People before projects! That is one motto I have boldly printed and mounted on my desk in Southern California. I often remind myself of this motto, adjusting my daily list to put people first before tackling projects. For me, a project might mean creating a new recipe, posting something about food, organizing recipes, cleaning the refrigerator, scrubbing the stove or shopping for groceries.
I just returned from the 2016 Eat Y’all Food Writers and Chef Tour, an enriching 48 hour tour of Central Mississippi's Farm-To-Table movement. What an amazing experience! When I pondered what I would write I thought of the delicious Central Mississippi foods I experienced from grits to dainty egg soufflés. I relived the beautiful scenic drive in the Mississippi countryside, the beautiful interior design and ambience at Seafood R’evolution, and the wood fire aroma that drifted from The Manship restaurant causing my mouth to water. Right when I was about to blab about the unforgettable foods and scenery I experienced in Ridgeland, Jackson, and Ruth, Mississippi I reminded myself, people before projects.
Eat Y’all tour would not happen without the visionaries who organized every little detail. Their office staff stepped in to do their part along with the sponsors who backed the tour. I have to thank our friendly bus driver, tour leaders, farmers and their families. The restaurants’ chefs and staff, and heck let’s throw in the hotel staff made my Central Mississippi culinary adventure one that I want to repeat...soon! And what’s a tour without fellow tour mates? My new tour friends and I were spoiled by many energetic passionate people of Mississippi! I've always heard about Southern hospitality now I have experienced it!
At “A Merry Recipe” I call people that inspire me and touch my heart my PeePs! So let me introduce you to Merry's Mississippi PeePs!
The visionaries and organizers!
Andy and Marianna Chapman
From my first telephone call invitation, Andy’s warm inviting voice, laughter, and food knowledge made me feel welcomed. Arriving at the hotel, Marianna’s bright smile was the extension of Southern hospitality confirming the next 48 hours were going to be brilliant! Marianna’s smile, welcoming spirit, and passionate culinary talk continued to charm me throughout the tour.
Andy & Marianna
Enlightened Tour Discussions
Y'all Come-back now Food!
My Tour Mates!
Food talk is the bridge that connects restauranteurs, food writers, and chefs. Y'all Food Writers and Chefs Tour provided the meeting place for hard working passionate food lovers to share their experiences, vision, and desires! This talented group of culinary stars inspires me to execute my food craft with more precision.
Cody Neatherly from Dallas, Texas ~ A fascinating young man who has a heart for Southern life, preservation, and food storytelling. I am eager to follow his career and even his projects! His writing contributions can be found in the Dallas Observer. Cody specializes in writing stories on BBQ and smoked meats!
Dwayne Ingraham: I knew I recognized his face! I enjoyed watching and cheering for him on 2015 Spring Baking Championships. He is now the chef/owner of his own bakery/café called Sinfully Southern. I definitely have his bakery /café on my destination list! My only regret on the entire tour is that I didn’t get to taste the pastry dessert he made for our group; Ally and I left early for the airport. Dwayneingrahamjr.com
Rebecca Gordon: Cute as a buttermilk biscuit but thin, Rebecca’s website is buttermilklipstick.com! She is a media personality and a southern lifestyle expert specializing in food and entertaining. Rebecca current love is developing tailgating recipes and tips. In Fall, she can be seen on WBRC Fox 6’s Tide and Tigers Today. Buttermilklipstick.com
Lisa Bynum: You can see Lisa with a pen and paper in her hand jotting notes for her next story. As a freelance writer in Mississippi, check out her articles and posts in Mississippi Magazine, eat.drink. MISSISSIPPI, and Eat Jackson. I love the name of her own blog, The Cooking Bride! There must be a story behind that! Cookingbride.com
Chef David Dickensauge: Whoa! Ally and I were so honored to cook with Chef David that we are talking about visiting his restaurant in Gulfport, MS. Knowledgeable, passionate, hard working, and a darn great cook, David, knows how to balance TasTy dishes! He was recognized in 2015 as a Best New chef in Louisiana and as Best New Chef in 225 Magazine. His new restaurant concept on the Mississippi Gulf Coast will expand culinary boundaries in the Deep South. Corkandcleaver.com
Chef Taylor Bowen Ricketts: I really enjoyed my time with Chef Taylor, her passionate heart toward bringing a healthier way of eating to those around her impressed me. She is the owner of Sela Cooking, in Greenwood, Mississippi. A talented restauranteur and chef, Chef Taylor’s newest venture, Fan & Johnny’s restaurant, pays tribute to her Louisiana grandparents in namesake and spirit. Fan & Johnny gave her an education in class Cajun and Creole recipes! I wish they had been my grandparents!
Patrick Kelley (center): Jovial and kind, Patrick made the tour enjoyable with his presence and expertise. He serves as a Market Manager for Eat Cities, LLC focused on Eat Jackson. He loves to write about the food and drinks of Mississippi. Eatjackson.com
Dr. Ally Phillips: Amazing cook, outstanding food blogger, inspiring world adventurer, and one heck of a supportive friend, Ally is making her own path of stardom in the culinary world. Her talents have won over judges while her personality captivates people. She sets a high standard and modeling for food bloggers what they can achieve with hard work and by reaching high. Ally published her first cook book in 2015, Ally's Kitchen-A Passport for Adventurous Palates, an Amazon Top 100 Best-selling International cookbook! Blog: Ally's Kitchen Bohemian Style
Chef Regina Charboneau (center): Now this is one lady I must spend more time with! She owns the charming Twin Oaks Guesthouse, located in Natchez, MS. I’d love to take one of her cooking classes, visit her restaurant, or peek into her latest cookbook! http://www.twinoaksnatchez.com
Thank you Andy and Marianna!
Your knowledge, organization, and humor made each tour so enjoyable. The tour connections you made allowed us to relax and gain from passionate tour leaders that took pride in their workplace. Thank you for making Central Mississippi such a wonderful place to visit....and to live! I just might be packing my bags next week!
We certainly know how to eat Southern Style now!
2016 Eat Y'all Food Writers and Chef Tour