Out next interview is with Y’all Taste This. You can find / follow her at
How long have you been blogging about food?
“Y’all Taste This” launched on January 7, 2012.
Where does your passion for food come from?
My passion for food is rooted in family, home, and Southern heritage. I grew up on a beef cattle farm in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Quality time with my dad meant riding on the tractor wheel well while he cut silage, going to the market to pick up the last load of cattle late Saturday night, and working those cattle on Sunday afternoons. For us, putting up fruits and vegetables wasn’t just the latest food trend, it was a way of life. My mom had a canning kitchen in the basement, and my sisters and I spent summers breaking beans, shucking corn, shelling peas, and picking blackberries with her. As idyllic as that may sound, it didn’t feel that way when I was young. Picking blackberries meant traipsing around in the woods wearing jeans and long sleeves on a hot July day while praying that I wouldn’t see a snake. Trust me…I preferred playing kickball in the yard or catching crawdads in the creek, but my whole attitude quickly changed as soon as I smelled the piping hot blackberry cobbler coming out of the oven on blackberry-picking day. While my parents instilled an appreciation for food and its origins, just being Southern taught me how food brings people together and even defines them. The ultimate gathering would be a covered-dish supper, but sometimes we’d invite company over just because we had a perfectly ripe watermelon with the right thump. When I think of people from my childhood, I connect most of them to food: Ruth Ann’s Butterscotch Pie, Ethyl’s Potato Candy, Herbert’s Homemade Bread, Helen’s Lemon Meringue Pie, Donna’s Pizza Dip, Tim’s Fried Peach Pies, Aunt Ruby’s freezer full of ice cream and sherbet…I could go on and on. Together, these experiences and people connected me to food emotionally.
While my childhood established an appreciation for food, my years living beyond those foothills inspired me to discover more. Fortunately, life has afforded me many opportunities. Most people would never expect to hear that Birmingham, Alabama, opened up the food world to me in a significant way, but it did. The city is home to great chefs like Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club and Frank Stitt of Bottega, Chez Fonfon, and Highlands Bar and Grill, where I had my first tastes of fois gras, sweetbreads, and braised rabbit. I nurtured my love for Thai, Indian, and Vietnamese food while living there, too. My work travels frequently took me to New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Hong Kong, which instilled a more adventurous approach to cuisine, as well as a greater appreciation. In 2007, I moved to Miami, Florida, where I remain, and I discovered an even larger food playground. Today, my passion for food is driven by more than just cuisine. I want to understand its significance and emotional value in other cultures, and I find inspiration each week as I study and prepare another country’s cuisine.
What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
Best in recent memory….Chef’s Tasting Menu at Pujol in Mexico City. I saved the menu.
Taco de chicharrón de queso y guacamole.
Ensalada de nopal curado en sal. Romeritos y habas. Pico de gallo de apio. Vinagreta de axiote.
Tamal de tuétano y chipilín. Salsa tatemada. Queso cotija.
Sopa de berro, papa y chayote. Chochoyota de chicharrón prensado. Crema de rancho.
Taco de cordero lechal. Puré de chícharo y aguacate. Salsa de tomate y hoja santa.
Pechuga de guajolote en salmuera. Molote de plátano macho. Chichilo negro. Puré de zanahoria blanca.
Cerdo pelón en recado blanco. Frijol alfayayocan. Rábanos encurtidos.
Nieve de mandarina. Eucalipto. Sal de gusano. Mezcal flameado.
Cremoso de aguacate. Leche de coco. Nube de macadamia salada.
What is your favorite restaurant in the whole world?
Ridgewood Barbecue in Bluff City, Tennessee
If you could live in another food city which would it be?
What can’t you go on a week without eating?
Honestly, nothing. I’m much more interested in trying something new every week.
Name one ingredient we will always find in your fridge
Mustard, I have at least five different kinds in there now.
If you could add a restaurant to Miami which one would it be and why
I would add Antico Pizza from Atlanta, Georgia, to Coconut Grove. It is my favorite pizzeria, and Miami is seriously lacking in the pizza category, especially in my neighborhood.
Which pop-up would you like to see come to town?
Honestly, I don’t know enough about pop-ups in other cities to answer this question.
Who’s your favorite local chef
Miami is blessed with some great chefs, and I find myself considering what makes one a favorite and the others simply great. Micah Edelstein is my favorite because of her personal approach to everything that is neMesis. Her sense for pairing flavors in a wonderfully surprising manner elevates the simplest of dishes, and she is always onsite making sure that every dish goes out exactly as she intends. Dinner at neMesis is so much more than just amazing food, it’s a complete magical Micah experience.
Do you cook and if so where did you learn
Yes, I cook. I’m sure I learned basics from my mother, but I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t comfortable just opening a cookbook and following a recipe. The biggest lesson I ever learned about cooking is that it’s just dinner. If I screw it up, I can always call for take-out Chinese.
What’s your favorite cookbook
My big yellow Gourmet cookbook
What’s your favorite food related book
Blood, Bones, and Butter
One food trend you would like to see disappear
Burgers…I love them, but I’m over the influx of burger spots.
Favorite drink Alcoholic and non alcoholic
Beer and Iced Tea