1. Where do you get your culinary inspiration?
– Our inspiration at The Regional Kitchen & Public House is driven by ingredients and
seasonality. We work closely with farmers and local purveyors to highlight their products.
2. What sets The Regional Kitchen & Public House apart from other restaurants?
– We have designed our space to feature an open pantry kitchen with a warm dining room to
make our guests feel at home, as well as well-appointed private spaces and a lively bar so
the guests can experience us in many ways.
3. What is your go-to order at The Regional Kitchen & Public House?
Photo Credit: South Moon Photography
– It depends on the day, but I lean towards any of our salads and the tomato pie.
4. What is your earliest food memory?
– I grew up surrounded by food as my family had a peach orchard in North Carolina. We also
grew vegetables and my earliest memory is picking okra and tomatoes to make a stew for
lunch out at the farm with my grandmother. We had a camping trailer to take breaks and
eat lunch together and my siblings and I would take turns cooking what we picked from the
farm every day.
5. How would you describe the food at your restaurant?
– The cuisine at The Regional Kitchen & Public House embraces the concept of an American
Kitchen, focusing on regional ingredients prepared and inspired by Southern Cookery and
6. Is there an ingredient you use a lot that would surprise people? / What seasoning is underrated?
– We like to keep our menu light and use lots of citrus and fresh herbs in our cooking.
Personally, I love celery and enjoy finding ways to incorporate it in unexpected places.
7. What’s your favorite go-to ingredient?
– Tomatoes, especially right now as there is such an abundance seasonally here in Florida.
8. What would we find in your kitchen at home?
– A refrigerator full of hot sauce and pickles.
9. Who has influenced your cooking the most?
– All the women in my family are amazing cooks and I tend to draw my inspiration from the
foods of my childhood cooking with my mother and grandmothers. I also worked alongside
Chef Michelle Bernstein for many years and learned so much about classic techniques from
her and still cook in those ways.
10. It seems like there’s a hot, new cooking trend every month. Any trends you consider overrated?
– I think all trends have their place and inspire all of us to think outside of the box. However,
the instructional videos on cooking on social media do irritate me a bit as most are
unrealistic or use too many processed ingredients.
11. What’s your greatest strength in the kitchen?
– I really love working with people and bringing together a team to create the restaurant
experience on a daily basis. It’s controlled chaos, but under pressure it gives me such a
feeling of reward to see the teamwork come together.
12. Is there a food you can’t bring yourself to eat?
– I have tried a lot of foods and do enjoy some delicacies, but beef liver is something I
have never been able to tolerate.
13. Best cooking tip for a novice?
– Don’t be afraid of it! Yes, it takes time to prepare to cook a meal, but there are so many
great recipes that are simple and quick, so start there
14. If you could cook a meal for anyone, who would it be?
– My late grandfather, Raz Autry. He was such an influential person in my life and always
loved when I cooked for him.
15. Favorite country based on their food?
– Mexico – I lived there for 4 years and miss the cuisine so much.
16. What kind of music do you like to listen to while cooking?
– This makes me sound like a stick-in- the-mud, but I prefer cooking in silence. I love music to
motivate me outside of work, but I find it a distraction in the kitchen.
17. Fried egg, omelet, or scrambled?
– Fried egg with a runny center, yes please.
18. Bloody Mary or mimosa?
– Bloody Mary – extra horseradish and celery.
19. Curly fries or waffle fries?
– Mmmm, neither. I prefer a crunchy shoestring.
20. Where can you be found on your day off?
– Shopping at TJ Maxx, seriously. Ha!