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Q&A with The Regional’s Lindsay Autry

 

When word got out that The

Regional was coming to CityPlace,

the town was abuzz with

anticipation. Not particularly

because of the restaurant, but

because of the woman behind it.

Chef Lindsay Autry, a former finalist

on Bravo TV’s ninth season of “Top

Chef”, knows a thing or two about

food. As a sous chef to the Michelle

Bernstein, Autry opened half a dozen

restaurants in Mexico and the Caribbean.

 

She brings together Latin influences, Southern roots, and a love for simplicity to give you The

Regional’s phenomenal fare. We asked her 20 questions about her newest venture, her life and

more serious matters…curly fries or waffle fries?

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

Mediterranean influence.

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!

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