Serenbe Style and Soul

with Marie Nygren

Kevin Gillespie



March 2013



Southern Chefs Named 2013 James Beard Nominees

Written by , Posted in inn at serenbe, Kevin Gillespie, Sean Brock, Southern Chefs Series, Steven Satterfield

Some people wait with bated breath for the Oscar nominations announcements, others for the Tony Awards’, still others for the Grammy’s or Country Music Awards’ announcements.  I wait for the James Beard Foundation’s nominations, and they are out!

Congratulations to some of my favorite people!  The following Southern chefs have been honored with nominations from the James Beard Foundation in the following categories:

  • Steven Satterfield, Best Chef: Southeast
  • Sean Brock, Outstanding Chef
  • Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim, Book Awards – American Cooking – for their cookbook Fire in My Belly
  • Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, Book Awards – American Cooking – for their cookbook Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking

Steven Satterfield

Sean Brock

Kevin Gillespie

Kevin Gillespie









Steven, Sean, and Kevin are all in my 2013 Southern Chefs Series lineup.  Nathalie has served as a guest chef in the series in the past. It’s exciting to have the BEST Southern chefs cook in my home kitchen for intimate classes of 10.  You can be one of those.

Call the Inn at Serenbe today at (770) 463-2610, to register for an upcoming class.  Classes sell out in advance.  Don’t delay.



September 2012



2013 Southern Chefs Series Lineup Announced!

Written by , Posted in Anne Quatrano, Hugh Acheson, Kevin Gillespie, Linton Hopkins, marie nygren, Michel Nischan, Serenbe Farmhouse, Southern Chefs Series, The Inn at Serenbe, Wholesome Wave

The lineup of amazing Southern chefs for the 2013 Southern Chefs Series is sure to interest foodies from the region – and beyond!  Registrations are being accepted now for the coming year’s Southern Chefs Series, and we’ve made it bigger and better than ever!  Twelve of the South’s best chefs will be cooking in my kitchen, and I want you to be part of the fun! 

It’s been difficult keeping this under wraps for the past few weeks as dates and chefs were confirmed; I’m so happy to be able to let the proverbial cat out of the bag.  

One of the best parts of the coming series is that all the proceeds will go to a seed fund to help establish additional Wholesome Wave chapters in our region.  Wholesome Wave Georgia, launched in 2009, is going strong, and Wholesome Wave founder Chef Michel Nischan’s goal is to establish additional Southern chapters.  Your participation in the Chefs Series will help achieve this important goal.  

Wholesome Wave’s mission is to improve access and affordability of fresh, healthy, locally grown produce to historically underserved communities.  Doing so creates economic viability through local food commerce that can rebuild our nation’s food system.  Wholesome Wave, a national 501(c)(3) organization, partners with farm-to-retail venues, community leaders, healthcare providers, nonprofits, and government entities to implement programs that benefit both consumers in underserved communities and the farmers who provide for them. 

The organization reaches over 28 states, working with more than 60 community-based organizations that manage more than 300 farm-to-retail venues and impact nearly 2,500 farmers.  Wholesome Wave’s innovative programs address issues of food insecurity, farm viability, economic vitality of local communities, and diet-related diseases.

To read more about the exciting chefs, with links to their websites, please visit the 2013 Southern Chefs Series button on the Inn at Serenbe’s website.  Registration is $650/participant and includes Sunday afternoon/evening class with dinner, overnight stay at the Inn, and Monday late morning class with lunch.  Classes are limited to 10 participants.  Historically, the series sells out quickly, so register today!

To register, please call the Inn at 770 463 2610.  

For more on Wholesome Wave and their programs, please visit their website

I look forward to cooking with you in the coming year.



June 2012



Chef Kevin Gillespie – 2012 Southern Chef Series Continues

Written by , Posted in Kevin Gillespie, Recipe Articles, Southern Chefs Series

On March 25 and 26, the second installment in the Southern Chef Series took place, featuring Season 6 Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill.  Kevin instructed 10 eager home chefs in my kitchen.  By lunch on the 26th, his protégés had refined their dicing skills, perfected the slow sauté to bring out the rich flavors of root vegetables, marinated and grilled flank steak to perfection, and mastered the once intimidating Crepes Suzette with an oh-so-dreamy citrus butter sauce. 

New and returning “students” enjoyed Kevin’s easygoing manner and hands-on approach.  Within minutes of starting the class, Kevin had the participants at the cutting boards. By lunch on day 2, they left class empowered to recreate this talented chef’s menu, utilizing new or improved skills.  

Kevin Gillespie’s Asparagus Salad

Serves 8

Olive oil – about 2 cups

Garlic – 2 cloves, sliced thin

Basil – 1 bunch

Lemon – 1

Asparagus – 1 pound, trimmed of woody ends


Feta cheese – 4-ounce block (about 1/2 cup), grated or crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Pour the oil into a loaf pan or one quart casserole dish.  Add the garlic and 2 tablespoons of small leaves from the basil to the oil.  Wrap the remaining basil in a damp paper towel, cover, and refrigerate until time for serving.  Using a fine microplane grater, zest 1/2 of the lemon directly into the oil.  Using a vegetable peeler, strip two large pieces of the peel into the oil; make sure you have a little peel left on the lemon.  Drop the asparagus in the boiling water for 1 minute.  Using tongs, remove the asparagus from the water, tap the tongs on the side of the pot, shaking off any excess water, and lay the asparagus into the dish with the oil.   The asparagus should be completely submerged; add a little more oil if needed.  Wrap the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 4 hours. 

Remove the asparagus from the oil and place in a single layer on a serving platter.  Sprinkle with salt and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice.  Grate or crumble the feta over the asparagus and garnish with a few basil leaves and a grate of lemon zest.   




March 2010



Kevin’s Banana Pudding

Written by , Posted in banana pudding, Kevin Gillespie, Recipe Articles

There are no words to describe how delicious this recipe is…… Enjoy!

Warm Banana Pudding

  • 2 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (whole)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 8 egg yolks
  • box of Vanilla wafers
  • 10 ripe bananas
  • Meringue:
  • 8 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lightly beat yolks in a large size mixing bowl and set aside.

Whisk together in a large saucepan, the sugar, flour and salt. Slowly mix in milk and half and half, whisking constantly until pudding is thick. When thickened, add butter. Gradually add hot pudding  to yolks, whisking constantly. (If you have a standing mixer, it makes this part easier)
When pudding fully incorporated, add vanilla.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat whites, sugar and cream of tartar until peaks form. Then fold vanilla in.


In a 9×13 baking or casserole, make a layer of bananas, then wafers, then pudding. Repeat again.
Top with meringue and place in 350 oven  until meringue  browns.

Serve warm.



March 2010



Our wonderful weekend with Kevin Gillespie

Written by , Posted in Kevin Gillespie, marie nygren, serenbe, Southern Chef Series

The 3rd class in the Serenbe Southern Chef Series just ended a few hours ago and was a huge success! Everyone that participated had a great time with Kevin Gillespie from Woodfire Grill. Kevin’s rock chef status was evident in all the delicious recipes he shared with the class.

One aspect of Kevin’s class that I loved was he gave no written instructions with his recipes. He wanted to talk and walk his students through the recipe so that they could understand the process and then make it their own. It was a great way to experience a class because everyone has their own way to cook and he wanted to empower them to do so.

His love of Southern food, inspired by his Granny, is infectious.

He cooked items he would make at home for himself- curry creamed winter squash with dill, braised pork shoulder with mustard,tomato braised collards to name a few. The biggest hit in the 2 day session was the warm banana pudding. It was the best pudding I have ever had and will share the recipe with you in a few days.

Kevin was such a delight in the kitchen. He still is amazed by all the attention he has garnered from the Top Chef show but it hasn’t gone to his head. He just loves Southern  food and all its richness. He is a wonderful ambassador for all that is southern.

He enticed his students with his much anticipated BBQ restaurant set to open next fall. The man loves pork and works magic with it. As with Woodfire, I am sure it will be packed with pork lovers.

I look forward to having him back next year for another class. More pictures and a special recipe will be posted in another day or two when I have a moment to write out the instructions for you since Kevin’s recipes are only ingredients.



February 2010



Kevin in Serenbe!

Written by , Posted in Kevin Gillespie, serenbe, Southern Chef Series

Well, you know you have a hot commodity when friends call and ask: 

“Mind if I stop by next Sunday?”  

Especially friends you didn’t know you have.

It isn’t me they want to see  they just want to meet Kevin. That would be Kevin Gillespie of Top Chef fame and local Celebrity Chef at Woodfire Grill. He starts cooking at Serenbe on Feb.28 and I am very excited about having this amazing young man in my kitchen. Next week, stay tuned for one of Kevin’s special recipes from the weekend.