offers a completely different menu with Southern-inspired omelettes, parmesan grits, an English Muffin Burger, Chocolate Chip Pancakes, a Rust Salad topped with a fried egg, a Bacon Mushroom Sandwich and a 'Breakfast Your


Way' option which includes a bit of everything. The Juke Joint Chapel serves as a one-of-a-kind music stage that hosts blues, folk, rock, indie, and country acts on a regular basis, but it can turn into a full-tilt club during festival season and special events. It hosts many art and music-based workshops/camps that use the Chapel, Rust, and the entire Shack Up Inn as a base of operations during their stay. These seminars include Jon Gindick's Harmonica Jam Camp, the Pinetop Perkins Foundation (piano/guitar/harmonica) Workshop Experience for kids, a singer/songwriter camp called ‘Songs at the Shacks’, a ‘Down to the Crossroads’ fiveday Blues Guitar and Bass Retreat and other assorted events. Rust caters for those events and specializes in providing food for the large workshops, wedding parties, festival goers, and TV/film crews that stay at en masse at the Shacks. “Every restaurant struggles, but when we have groups like that, we do lunches for them. We do dinners for them. It’s one thing that keeps us busy,” says Young. On the night of this interview, world famous blues artists Lightnin Malcolm of the North Mississippi Allstars showed up to give patrons an authentic taste of the ‘hill country blues’ to go along with their cuisine. “We have both international and local acts. Some send booking requests and we reach out to some bands we like. Once the word gets around, bands start finding you. They know they could play a big place in a college town, but they come here just like music lovers come here to soak it all up,” says Young.

The Delta

Rust Nachos In December, Rust and the Chapel started a new seasonal event called the Holiday Art and Music Night on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. where local artists and musicians (and sometimes a combination of the two) display their works for sale while a live band plays on the stage. Young includes some of his own art that he creates in his gallery, Lambfish Art Company, in downtown Clarksdale. For those unfamiliar with the Shack Up Inn, it has become one of the most talked about places in the state – and the world, for that matter – to stay overnight. Owned by Bill Talbot and Guy Malvezzi, the Shacks share a property line with a separate entertainment/music venue known as Hopson Commissary. The Shacks features thirty nine rooms for rent, most of which are authentic (although some are replicas) old Southern tenant homes for farm workers from back when Hopson was a working cotton plantation. There are also ‘bins’ which are designed more like faux-rustic hotel rooms attached to the main building. The entire property is a photographer’s dream as the main building and individual shacks are adorned with old signs, knick-knacks, appliances, vehicles ,and relics from the past. Marketing itself as a ‘Bed & Beer’, the Shack Up Inn has specific rental rules that include age restrictions (only 25 year-olds and up!) and minimum booking dates on the weekends, so be sure to visit them at for additional information and reservations. “The business the Shack Up Inn was getting was pretty fortunate,” says Young. “It grew by word-of-mouth from people who were coming through on a Blues Trail tour or just

Rust Burger

Pan Roasted Mississippi Catfish traveling the South, looking for that experience. We are right along that path and when people come here, they want food and, honestly, they are like a kid in a candy store here. It’s like system overload because there is so much to look at while they are eating.” The Shack Up Inn and the Juke Joint Chapel have played host to celebrities as well, entertaining and housing actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Dan Ackroyd, Shannen Doherty, Joaquin Phoenix, Mary Louise Parker, Jessica Lang, James Franco, and music celebrities such as Charlie Musselwhite, Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Henry Rollins, Tom Waits, and more blues performers than you can shake a stick at. It is not uncommon for well-known musicians to appear at the Chapel incognito to surprise the crowd with an unforgettable performance. “We've had so many performers where afterwards, somebody will post a picture on Facebook of them playing in here to a small crowd and people will say, ‘That guy is famous!,’ but I guess they didn't want to make a big show of it... You never know what’s going to happen,” says Young. Rust takes reservations, can accommodate large groups, and offers take out and catering services. edm Rust 1 Commissary Circle, Clarksdale 662.351.0699

Chocolate Pecan Brownie a la Mode eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 63

The Pines

Baking Bread


The Pines

New Hampshire Import Finds Niche in Starkville With Artisan Bread Bakery by katie hutson west


ith times a lot different than they were back when, these days an artisanal baker in town is a rare thing. Described as one with a skilled trade involving making things by hand, an artisan expertly crafts goods in a traditional or non-mechanized way using only high-quality ingredients. Troy DeRego at DeRego’s Bread does just that. DeRego’s Bread, located in the heart of downtown Starkville, is the place you drive by and everyone in the car says, “What’s that incredible smell?” The quaint shop is a warm, welcoming place perfect for sampling some of the best artisanal bakes the town has to offer. An import from New Hampshire, DeRego followed his wife to the university about 10 years ago when she got a job teaching at Mississippi State. But having previously lived in places like San Francisco and Portland, DeRego missed having access to a good, neighborhood baker. So he decided to become one. He researched and studied, devouring all the information he could on the process of baking. He learned about milling the flour and how important it is to use the whole grain. He learned about culturing yeast and proofing, which allows time for the yeast to ferment and rise. Once he got his method down, he took his goods to the local farmers market. The patrons of the market fell in love instantly and the same folks started coming by week after week, buying his products and helping him to sell out every Saturday. They also encouraged him to open his own storefront (Starkville’s Community Market also created another new business; see The Biscuit Shop – Eat Drink Mississippi; October/November 2014). With all the positive feedback from the community,

DeRego decided his dream of opening a bakery in Starkville could become a reality. At DeRego’s Bread, you can see the skill and taste the care put into each loaf. Offering something you can’t buy in a supermarket, DeRego’s breads and pastries are made from stoneground, organic flours straight out of Asheville, North Carolina’s Carolina Ground Mill. “I chose the flours for the taste…the health benefits are just a plus,” says DeRego of the stone-milled flours. He explains that, “When the grain is stone milled, the entire wheat berry is used – keeping all the good stuff.” Because of the complexity of his offerings and the time involved in each (a batch of bread can take up to two days or longer), DeRego’s keeps a “semi” bread schedule. For example, one can perhaps find Kalamata Olive Levain and Oatmeal Bread on Tuesdays and maybe Pain Au Chocolat on Saturdays. But when it comes to bread making, you can only plan so much. “You have to do what the dough is telling you…you’re on its schedule,” says DeRego. DeRego’s offers breads that have been around for centuries, but are new to some of us these days. Miche, a large, French country sourdough loaf made with only the finest wheat flour, water, malt, and salt, is one of the baker’s favorites. “If I could only make one bread, Miche would be the one,” DeRego says. Another must-have, Starkville Sourdough, was created by DeRego with thanks to the town’s humidity. “It has a nice crust and is very airy inside,” describes DeRego. The baker also specializes in baguettes, croissants, ciabatta, rye, and more. Meanwhile, pastry chef T.J. Kepner uses her many years eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 65

The Pines


The Pines of experience to concoct sweet tooth-satisfying treats with only the best flours and freshest ingredients. “When making the pastries, we use the flavor of the ingredients…we don’t just throw in loads of sugar,” says DeRego of his and Kepner’s creations, like the Portuguese Biscuits (New England’s version of a tea cake) which can be purchased by the pack and are made using a DeRego family recipe. “I grew up with these, so it’s cool to have them here,” DeRego says of one of his top sellers. A great place for lunch, DeRego’s Bread offers specials daily. His pizza is very popular in the town; coming topped with fresh ingredients like roasted eggplant and spinach. Sandwiches become more than just a sandwich when things like ham and brie, and white cheddar and balsamic onion are piled between two slices of straight-from-the-oven bread. DeRego hopes to expand the lunch menu in the near future, adding soups and more. DeRego’s baked goods and their descriptions can be found in detail on his website. The site is also packed with picture after picture of his mouth-watering creations, a very informative blog (including the story of his first bread baking experience aboard a schooner in the Atlantic Ocean), and his explanation of the science of baking in a way that’s easy to understand. DeRego’s Bread is a place to try baked goods made using time tested ways. “The most exciting aspect of bread baking is that there is still so much to discover,” says DeRego. “Each loaf connects the baker with all of those who have come before - taking part in a 6,000 year experiment to find new methods and technologies to release the flavors and nutrients locked inside kernels of grain.” So, the next time your plans take you through Starkville, drop by DeRego’s to taste the results of these culinary experiments and experience for yourself artisanal baking at its modern finest. edm DeRego’s Bread 109 W. Main St., Starkville 662.617.8177

Owner Troy DeRego rolls and preps sourdough rye. The bowls in the picture are for proofing. The dough rises in the bowl and takes it’s shape.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 67


Modern Mississippi



Chef Nick Wallace Brings Mississippi Roots to the Table at The Palette Café story by susan marquez | photography by christina foto


he Palette Café by Viking is a place where the visual arts meet the culinary arts. Dating back to the late 1970s, The Palette Café has been the spot to dine when visiting the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. “It started when the Museum was in the old location (now occupied by the Jackson Arts Center),” said Julian Rankin, marketing director for the Museum. “It was run by a team of volunteers with a much more paired down and humble menu.” While the café has always been a part of the Mississippi Museum of Art in its current location at 380 South Lamar Street, Rankin said that the management of the Museum has recently begun viewing it differently. “With the addition of Nick Wallace as our chef, the café has really been elevated. We have embraced the connection of the café with the art, and we refer to Nick as our ‘culinary curator.’” Wallace has honed in on the idea of story, starting with his own story of growing up on his grandparents’ farm in Edwards and embracing the Mississippi Story as it is presented within the Museum. “I grew up learning to cook in my

grandmother’s kitchen, using things they produced on the farm, which was mostly vegetables. I got used to the farming life, and I am proud to say that they are still farming there.” When he entered the restaurant scene in Jackson, Wallace admits he failed a couple of times. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do, so I made the decision to get educated in the field.” He attended the Hinds Community College culinary program for two years before going to work for hotel chains. “I went to work at the Mariott on Amite Street in Jackson when I was 21 years old. I became a corporate chef and worked to help promote others.” After working there for eight years, Wallace moved to Anchorage for a while, before working for Hilton for five years in Alabama, Louisiana, and finally opening the restaurant in the Hilton Garden Inn at the King Edward in downtown Jackson. “That was my base property, but I still traveled to other properties at that time.” Wallace loved the concept of farm-to-table before it became cool. He created a chef garden behind the Hilton in Jackson, and put a chef ’s table outside. “I wanted to have

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 69


fun in life! It gave me energy to get back to my roots, doing what I wanted to do. It is exciting for me to serve the freshest food possible.” Wallace found a home at the Museum, a place where he could be creative with his cooking. Under his direction, the kitchen was completely renovated and the menu items were elevated. He’s been at the Museum for three years now. “We are doing great things here.” Rankin said that he is grateful to have Wallace as chef at the café. “He came in to consult on events, and we all knew it was a perfect match. Now he oversees the café as well as all the events here, and all the food is prepared in house.” The menu always changes, with seasonal offerings from the region. “Nick has developed a strong network with local farmers,” Rankin said. “Depending on what’s in season, he’ll do a ‘pop up’ restaurant with Mississippi-sourced offerings each month. There will be produce from places like Footprint Farms and Beaverdam Farms and Mississippi catfish from Simmons Catfish. This is core to our vision here. We want to connect the Mississippi culinary arts with our own Mississippi Story permanent collection.” While fried chicken has been around for years, Wallace’s spin on it is a unique method of brining the poultry for three days. “I call it Pickled Brined Fried Chicken. It makes the meat super juicy and tender,” Wallace said. “No seasonings are needed. We also do a


lot of our own pickling and curing. “ Rankin said that what Wallace is able to do is to see stories in a piece that connect with his own life. “I’ve lived the farm life,” said Wallace. “I know what it looks and feels like.” Wallace said he is often inspired by pieces in the Mississippi Story collection. “When I go into the Museum, I look at all aspects of a painting. There is one special piece that really inspires me. It’s a farm scene with a woman, a man, a plough and a mule. I pay close attention to the animals in the background.” The piece is called “Second Notice” by artist Marshall Bouldin. “I understand what that’s about. Food at the dinner table brings happiness to your life. I love when I can have a menu item that is inspired by a painting. People can enjoy the dish, then see the painting that inspired it.” Wallace’s cooking has been coined “Modern Mississippian” by Rankin. “The menu celebrates being bold, and daring to be different. Nick is a trailblazer who embraces Mississippi. He was raised here, but left for a while. Now he’s putting down roots in a very modern way. edm The Palette Café 380 S. Lamar St., Jackson 601.965.9900


The painting (above) Second Notice by Marshall Bouldin III (1954, oil on canvas, collection of artist, Clarksdale, Mississippi) gives Chef Nick Wallace inspiration when creating dishes such as this fried chicken basket.

“Food at the dinner table brings happiness to your life. I love when I can have a menu item that is inspired by a painting. People can enjoy the dish, then see the painting that inspired it.”

- Nick Wallace eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 71


Creole Devils on Horseback



(Palate] [Pleasing) Seasoned Chef Satisfies Culinary Souls at Corks & Cleaver Wine Bistro in Gulfport by julian brunt


f you are a serious foodie of any sort at all, Corks & Cleaver Wine Bistro is going to set you all aquiver! Chef David Dickensauge has been around the proverbial culinary block, spending time in kitchens of such famed New Orleans restaurants as Commander’s Palace and Galatoire’s. In addition, he worked for super chef Charlie Trotter, of Chicago fame, then it was on to Birmingham, Miami, Chicago, and New York City. The list is just too long to explore in detail, but be assured that this is one seriously seasoned chef. Don’t walk into Corks & Cleaver and expect anything approaching the mundane. Don’t expect a menu that does anything less than cause palpitations. And if this innovative menu does not rock your culinary soul, then you simply do not have one! There are three choices for seating ― a courtyard for fair weather, a balcony, and a cozy main dining room with an open beam ceiling, and the exact feel a wine bistro should have; warm, intimate, and comfortable. Service is smart, as you would expect. The wine selection is good, but the menu, oh the menu, that’s where the magic starts. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 73


If you like to dine in the tapas style, then you are going to love this place. The menu starts with Bits and Bites, and has such lovely offerings as Lamb Empanadas and Creole Devils on Horseback, a crazy combination of boudin and andouillestuffed dates, wrapped in smoked bacon, and topped with a piquillo tomato sauce. There’s also Ash-cured Beef Belly Tartare, and for the fearful, try Chef David’s take on Chicken and Dumplings, made with sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi, and a medley of roasted veggies. The next category is small plates, and the cleaver offerings continue, but without the shock value. Look for Shrimp and Crab au Gratin, Cornmeal Dusted Gulf Oysters, Seared New Orleans Style Crab Cake, and Braised Berkshire Pork Belly. If you do not try the pork belly, you will live in shame for the rest of your life! The menu continues with a few very innovative salads, a few equally as interesting flatbreads and sandwiches, but the Big Plates are where this chef gets down to business. Cold Smoked and Poached Jumbo Shrimp and Grits, Vanilla and Juniper Brined Double Cut Pork Chop, and Truffle Crusted Wagyu Beef Tenderloin are just less than half of the main liners on this stout menu. Special note should be made of the frites. If you have never had the progenitor of the American French fry, this is it. A fry 74 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016


ABOVE - Crab Cake RIGHT - Blackened Tuna

that is nothing less than perfection. There is also a good selection of cheese and charcuterie, some of which is house made. Corks & Cleaver really does present a dilemma. You will not be able to order or even sample half of the things that will call your name. The selection process is really going to be that difficult. If you are in luck, the chef will drop by to say hello, and you can then shift the burden to him. Always go with the chef ’s suggestion. edm Corks & Cleaver Wine Bistro 1308 27th Ave., Gulfport 228.206.6310 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 75

{ featured event }

Smokin' Good Time Chris Chadwick of Hawg County Cookers prepares chicken for competition.

Sponsors and special guests get participate in judging the ancillary categories such as Wings, Cooked Their Way. Shrimp, Cooked Their Way, is ready to be judged in this ancillary category. 76 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

One Weekend, Two Competitions Plus Good Music and Great Food at Tupelo BBQ Duel by kara kimbrough


e’s been gone since 1977, but given his welldocumented love of pork and musical entertainment, favorite son Elvis Presley would likely approve of the Tupelo BBQ Duel scheduled March 18-20 in his hometown. Held as a fundraiser for the non-profit Link Centre, Tupelo will host a smokin’ good time for the sixth year with an outdoor festival featuring live entertainment, barbecue for the public to enjoy, and not just one, but two Kansas City Barbeque Societysanctioned competitions that attract 100 cooking teams from around the nation for the weekend event. The Tupelo BBQ Duel is held in downtown Fairpark to accomodate crowds totalling between 12,000-15,000 festival-goers, said co-organizer Leslie Mart. She added the competition is unique in that it allows teams to try their luck at two separate competitions in one convenient location. Competing in the Tupelo event saves time and money for serious barbecue chefs used to traveling across the country in search of KCBS points to be utilized in the next round of competitions. Additionally, cash awards and other prizes are awarded to the top teams. Grills and smokers will be fired up on Friday night in preparation for Saturday’s competition, Mart said. As soon as judging is done, barbecue chefs will clean their equipment and do it all over again for the final competition on Sunday. The public is allowed to get in on one aspect of the judging courtesy of the People’s Choice category. For a fee, attendees can sample barbecue from some of the nation’s top barbecue aficionados and cast a vote for their favorite pork dish. “The Tupelo BBQ Duel is a prestigious event for our city and surrounding area,” said Mart. “Each year we attract ‘the best of the best’ cooking teams from around the nation. They know we host a quality event judged by experts from across the

U.S. Winners go on to compete in competitions that include Jack Daniels World Championship International and American Royal. Each year, we add new features and increase the overall quality of the event. Overall, it’s a major event for Tupelo and the Link Centre, the deserving recipient of the festival’s proceeds.” Mart said the Link Centre serves as the area’s premier regional and cultural service center, offering transformative arts, education, and social services experiences that improve the health and well-being of the community. Located at Link Centre are the Weston Reed Foundation, El Centro, Sister’s Network, North Mississippi Birthing Project, Success Learning, among other programs. Link Centre is also home to the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Open Stage, and other offerings of fine arts and cultural events ranging from children’s music lessons to performances by the NMSO and others in the 500-seat concert hall, reception hall, and flexible black box theater. In addition to the People’s Choice competition, the festival offers an abundance of foodtasting opportunities, including barbecue plates cooked and served by the Link Centre and a variety of food and beverages sold by vendors throughout festival grounds. Admission to the festival is free; however, all food and beverage items will be priced separately. Entertainment will include free, live musical performances on the grounds each day of the festival, along with other family events. Gates open at 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and will close at 10:30 p.m. Sunday’s hours are 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. For more information about the event, go to www. edm eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 77

{ calendar }

Fill Your Plate February 10 Taste of Oxford

February/March 2016

Food Festivals & Events event continues to grow yearly with the addition of a youth BBQ cook-off. Bring the kids as they can win cash and prizes as well. Live entertainment is provided all day along with arts and crafts, face painting, children’s activities and games, clowns, Pulled Pork Taste Tent, and, of course, barbecue. This event is sanctioned by the International BBQ Cookers Association. For more information, call 228392-9734 or 228-257-9734. •••

The 9th annual Taste of Oxford presented by Regions Bank benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is set for February 10. Enjoy fabulous food by local restaurants, a silent and live auction, along with live music. To purchase tickets or to sponsor the event, please call Lee Bobo at 901.373.5051 or email to •••

February 27 D’Iberville - BBQ Throwdown & Festival

February 29 Vicksburg - Lebanese Dinner The 55th Annual Lebanese Dinner will be held on February 29 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, 2709 South Washington Street, Vicksburg. The meal consists of cabbage rolls, kibbee, Lebanese green beans, and tabooli. A selection of Lebanese pastries will also be for sale and take-outs will be available. Tickets are $11 and may be purchased from church members or by calling 601-636-2483. •••

March 12 Biloxi - Grillin’ on the Green

In D’Iberville’s annual BBQ chicken, ribs and brisket cook-off, teams compete for over $5,000 in cash and prizes. Held at the D’Iberville Civic Center, the


Go green and celebrate at Grillin’ on the Green at Biloxi Town Green, 710 Beach Blvd, on March 12th. This family fun event features a BBQ competition, arts & crafts vendors, live entertainment all day, children’s play area, and more fun activities. There will be a variety of barbecue for event patrons to choose from. With everything from ribs and brisket to grilled oysters, there will be something for every palate. Don’t forget that the Hibernia Society’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will pass right by the festival area at 2:00 p.m. For more information, call 228-435-6339.

March 18-20 Tupelo BBQ Duel

March 28 - April 3 Starkville Restaurant Week

The Tupelo BBQ Duel benefitting the Link Centre will be held on March 18-20 at Fairpark in Downtown Tupelo. This is a Double Kansas City Barbecue Society Sanctioned Competition with over $25,000 in cash and prizes. Enjoy great food, great music, kid parade, and more activities. For more information, visit

The Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau will host the 3rd annual Starkville Restaurant Week on March 28 - April 3. This event aims to showcase the very best culinary specialties Starkville has to offer. It brings the best in local flavor from over 30 Starkville restaurants, featuring breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even a few midnight or mid-afternoon snacks — and eaters can vote on one local charity to receive $10,000. For more information, visit www.



March 26 Jackson -Mad Hatter Tea Party

March 31 Jackson - Moonlight Market

Enjoy sipping tea and eating cake with the characters from Alice in Wonderland at the Mississippi Children’s Museum on Saturday, March 26 beginning at 9:00 a.m. Wear your Easter best while you learn proper tea party etiquette and watch a scene from the story. Registration will be available online for members and non-museum members to participate in this hoppin’ affair. Admission is included in registration. For more information, call 601-981-5469 or visit

To have your food festival or culinary event included in future issues, please contact us at info@eatdrinkmississippi. com. All submissions are subject to editor's approval.

Enjoy a night of food and fun at Moonlight Market on March 31st. This ticketed event is held at the Mississippi Farmers Market on High Street in Jackson and benefits the Mississippi Food Network. For more information, call 601-353-7286 or visit www.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 79

Advertisers Index

Recipe Index

Christina Foto, 81 Columbus, 15 Etta B Pottery, 6 Mississippi Food Network, 3 Mississippi Market, 2 Ridgeland Tourism Commission, 11 Sanderson Farms, Back Cover Sante South, 83 Taste of Mississippi, 13 The Beef Jerky Outlet, 27 The Kitchen Table, 9 The Manship, 6 The Palette Café, 9 Tupelo, 4

Asparagus Tart, 31 BBQ Joint Deep Fried Catfish, 21 BBQ Rub, 21 Bratty Mary, 51 Cheddar-Jalapeño Bites, 47 Cider Chicken with Onions and Apples, 47 Easy, Creamy Shrimp Bechamel, 27 Homemade Tartar Sauce, 80 Honey’s Stuffed Collard Greens, 36 Mama Clower’s Tea Cakes, 47 Red Velvet Cornbread, 37 Rockin’ Red Velvet Trifle, 14 Strawberry “Eat Your Heart Out” Cake, 50 Venison Boudin, 19


continued from page 21

from page 16-17

Homemade Tartar Sauce ©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

Bed Bath and Beyond Mississippi locations - Flowood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Meridian, Southaven, Tupelo

Pier 1 Imports Mississippi locations - Flowood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Ridgeland, Southaven, Tupelo

lululemon 4500 I-55 N. Ste. 120 Jackson, MS 39211 601.366.0367

Williams-Sonoma 1000 Highland Colony Pkwy. Ridgeland, MS 39157 601.898.8882

3/4 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup chopped pickle (dill or sweet) 2 teaspoons finely minced onion 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder Pinch salt and pepper, to taste Combine all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Want to see what and where we’ve been eating lately?

Follow us on Instagram to see some of the tasty bites we’ve discovered!

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI 80 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

coming to terms

Of THEKitchen IN



with julian brunt

Room Chef In the French Brigade system, there are at least ten different chef titles. The top position, typically called the executive chef, but sometimes chef de cuisine, is followed by titles that designate the specific duties of the chef. The saucier (saw-see-ah) is in charge of making sauces, poissonnier takes care of fish and seafood, the rĂ´tisseur does the roasting and braising of meats, and so on. But there is one term that is specific to the gaming industry and is found nowhere else. The room chef is the chef in charge of a restaurant inside a casino. The room chef is responsible for all aspects of the restaurant and reports to the executive chef. This is a demanding position, that requires years of experience in a high volume kitchen. It is not unusual for casino restaurants to have 250 to 300 covers (diners) in one evening. edm RIGHT - Paola Bugli is the room chef at Stalla, the Italian restaurant at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 81

Till We Eat Again


Jay Reed, a graduate of Ole Miss, lives in Starkville where he is a pharmacist by day and a freelance food writer by day off. He is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and writes "Eats One Ate," a weekly column in the Starkville Daily News.


What Should Mississippi's State Food Be?



sn’t Mississippi a great place to eat? I know I’m preaching to the choir, but let’s think on it. We have our own piece of the Gulf for seafood. We’ve long been known for our dairy industry. Our chefs are cooking up a storm all over Food Network. We’ve got it going on. There’s more, of course. Our barbecue stands against any other state’s. Ignore our burgers at your peril. The best fried chicken in the world might be in that little place in that little town. The Delta has tamales. We have it all, and we do it well. And I have traveled the world, so I can say that with some authority. That line of thinking leads me to this question: What are the foods we are truly known for? Southern cooking as a genre is certainly in our wheelhouse, but I want to know if there is a single signature dish that comes to mind when those from outside our state (bless their hearts) think of Mississippi. Maryland has crab cakes, Maine has the lobster roll, and Kentucky has the hot brown sandwich. What does Mississippi have? If the World-Wide-Interweb is to be believed, there is indeed an iconic Mississippi dish. Take a second, think about it, and take a guess ― just for fun. I was actually surprised. Time’s up, here is the big reveal: it’s Mississippi Mud Pie. Seriously? I know it has the word “Mississippi” in it. I know the layers of chocolate are supposed to represent the muddy banks of the river. No doubt there are home bakers that are denominationally famous at church potlucks. No doubt there are local pastry chefs who have deconstructed and fancified it. I’m sure it’s as delicious on a white tablecloth as it is at a funeral lunch, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve had it. In the spirit of the election year (perhaps to take our minds off that chaos for a few minutes), I would like to nominate a few other candidates. Right off, we’ve got to talk about catfish. I’ve been eating it as long as I can remember. Pappy lived in Belmont, and we either ate fish or caught fish (usually both) every time we went to visit. Granny would make cuts in the whole fish so that when it was fried, we could pull it off in bite-sized chunks. That was way before Mississippi became one of the biggest producers of farm-raised catfish, way before Delacata was even a word. Catfish is definitely a nominee. I would also like to offer the mighty soybean, another product with which we lead the way. I have recently begun to enjoy edamame in a variety of ways, but that’s just a bonus. If you grew up in-state, you probably had what we called “soybean burgers” in the lunch line at school. We griped then, but had we known we were eating a cousin of the famous slug burgers of Corinth, we might have embraced it and begged our lunch mates for theirs. Since we host the sweet potato capital of the world in Vardaman, we must also put its name on the ballot. One of the thickest cookbooks on my kitchen counter is completely dedicated to the sweet potato. Its uses know no end. It may be rough and gnarly on the outside, but it is beautiful within, where it counts. Recently I learned that there is a Hollywood, Mississippi. (In high school I knew all 82 counties, but Coach Owens didn’t test us on the towns.) I also learned that the Hollywood Cafe claims to be the home of the fried dill pickle. I love fried pickles as slices, as spears, and as spacers on chicken-on-a-stick. My first bite of such a thing was a Pickle-O from Sonic. I had no idea I was just a few hours drive from the original. While we’re on pickles, I’m quite sure no other state has delved into the realm of the koolickle. If you have not experienced one of these Kool-Aid infused pickles in the Delta, they are easy to make at home, and guaranteed to raise an eyebrow on your next antipasto platter. I dare you. Ironically, Mississippi does not have any official state foods, like Indiana’s Sugar Cream Pie or Wisconsin’s Kringle. But our state insect makes honey, the largemouth bass is the state fish, and we can wash it all down with a cold glass of milk, the official state beverage. When you get right down to it, we have more candidates for the unofficial state food than the Republicans had in the original presidential debate. And that makes me a proud Mississippian. edm




APRIL 2, 2016 R E N A I S S A N C E AT C O L O N Y P A R K T I C K E T S N O W AV A I L A B L E AT S A N T E S O U T H . C O M


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 83

Since we started in 1947, our chicken has been free of extra salt, water and other additives. It’s not just 100% natural. It’s 100% chicken. For recipes visit us at or find us on Facebook.

Proud Supporter of 84 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

Profile for Eat Drink Mississippi

February March 2016  

Our February/March 2016 issue features Chef Ty Thames of Starkville restaurants Bin 612 and Restaurant Tyler, kid chef Mark Coblentz, Missis...

February March 2016  

Our February/March 2016 issue features Chef Ty Thames of Starkville restaurants Bin 612 and Restaurant Tyler, kid chef Mark Coblentz, Missis...