Georgia Chef Kevin Gillespie’s Favorite Holiday Recipes

Georgia born-and-raised chef Kevin Gillespie often draws from his experiences growing up in a Southern family. In fact, his latest restaurant, Revival, in Decatur, Ga., is a fresh take on the traditional, family-style Sunday dinner, with a focus on farm-raised and artisan-prepared ingredients. Below, Gillespie shares two anecdotes from celebrating the holidays in Georgia, along with two of his favorite holiday recipes that will make your dishes the talk of the table.

Revival-web

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Brussels Sprouts Gratin is an interesting twist on a vegetable that is often under appreciated, especially in my house growing up. My mom always hated Brussels sprouts. They were taboo in our family. I hated them too, until I learned how to cook them.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin. Photo courtesy Kevin Gillespie

Brussels Sprouts Gratin. Photo courtesy Kevin Gillespie

The turning point was at Thanksgiving in 2009. I was determined to convert my mom into a Brussels sprouts fan.

The challenge was that I had to make something that could be baked in a crowded oven. One taste of this gratin and the whole family loved it. Now, it’s a requested dish at almost every family function. My mom and dad even ask me to make it for potlucks they’re going to, and they pass it off as their own.

You can prep ahead of time, so you’re not doing all the work the morning of your holiday gathering. Start by making and pureeing the sauce, slicing the Brussels sprouts, and preparing the topping ahead of time. Refrigerate until you’re ready to make the dish. Then, all you need to do is reheat the sauce, fold in the Brussels sprouts, assemble and bake.

You can get the entire Brussels Sprouts Gratin recipe on my website, along with some other holiday favorites.

Grilled Venison

Another great holiday recipe is grilled venison. If there was one theme from the holiday season growing up, it is this celebrated game meat.

The beginning of the holiday season always coincides with the best of deer season, and my dad usually takes a whole week off to hunt. Suffice to say, the Gillespie household always had venison on the table during the holidays.

My recipe for grilled venison is quite simple and calls for just five ingredients: two pounds of venison, one cup of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons chopped rosemary, two tablespoons chopped garlic and two tablespoons of espelette pepper or hot paprika.

Mix and marinate two pounds of venison for 8-24 hours. Boneless filet or backstrap are the preferred cuts. Heat a charcoal grill to medium-high.

Take the meat out of marinade, but don’t wipe it off; just lightly shake it. Then, season the meat with salt and ground black pepper.

Grill for four minutes on each side or to rare/medium rare. Never overcook venison. Let rest for five minutes, and it’s ready to serve.

Kevin Gillespie. Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Chef Kevin Gillespie is the owner of Gunshow in the Glenwood Park neighborhood of Atlanta and Revival in Decatur. In February 2015, he was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award Best Chef: Southeast. He is the author of two cookbooks — “Fire in My Belly” and “Pure Pork Awesomeness” — available online at Kevin Gillespie’s General Store.

Unwrap the Holiday Magic in Alpharetta

‘Tis the season for tree lightings, mistletoe, tacky sweaters and Santa photos. With numerous holiday events, there’s never been a better time to visit Alpharetta. Stop in and tell Santa what’s on your Christmas list after snapping a photo with him at one of the many photo opportunities around the city. Lace up a pair of ice skates and take a twirl at the ice skating rink at The Cooler or at Avalon. After you’ve worked up an appetite, choose from more than 175 dining options. Or, if shopping is more your style, drop into a few of Alpharetta’s 250 retail shops located in five shopping distinct districts for one-of-a-kind finds.

ice skating at Avalon

Go ice skating at Avalon through Jan. 24, 2016

Ice Skating at Avalon: Lace up your skates and glide on ice at Avalon’s Rockefeller-inspired skating rink through January 24.

Ice Skating at The Cooler: Enjoy public ice skating in the indoor rink. Dates, times and prices vary. Click here for updated information.

Visit with Santa this holiday season in Alpharetta

Visit with Santa this holiday season in Alpharetta

Santa Sightings in Alpharetta: Santa Claus is making his list and checking it twice in Alpharetta. He is making his rounds at some of your favorite attractions. To see a complete list and to get times, click here.

Take a holiday cooking class in Alpharetta

Take a holiday cooking class in Alpharetta

Holiday Themed Cooking ClassesGather friends and family and learn how to make special holiday cookies, desserts and traditional meals. You’ll surely be baking like a pro this season!

  • Girls Night out: Cookie Swap at Sur la Table at North Point Mall – December 15
  • European Christmas Vacation at Salud! Cooking School at Whole Foods Market Avalon – December 18
  • Incr-Edible Holiday Cookies at Publix Apron’s Cooking School – December 23

For more information on Alpharetta’s three cooking schools, including the only Publix Apron’s Cooking School in Georgia, click here.

Smokejack BBQ in Alpharetta

Smokejack BBQ in Alpharetta

Shopping and Dining in Alpharetta – Whether you crave traditional or unique dishes, there’s an Alpharetta restaurant for you. Walk the downtown area and visit local favorites such as Smokejack BBQ, South Main Kitchen and MADE Kitchen and Cocktails, or head over to Avalon to have a taste of Chef Michael Perez’s novel interpretations of Italian food at the one and only Colletta. For more of a dainty bite accompanied by your favorite doll, make a reservation for tea at the American Girl Boutique and Bistro in North Point Mall.

shopping in Alpharetta

Find gifts for everyone on your list in Alpharetta

Fashionistas love visiting Alpharetta’s five shopping districts. Stop at a variety of locally owned boutiques like Sis and Moon’s and La Bella Maison in downtown Alpharetta or make a day of it and hit all your favorite stores like Fab’rik, West Elm and American Threads at Avalon. Then, drop in at North Point Mall to visit all your favorite, well-known stores like Von Maur, Macy’s and Michael Kors. Visit Dress Up Boutique along Windward Parkway to browse trendy outfits and accessories. Last but not least, head to the North on Main district for upscale consignment including high-end finds from Designer Consigner.

Alpharetta is an awesome place to experience the holidays. But, don’t take our word for it – come experience it for yourself! Enter to win the Ultimate Shopping and Dining Giveaway in Alpharetta that is packed with shopping and dining certificates worth over $2,000!

Make your plans now and begin unwrapping the holiday magic in Alpharetta. Visit www.awesomealpharetta.com for a complete list of Alpharetta hotels and rates as well as a comprehensive list of things to do.

CaitlynFlorida native turned Georgian, Caitlyn Blizzard is the Director of Communications at the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau and loves advocating all things fun and unique in Awesome Alpharetta. She enjoys exploring metro Atlanta attractions and restaurants and spending time outside with her miniature schnauzer, Winstyn.

 

Cooking in Savannah with Chef Joe Randall

This month, Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School in Savannah celebrates its 15-year anniversary, and a series of special classes are scheduled to mark the occasion.

Chef Joe Randall's Cooking School in Savannah

Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School in Savannah

Chef Joe Randall is an expert on Southern cuisine and a food service veteran with more than 50 years in the hospitality and food service industry. Years of working in the restaurant field have given Chef Joe the knowledge, expertise (and patience) to run his own cooking school for the last 15 years. With the motto of “Put a little South in your mouth,” he shares his extensive culinary knowledge with an emphasis on Southern, Low Country, and Atlantic Georgia Coastal cuisines in a comfortable, yet practical, setting.

Black-eyed pea cake with grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon and roasted red pepper vinaigrette

Black-eyed pea cake with grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon and roasted red pepper vinaigrette

Located on Waters Street in Savannah, Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School offers nightly classes of dinner and a show. Choose from either a hands-on or a chef demonstration-style class. During the hands-on class, you cook your own dinner under the watchful eye of Chef Joe, who is there with a guiding hand to the proper cooking techniques. If you’re not interested in working, then the demonstration dinner is for you! Just sit back, watch Chef Joe in action, and enjoy a delicious meal.

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker and her former student Kyle Petrucelli with Chef Joe.

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker and her former student Kyle Petrucelli with Chef Joe.

To celebrate the school’s 15-year anniversary, Chef Joe is calling in an impressive list of Southern celebrity chefs to teach classes Sept. 14-19, 2015, with the show stopper prepared by the man himself on Saturday, Sept. 19.  As you can well imagine, these classes are very popular with guests from around the globe interested in meeting Chef Joe, trying their hand at Southern cuisine, and enjoying a great meal. Make your reservations early!

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. She is the guest chef at Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School Sept. 17, 2015. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

10 Places to Visit in Athens When at a UGA Game

Between the Hedges in Athens

Between the Hedges | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

It’s that time of year again and if you are a Georgia Bulldogs fan, there is no place you’d rather be than in Athens, Georgia watching football on a Saturday. A fall breeze in the air, the smell of the grill while tailgating and a cold drink in your hand tends to conjure up all sorts of good memories for so many Georgians.

We live here every day so we get to see how great this city is up close and personal all the time. So we thought we would give you some recommendations for ten great places to check out when you’re visiting Athens for a UGA game.

We broke them into three categories for you so that no matter your mood or what point in the day you were at, you could ramp up your partying, kill some time with shopping or wind down before the long drive back to the real world. And better yet, all the recommendations are within walking distance to Sanford Stadium and your tailgate!

The Ramp Up

Creature Comforts in Athens

Creature Comforts | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

Creature Comforts – One of the best new breweries in the country. While they have only been around for less than two years, they have already won multiple national awards for their beers. They are in the old Snow Tire building that they beautifully renovated with the help from local woodworkers, Oneta Woodworks. It is a warm and inviting place and with four or five beers in their regular rotation there are plenty of options to choose from.

All Good Lounge – This bar is typically packed but they have two floors complete with a rooftop bar so there is plenty of room to spread out. Being in right in the heart of downtown, they leave their garage door open to let their energy out onto the street and the street’s energy into the bar. While it may be bustling, they have three distinct bars that run the length of the building so you won’t wait long at all and will have your choice of cocktail or beer.

Trappeze Pub* – An Athens staple for years, Trappeze not only has a ton of great beers on tap, but they have really good food to go with them. You won’t find many domestic beers here but you will find the most exhaustive beer menu in Athens full of craft beers from around the world. The best bet is to tell your knowledgeable bartender or server what kind of beers you typically enjoy and then let them go to work finding something that you’ll love.

The Georgia Theatre Rooftop* – When rebuilding the Georgia Theatre in 2011 after the fire that destroyed it, the owners wanted to add a new layer to the concerts they were famous for. So they added a rooftop bar that mixes great drinks with a great view. Food service is provided by the Branded Butcher downstairs and offers a great selection of burgers, sandwiches and tacos. So you can eat or drink (or both!) all while overlooking beautiful downtown Athens.

The Time Killers

Wuxtry Records in Athens

Wuxtry Records | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

Kristen Ashley Artist Shop/Dynamite/Community – We are cheating here: this is really three great businesses but since they are all right next to each other we thought we’d combine them into one. Kristen Ashley Artist Shop opened this year and is a beautiful art supply shop full of handmade stationary and other local art. Dynamite Clothing is one of the best vintage shops in Athens, which is saying a lot. Community is a gorgeously designed and decorated retail shop focusing on fashion and the products from local artists including many Athens themed items.

Wuxtry – One of the more popular spots for Athens visitors, it absolutely worth a trip. Wuxtry has been consistently showing up on ‘Best Record Store’ lists for years. And with their additional adjacent building for discounted records, Wuxtry Side Car, and their comic book shop upstairs, Bizarro-Wuxtry, they have the whole corner of College and Clayton to themselves.

Frontier – A great gift shop that carries a wide selection for both men and women. Many of the items come from local artists in Athens and the ones that don’t are carefully selected to reflect seasons and trends. From soaps to art to jewelry, Frontier has something for everyone and being in the middle of downtown, it’s an excellent space to pop into to escape the heat . . . or the game day crowds.

The Wind Down

The World Famous in Athens

The World Famous | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

The Grill* – Odds are if you’ve been to Athens, you’ve been to The Grill. You also know there is nothing better than gorging on their famous feta fries after a long day of football. A classic grill setup with jukeboxes and fountain drinks, it’s both a throwback for alumni and a savior for newbies.

The World Famous* – More bar than restaurant, The World Famous often gets overlooked for having some of the best food in Athens. The bar feels like a Pinterest board come to life thanks to its creative design and the Mason jars that all of their drinks come in. Local chalk artist Chris Collins also keeps their chalkboard colored with UGA-themed artwork during the season. Whether it’s a day game or night game, this is the perfect spot to grab food and drink as you wind down.

Seabear* – Relatively new to the Athens food scene, Peter Dale (The National, Condor Chocolates), Patrick Stubbers (The Four Courseman) and Chris Luken (Normal Bar, The National) opened Seabear Oyster Bar in the Fall of 2014. Since then they’ve been flying in fresh daily oysters from across the country with some of the best bar service in town with their signature cocktails and their well-thought-out beer selection. This is a great spot to stop on your way out of town and if you time it right, you can hit one of their two daily oyster happy hours when all oysters are $1.50.

* Also have food.

The Broad Collective Logo

The Broad Collective is a development engine for the artist, creative and small business community in Athens, Georgia. Their goal is to foster and advocate for a healthy and sustainable Athens by nurturing the community’s economic, communal and cultural growth. 

Tailgating in Atlanta this Football Season

Tailgating at BASG

Beer Tower at Braves All-Star Grill | Photo courtesy of Gigi Dancourt

You have the folding chairs, you have the cornhole boards, you have the football – now all you need for your tailgate is the food (and drink). If you’re tailgating in Atlanta this football season, here are some restaurants to check out for your tailgating needs:

Braves All Star Grill
As the official game-watching destination for the Georgia Bulldogs this football season, Braves All Star Grill offers the ultimate tailgating experience! A prime venue to enjoy watching all sports, the restaurant keeps fans coming back with its chef-inspired menu. Along with big, juicy burgers, perfect wings and ballpark fare, Braves All Star Grill features menu items such as the ahi tuna tacos, Reuben egg rolls, seasonal salads and flatbreads, as well as entrees like cedar plank salmon and beer can chicken. Oh, and then there is the beer tower! Perfect for groups, the 96-ounce beer tower allows guests to refill at their leisure through the game. Braves All Star Grill also offers multiple catering options and spreads for taking home or to the game.

Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta
Whether you’re looking for a place to catch the game this football season, or looking for pre- and post-game grub, Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta has got you covered. Call in advance to order to-go catering for your tailgate, complete with Hard Rock’s selection of mouth-watering appetizers and Smokehouse items. Located minutes from the Georgia Dome and Bobby Dodd Stadium, the restaurant and bar is a convenient stop along the way.

Shake Shack
Win your tailgating pals over with the ultimate menu this season: Shake Shack. Pre-order your Shackburgers and crinkle fries three days before the big game and strut your Shack style at the pre-game.

Tailgating at the Shake Shack in Atlanta

Photo courtesy of Shake Shack

Twenty-Two Storys
Hyatt Regency Atlanta’s beer-forward gastropub, Twenty-Two Storys, serves up Georgia beers and ales, a tasty, beer-influenced menu of dinners and small plates, and the best pretzels in the city. To top it off, the restaurant boasts 17 televisions so guests don’t miss a single moment of the game. Tailgate-friendly menu items include malt vinegar chips and dips with roasted tomato hummus, beer cheese and raw veggies; hops-smoked chicken wings with sweet bourbon hot sauce, ranch and celery; and Bavarian soft pretzels with beer cheese, duck rabbit stout mustard and creamy horseradish.

10 Degrees South, Biltong Bar, Cape Dutch and Yebo
Restaurateur Justin Anthony of South African dining destinations 10 Degrees South, Yebo and soon-to-come Biltong Bar and Cape Dutch swears by South African braai for all his tailgating needs. In South Africa, you can find locals grilling out before a game, otherwise known as a “braai,” featuring boerewors, a traditional Farmers sausage, steaks, burgers and boerewors rolls, a type of South African hot dog. Anthony enjoys his South African-style tailgate favorites with a beer, similar to a tailgate we’re most familiar with, in addition to brandy and coke, and slices of biltong, a fresh, air-dried beef jerky.

Tailgating at Yebo in Atalnta

Boerewors from Yebo | Photo courtesy of Biltong

Lovell Bros. Spirits
For a special touch to tailgating this fall, try the “spirit of the mountains” Lovell Bros. Spirits. The hand-crafted whiskey offers a refreshing spin to any experience. The authentically Southern whiskey is crafted with local ingredients and distinct methods of production. Georgia Sour Mash Whiskey and Georgia Sour Mash Spirit allow for all sports fans to create multiple different cocktails to satisfy everyone at the party! Try it neat and enjoy the smooth, vanilla-like flavors or mixed into a favorite cocktail.

Tailgating at Bourbon Bar in Atlanta

Bourbon Bar | Photo courtesy of Sara Hannah Photography

Bourbon Bar
What’s better than football and bourbon? This fall, watch the big game at Bourbon Bar, a Southern-inspired bar that has been named one of “America’s 55 Best Bourbon Bars” by The Bourbon Review for three years. And for good reason: Bourbon Bar offers a well-cultivated selection of more than 70 American bourbons, including favorites like Early Times 354, Old Crow Reserve and Four Roses Single Barrel. Pair any of these delicious flights with an artisanal ham and charcuterie board full of regionally cured heritage breed hams from the Ham Bar, located in the Southern Art lobby beside Bourbon Bar. Settle in for the big game with more than 70 seats to choose from, including an outdoor terrace.