“We may not have made it to the finish line, but we ran that race,” Abrams said in her concession speech Tuesday night. “I will never stop doing everything in my power to ensure the people of Georgia have a voice.”
Thank you, Stacey Abrams.
— Laura Nwogu, quality of life reporter at the Savannah Morning News
Follow me on Twitter at @lauranwogu_ or email me at LNwogu@gannett.com
Pulse of the 912
Laura Nwogu: When did your love of cooking begin?
Evonne Phillips: “I guess I would say just as a child. I grew up with my grandparents and my great-grandparents just having gardens and being very traditional in their way of living: you grow your own food, you cook your own food. It started there. And like being able to spend a lot of time with my grandparents and my great-grandparents when I was really young.
LN: How did that move away from something that you attributed to time with your great grandparents and grandparents to a career that you wanted to pursue?
EP: “It just got to be something that I was naturally good at — cooking and putting flavors together. And then as I grew up, society and the culture I grew up in, being this early millennial and being exposed at a young age to fine dining at 14 years old and working in a restaurant. It just kind of like evolved naturally for me.”
LN: You currently work at Fleeting and are also a part of the team for the upcoming restaurant Dottie’s Market. How has it been being a part of these teams that are looking to like expand the palates of Savannah?
EP: “It’s really interesting given that my roles are so different at both restaurants. Where I come from, it’s so different. I’m so city compared to just this new southern Savannah environment. With Dotties, the concepts and the general mission or core values are very much looking back at our personal family traditions. And we all have this strong tie to the South in general, so it’s kind of easy in that aspect.
“It’s different because I grew up in the North, but my grandparents are all from Alabama, New Orleans, and Georgia, so there are the traditions of the South that are ingrained in me. And then that’s what we’re trying to pour into the concept of Dottie’s.
“With fleeting, it’s really different because I’m just serving food. And although there’s a lot of Southern history being tied into those dishes, it’s also a very new wave way of fusion and presenting.”
LN: I love that. I’m excited for Dottie’s.
When you’re crafting a meal, especially in your private chef endeavors, what do you want people who eat your dishes to take away from them?
EP: “Me, personally, I want it to taste good and I want it to look good. My journey into cooking is really untraditional; I didn’t go to school. I grew up with a lot of home cooks, and then I started working in restaurants and kind of got trained hands-on and did my own personal learning. I just feel like I come from it at a different angle than someone like who went to culinary school and has all these technical techniques in their toolbox.
“I’ve learned some of those things from some of the more experienced chefs I’ve worked with, but I didn’t learn them traditionally, so that’s not in the forefront of my mind. It’s more so, I think about how food was when my grandma cooked it; I want it to feel good. I know that when grandma was in a good mood, the food tasted great, you know? It was very loving. For me personally, things were always presented in a very pretty way even as a child, and in a variety of colors. Things all had different dishes and different things were separate. There was always a smorgasbord of pretty plates, so that’s what I think about when I’m serving someone.”
LN: Do you have a favorite meal that you like to cook?
EP: “Not really. I like to bake. I spent some time in a pastry department kind of role when I lived in Las Vegas. And baking is really fun for me because of the pace in terms of all the different types of restaurants I’ve worked at. I’ve worked in fine dining. I’ve worked in fast casual. I’ve worked in like family style. When it comes to baking, it’s very much a science and a process and you can’t rush it. And there’s no real high demand; you just kind of got to do it the right way so it comes out the right way. All baked goods are fun.”
LN: How do you stay inspired? Or is it just an endless well of inspiration for you?
EP: “Yeah, it’s always wanting to just make up food and learn about new ways to try trying things I haven’t tried. I guess I’m learning that that’s more fun as I get older. My palate definitely has expanded over the years, so I’m definitely way more open to things that I wasn’t open to when I was younger.
LN: Why do you love Savannah?
EP: “(laughs) Wooo, why do I love Savannah? I’m going to say the proximity to the ocean is what I love about Savannah. Living here I can wake up in the morning and go for a jog on the beach and still go about my day completely uninterrupted, without a plan, and I think that’s really cool.”
This interview was edited for length and clarity
Art of The 912
The 912 newsletter will highlight a local Black artist every two months as the header image for the weekly issue. This month’s artist is Patrice Jackson.
This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Phenomenal woman, that’s Stacey Abrams
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