Category Archives: Culinary Competitions

Chef Jennifer on the TODAY Show!



For Immediate Release

February 1, 2017


Renowned Atlanta Chef, Jennifer Hill Booker, Cooking it Up on the TODAY Show!

Representing the Atlanta Falcons, Chef Jennifer will bring her brand of Sassy Southern Heat to New York City, in the TODAY Show’s 2017SUPERBOWL COOK-OFF!

Tune in Friday, February 3rd at the 9 o’clock hour (EST) to watch Chef Jennifer Hill Booker in action!

*Check your local listings for show times*

Golden Onion Competition Rocks!!

Culinary — 29 April 2014
Take a peek at what some of Georgia’s top chef talent can do in one hour.

By Hope S. Philbrick

In the heart of Georgia’s Vidalia onion country and days after the official release of this year’s crop, lead chefs from across the state competed for the Golden Onion trophy during the 3rd annual Golden Onion professional cooking competition.

The premiere culinary event of the 37th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival offered a platform for competitors to display their skills and creativity, as each chef had just one hour to prepare and present a recipe featuring Vidalia onions, Georgia’s official state vegetable.

Before the first Vidalia onion was cut, chefs drew for competition timeslots and then raced in the “run for the onions”: After floor judge Chef Hilary White gave the signal, competitors ceremoniously rushed to grab the Vidalia onions they’d use in their recipes. (There’s no risk they won’t get what they need, since recipes are submitted in advance to ensure sufficient quantities are available…but they have to hurry if they’ve got their eye on a specific item.)

Cook times were staggered in 10-minute intervals, primarily so that each entry can be presented to judges at the intended temperature and allow judges time to focus attention on each dish as it’s presented.

That does not mean that judging is easy.

Here’s a peek at the plates that I was presented to judge:

Chef Roberto Leoci, executive chef and owner of Leoci’s Trattoria in Savannah, who was awarded 3rd place during the 2nd annual Golden Onion competition, prepared “sea trout PLT topped with Vidalia onion aioli.”

GO14 Leoci entry

Chef David Larkworthy, executive chef and founder of 5 Seasons Brewing Company in Atlanta, prepared “Vidalia onion Ossabaw pork burgers.”

GO14 Larkworthy entry

Chef Brian Justice, chef and owner of Tasteful Temptations Café in Brunswick, who was awarded 2nd place during the 2nd annual Golden Onion competition, prepared “pan-seared ahi tuna on a bed of pickled Vidalia onions and fresh ginger topped with avocado aioli and thin-sliced Vidalia onion sprouts served with a baby green bundle wrapped with a cucumber sash on top of a red pepper emulsion, dressed with Vidalia onion and Georgia peanut dressing and garnished with soy foam, sesame and wasabi crusted pecans, and crispy sweet Vidalia tobacco onions.”

GO14 Justice entry

Chef Marc Taft, executive chef and owner of Chicken and The Egg in Marietta, prepared “pan-seared Enchanted Springs Georgia Mountain trout with baby Vidalia, sweet potato, Brussels sprout and apple hash, Vidalia onion soubise, pickled Vidalia buds and Riverview Farms ham hock reduction.”

GO14 Taft entry

Chef Jordan Wakefield, executive chef and owner of Smoke Ring in Atlanta, prepared “White Oak Pastures Beef & Foie Gras Sliders with grilled avocado and Vidalia onion salad.”

GO14 Wakefield entry

Chef Austin Rocconi, executive chef for Le Vigne Restaurant at Montaluce in Dahlonega, who was awarded 3rd place during the inaugural Golden Onion competition in 2012, prepared “Vidalia Onion Variations,” including Vidalia onion noodles, Vidalia onion “tofu,” charred Vidalia onion broth, Vidalia onion bulbs, and various Vidalia onion garnishes.

GO14 Rocconi entry

Chef Pano Karatassos, executive chef of Kyma in Atlanta, prepared “Vidalia onion studded halibut,” which had a Vidalia onion crust and was slow-poached in Vidalia onion-infused olive oil and accompanied by Vidalia onion stew, and a Vidalia onion salad.

GO14 Karatassos entry

Chef Costanzo Astarita, executive chef at Baraonda Ristorante & Bar in Atlanta, prepared “Georgia shrimp Vidalia onion remoulade, chickpea Vidalia pancake, Vidalia onion fennel slaw, and Vidalia onion ginger oil.”

GO14 Astarita entry

Chef Jennifer Booker, owner and executive chef of Your Resident Gourmet in Lilburn, prepared “Caramelized Vidalia Onion, Wild Mushroom & Gruyere Tartlets w/ Pickled Vidalia Onions and a Arugula Salad with Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette.”

GO14 Booker entry

The tasting panel of five judges evaluated dishes on the basis of taste (50%), oral presentation (5%), visual presentation (10%), creativity (15%), overall use of Vidalia onions (15%), and following the recipe submitted during the application process (5%).

The challenge for judges was that every dish had appealing elements.

Golden Onion trophyAt stake is the title of First Place champion and the honor of holding the Golden Onion trophy for one year, plus a cash prize of $500.

The second place winner receives $250 and the third place winner $100.

All winners also receive personalized commemorative plaques.

he 3rd Annual Golden Onion was presented by the Vidalia Onion Festival Committee in cooperation with the Georgia Restaurant Association.

The following organizations supported Golden Onion 2014 with donations: Braswell’s, Gayla’s Grits, Georgia Olive Oil, Sherlock’s Wine Merchant, Southern Soul Barbecue, Stanley Farms, Terra Dolce Farms Olive Oil, Two Guys Beverage & Tobacco Warehouse, United Distributors, Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Vidalia Valley.

Meet Chef Jennifer Booker . . .

Getaways for Grownups: 21plus Travel

Chef Jennifer Booker

Chef Jennifer Booker

Meet one of the ten chefs who will compete in the 3rd Annual Golden Onion

By Hope S. Philbrick

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker, owner and executive chef of Your Resident Gourmet in Lilburn, Ga., was named a Georgia Grown Executive Chef in 2013. She writes a weekly newsletter, is a contributing columnist and recipe developer for several magazine titles, and hosts Basil Radio Show. She partnered with Hard Rock Café-Atlanta for its culinary series, served as a culinary expert for Williams-Sonoma, and taught at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Atlanta. A member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Booker is co-chair of its farm and garden initiative. After earning a B.A. from The University of Tulsa, she completed Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee’s Culinary Arts program and later earned a Cuisine de Base Certificate from Le Cordon Bleu-Paris. She led Grayson Technical High School’s efforts to earn accreditation through The American Culinary Federation, making it the first school in Georgia to boast such honors.

Her new cookbook Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent, is set to be released by Pelican Publishing House on September 1—and is already available for pre-order at

Have you ever competed in a cooking competition before?
I have done several. In culinary school we had mystery baskets and it was much harder than the rules for Golden Onion in that we didn’t know what ingredients we’d get so we couldn’t prepare. Also, when I was teaching at Le Cordon Bleu I liked doing competitions with other chefs, just hanging out as friends.

You’ll be competing in Golden Onion for the first time this year. What motivated you to enter?
A couple of different things. As a Georgia Grown Executive Chef I wanted to get in there and promote one of our state commodities. Plus I have friends who have competed previously and they had nothing but good things to say about it. I think it will be lots of fun.

You’ll be preparing “Vidalia Onion, Wild Mushroom & Gruyere Tartlet.” What considerations went into creating your recipe?
My cookbook will be out later this year and I want to showcase some things in the cookbook and also bring in Vidalia onions and show how versatile they are no matter what cooking style you’re using. I’ll show the sweetness of the onion by caramelizing it then pair it with the meaty richness of mushrooms. I’ll also show how a Vidalia onion can be a pickle. The pickling acid will balance that sweetness and cut through the fat.

How long did it take you to develop the recipe, which must include a Vidalia onion and be prepared in an hour at the competition?
Technically since it’s from the cookbook maybe a year, but to think up what I wanted to do for Golden Onion I knew within 15 minutes that I’d do the tartlet.

The day before the competition, how will you prepare? Will you find it hard to sleep that night?
The day before I’ll be doing some cooking demonstrations at an expo, so I’ll need to pack up two days before the competition. What I do is run through everything in my mind—unpacking, setting up, cooking, plating, judges’ tasting and winning. I’ll be prepared that way. I’ll be excited but fine. I know the value of sleep.

Tell me more about Your Resident Gourmet.
I founded Your Resident Gourmet in 1995 while living in Germany as a way to continue cooking while we were overseas and it has grown into a culinary company with cooking classes, demonstrations, menu consulting and now a cookbook. We do personal chef services and intimate catering—we could do a couples’ anniversary dinner, a girls’ night out, but generally not weddings [or other large events].

In addition to booking a private party, how might readers get a taste of your cooking?
We have a product line, Jelly’s Jams & Condiments—my daughter’s name is Janelle and her nickname is Jelly. Right now we have a cranberry orange relish which is wonderful on sandwiches as well as roasted and grilled meats. We also have a red onion confiture, a sweet and sour pickle relish. You can just click on over to and pick them up.

We’re switching over to organic ingredients and I’m retesting the recipes with the organic produce.

That’s interesting. You need to retest the recipe?
When switching suppliers I test for quality and flavor profile. In my experience, it will be better. Organic produce tends to be fresher and have brighter color.

Is there any dish that you’re most known for?
I get credited for healthy cooking and ‘farm to table,’ which I call ‘local and seasonal.’ I don’t know if I’m known for a dish as much as a style of cooking, which I call Floridian cuisine—with lots of tropical fruits, vegetables and fish—and classical French.

Chef Jennifer BookerAs a Georgia Grown Executive Chef, how do you define ‘local’?
Local to me is within a 100-mile radius. I try to do my very best to shop and eat local as well as seasonal. Remember with seasonal you’re able to can, preserve or freeze products in season so you can enjoy them when they’re out of season—like Vidalia onions.

What do you most like about cooking with Vidalia onions?
The versatility. I can add them to a dish for sweetness, pickle them to add sourness, I can eat them raw—and I love that fact, I love them chopped on top of beans and greens. And they don’t make you cry!

Vidalia onions add a great flavor to every savory dish without the bite or bitterness of other onions. I look at Vidalia onions as a delicacy because I can only get them while in season and only from Vidalia, Georgia. I make a point of using them and have created specialty dishes just so I can use more Vidalia onions.

Aside from Vidalia onions, what are your favorite Georgia ingredients?
I definitely love pecans and I’m very excited about our Georgia Grown olive oil.

When you’re at home, after a long day, what’s your favorite thing to eat?
I’m a country girl at heart, so I love beans—pinto beans, Northern beans and more. I love slow-cooked savory beans and ham hocks or greens with chow chow on top.

More Information…

Your Resident Gourmet
Lilburn, GA

Blind Cooking: 10 Tips from Chefs!

How good are your cooking skills?


If you think you have room for improvement then this week’s Your Resident Gourmet Newsletter is for you! We’re passing along a wonderful article written by Emma Tracey, showcasing blind Chefs and their tips for being successful in the kitchen; Blind Cooking: 10 Tips From Chefs!



Chef Jennifer  


Blind Cooking:
10 Tips From Chefs


Emma Tracey, a producer on the BBC Ouch! disability blog and talk show, who has been blind since birth, says cooking provides many challenges.


Christine Ha, who is 33 and gradually lost her vision over a decade, made it to the final 18 of the MasterChef competition after impressing the judges, who include Gordon Ramsay.

Ha says she has to depend a lot more on the other senses to cook – taste, smell and how ingredients feel at different stages of cooking.

To taste everything – and to know how a perfectly cooked steak or fish fillet feels – is useful advice for any cook. So in what other ways do blind chefs manage?


1. Hazelnuts top left:

On MasterChef, Ha is allowed an assistant to guide her around the unfamiliar kitchen and collect ingredients. Other than that, she is expected to follow the same rules as her sighted rivals.

But when cooking at home, she has no need for such assistance. Like many blind cooks, she knows her own kitchen inside out – and everything is always put back in its place.

Tom Lewis, head chef at Monachyle Mhor in Perthshire, remembers the need for strict organization from when his mother Jean ran the restaurant’s kitchen. She started it after losing her vision, and it was a smoothly run operation.

“You have to put ingredients back in the same place each time,” he says. “In mum’s kitchen, everything was as it should be – hazelnuts in the top left of the pantry, sugar bottom right.”


2. Audio labeling:
Continue reading the main story Being blind on MasterChef

The biggest challenge is working in a new kitchen.

“I have an assistant who acts as my feet and eyes. I can ask her to go and get me equipment, etc, but I can’t cook while she is gone. I have had to learn to work closely and communicate with her. The flow of how we communicate has been really important so that I can work as quickly as everyone else.

“The advantage for me, if there is any, is that I am not able to see what others are doing and just have to be concerned with my own kitchen station.”

Many of the men and women that

cookery expert Sue Pallett advises at online blindness community

The Accessible Friends Network, are not able to memorize the entire contents of their pantry and so must find a non-visual way to label items.Blind from birth, Pallett uses Braille labels, but over the years she has developed a number of strategies to help others to identify their ingredients.


“If there are two containers which feel exactly the same, some people will put an elastic band on one and a piece of sticky tape on the other. Or tactile magnetic letters can be useful, particularly when labeling tins.”

More hi-tech options are available, allowing the blind cook to record an audio message on a special label, which is then attached to the container.

As well as identifying the contents, this message can also include additional information, such as use-by dates and cooking instructions.


3. Listen to the sponge cake:

Smell, taste, touch and even hearing are used by blind cooks to identify similar ingredients – using icing sugar instead of cornflour, for instance, would have disastrous consequences for a dish.

In China, a contest was held involving blind chefs
Pallett, who teaches blind people

how to cook, says that if you have a refined sense of hearing, it is sometimes possible to tell that a sponge cake is done “when it stops ticking”, or sizzling.She is keen to point out, however, that this is not by any means a foolproof method and that timing is more reliable.


“As blind cooks, we are not able to continually open the oven door and check whether a cake is done, so I use a timer.

“When time is up, I press my fingers down lightly on the top of the cake and if it springs back easily, then it is done.” Baking guru Mary Berry also recommends this method.


4. Smell the garlic:

“My sense of smell has really come into play since I lost my sight,” says Ha, who writes the food blog Blind Cook.

“I know when garlic is just fragrant enough and when it is going to tip over to being too burnt or bitter.

“With a pan on the stove, I add some water and if it splashes in a certain way I know that it is hot enough for whatever I’m cooking.”

5. Mark the temperature dials Pallett uses small, brightly colored pieces of sticky-backed rubber called bump-ons.

They come in many shapes and sizes and can be stuck on to anything, including the temperature dials of cookers and kitchen timers.

Then all the blind cook must do is line the cooker knob’s edge up with them.


6. Have a chopping system:
The sharper the better.

Preparing vegetables requires the right tools and a good technique, says Pallett.

“Choose a short-bladed, unserrated kitchen knife with an ergonomic handle, and a good chopping board.”

Blind foodie Neil Barnfather adheres to a strict system for preparing vegetables, especially while hosting dinner parties. And his favorite kitchen utensil is his knife sharpener – a sharp blade is essential for chopping accurately.

“When chopping, I tend to put the unchopped on the left, work in progress in the middle and finished on the right. This saves time and avoids confusion.”


7. Saucepan, not frying pan:
Sue Pallett doesn’t use a frying pan

Another aspect of cooking which could be considered risky if you can’t see, is working with hot oil. Pallett has found a way around this problem – instead of a frying pan, she uses deep-sided saucepans.

“If you fry in a saucepan, everything is contained really well and nothing is going to fly out over the top and cause a mess.

“I use a long-handled, heat-resistant, slotted spoon to slide underneath the ingredients, gently turn them over and spread them out again. I always face my saucepan handles to the same side.

“That way, I know where they are, and there’s no chance of me knocking a hot pot off the hob.”


8. Carry as little as possible:

When serving a meal to guests, Neil Barnfather’s secret weapon is a hostess trolley.

“It keeps food warm, so that I can cook one thing at a time. It also saves me having to carry a loaded tray through to the dining room, which, with a young family, or guests moving around, might not be a safe thing to do.”

He also draws the line at serving gravy to guests at the table, opting instead to leave it on a heated serving plate in the centre so that they can do it themselves.


9. Use talking gadgets:

All three cooks use various gadgets to get the job done. Many of these are regular pieces of equipment which have been repurposed.

“Use a good, long, solid wooden rolling pin, flouring it before you begin. Give your dough a quarter turn after every few rolls back and forth for a good result, keeping a steady pressure will also achieve an even thickness and a good round shape. When your pastry is approximately the right size, check by turning your pie plate upside down, laying it on top of the pastry circle, it needs to be just a little bit bigger than the plate, with a small amount of pastry protruding underneath all the way round.”

Sue Pallett, blind cooking tutor.

For example, unable to go down the usual road of checking his meat by seeing if the juices run clear, Barnfather uses a meat tenderiser, which looks like a mini cheese-grater with a hammer-like handle. If, when pushed into the meat, it springs back easily, then the meat is cooked.

“I use oven mits which go much higher up my arm than regular mits, so that I don’t burn the inside of my wrist when taking things in and out of the oven,” says Ha.

She also has a talking meat thermometer with her in the MasterChef kitchen to ensure that her food is fully heated through. This is just one type of specialist equipment for the visually impaired, sold by blind charities such as RNIB.

When measuring ingredients for cakes and pastries, all three cooks rely on hearing to use their talking weighing scales. These devices speak measurements in a slow, clear voice, as ingredients are added to the bowl attached.

For liquids, Neil Barnfather says that the talking measuring jugs available are not nearly accurate enough to use. Instead, he remembers how much each of his jugs contains and places a clean finger on the inside of the container as he pours.


10. Serve up using a clock face:

Like many blind people, Barnfather thinks of the plate as a clockface and divides it into quadrants.

“I like to know that my meat is at 12 O’clock, vegetables at three and potatoes at maybe six o’clock.”

He takes mental notes on presentation and plate layout when eating in restaurants, so that he can tap into current trends when cooking for guests at home.

To serve, he plates up the meat or fish first and then arranges side dishes around it. An ice cream scoop proves invaluable for neatly serving mashed potato.

Shrimp & Pasta Party!

Second Annual “Shrimp & Pasta Party!” Launches Today on Facebook,

Hosted by The Shrimp Council and OLD BAY® Seasoning


Online Promotion Features Interactive Recipe Contest

with “Party Season” Prize Packages


McLEAN, Va., Feb. 13, 2013 – Following its wildly popular debut last year, The Shrimp Council’s “Shrimp & Pasta Party!” Facebook promotion kicks off again today, giving fans of the Council’s Eat Shrimp page another opportunity to drum up some inventive shrimp-and-pasta cyber-recipes!

The Shrimp Council is hosting the 2013 edition of the six-week promotion in partnership with OLD BAY® Seasoning.

Since launching the Eat Shrimp Facebook page in 2011, The Shrimp Council has amassed a fan base in excess of 40,000 – a flood of professed shrimp lovers who engage with the page and each other frequently.  The Shrimp Council connects with these fans in various ways, from sweepstakes such as the popular Shrimp & Pasta Party! to surveys about nutritious and delicious shrimp.

Additionally, by leveraging this group as a go-to resource for feedback about shrimp, The Shrimp Council is able to gather valuable data and insights into preferences for the shining star of the sea.



In a survey conducted in August 2012, fans of Eat Shrimp overwhelmingly chose shrimp and pasta as a favorite combination.  The delectable duo of shrimp and pasta is a natural fit and the distinctive taste of OLD BAY Seasoning takes this simple meal to the next level, delivering bold, zesty flavors.

America’s No. 1 seafood, shrimp is an ideal complement to pasta dishes ranging from tantalizing Thai to authentic Old-World Italian.  According to the Rome-based International Pasta Organization, Americans enjoyed an average of nearly 20 pounds of pasta per person in 2011.

Also in 2011, shrimp reigned supreme, with Americans consuming more shrimp than any other seafood, averaging just over 4 pounds per person.  The popularity of the two ingredients, combined with their affordability, ease of preparation and versatility, makes shrimp and pasta a perfect pair.

The second annual Shrimp & Pasta Party! on The Shrimp Council’s Eat Shrimp Facebook page begins Feb. 13, continues through Lent and culminates on Easter Sunday, March 31.

The promotion features an interactive recipe contest, a place for people to share their favorite things about shrimp, and more.  Fans are encouraged to come up with creative pasta-and-shrimp meal options for a chance to win one of five “Party Season” prize packages.  Each package includes a $100 gift card – redeemable at the winner’s grocery store of choice – and branded items from OLD BAY, including a T-shirt, a hat and the world-famous and deliciously unique blend of 18 herbs and spices known as OLD BAY® Seasoning.

“The flavor pairing of OLD BAY and shrimp dates back more than 70 years.  Where there is shrimp, you’re going to find OLD BAY.  Whether it’s steamed shrimp, shrimp scampi, or even creamy shrimp and penne, OLD BAY is the flavor that makes the dish unforgettable,” said Ben Flood, Product Manager for OLD BAY.  “Shrimp is the perfect ingredient for making OLD BAY shine.”

Consumers are invited to join the party by “liking” Eat Shrimp on Facebook and checking out the Shrimp & Pasta Party! app.

The interactive recipe contest invites fans to create their own shrimp-and-pasta recipes using preselected ingredients from six categories:  pasta, protein, sauce, veggies, cheese, and, of course, herbs and seasonings.  Each selected ingredient will automatically populate on a plate, ultimately displaying a final “dish” that the contestant submits for judging.

The contest runs through March 31 and the five winners will be announced April 5, 2013.

“We have been exceptionally pleased by the interest our loyal fans have shown in the Eat Shrimp page on Facebook, and this latest social media extension should attract an even wider audience,” said Judy Dashiell, Senior Vice President at the National Fisheries Institute.  “We think OLD BAY is a great way to prepare shrimp and, by partnering with this iconic brand, we’re giving great value and exposure to our members.  The Shrimp Council welcomes every company that benefits from U.S. consumers eating more shrimp.  We have a great message and the greater our number, the larger the potential rewards we all share.”

For more information, visit


About The Shrimp Council

The Shrimp Council’s mission is to promote shrimp as a nutritious and delicious protein.  Council members source sustainable shrimp from around the globe for Americans to enjoy at home and in restaurants.


Shrimp Council Members

Tampa Maid Foods Inc., King & Prince® Seafood, Mazzetta Company LLC, CenSea Inc., Eastern Fish Co., Sea Port Products Corp., Harbor Seafood Products, Rich Products Corporation, H&N Foods International Inc., Morey’s Seafood International LLC, High Liner Foods Inc., and Great American Seafood Import Co.


Associate Shrimp Council Members
A&B Chemical Company Inc., Joseph C. Murray, Los Angeles Cold Storage Co., Nekkanti Sea Foods Limited, Preferred Freezer Services, Pyramid Transport, SGS North America Inc., and Hub Folding Box Company Inc.



For more than 70 years, this distinctive blend of 18 herbs and spices has been a time-honored taste.  Just as the recipe hasn’t changed, neither has the iconic yellow and blue can.  Once only enjoyed by a lucky few along the Chesapeake Bay, OLD BAY® Seasoning has gained fans all across the country.  Best known as THE seasoning for shrimp, salmon, crab and other seafood dishes, OLD BAY these days also is used to flavor hamburgers, chicken, pizza, pasta, vegetable dishes and more.  OLD BAY Seasoning is also available with 30-percent less sodium and has been the inspiration for 14 additional OLD BAY products.  For more information, recipes and the OLD BAY online store, visit and


OLD BAY is one of McCormick & Company’s (NYSE: MKC) portfolio brands.  As the leading global supplier of innovative flavor solutions, McCormick has built a portfolio of leading flavor brands that enhance people’s enjoyment of food all around the world.  Every day, no matter where or what you eat, you can enjoy food flavored by McCormick.  McCormick Brings Passion to Flavor™.


Shrimp Packs a Nutritional Punch!!

If you’ve promised to eat healthier, start your new year off right with shrimp as you look to warmer months!With the holidays behind us and many of your readers working hard on their New Year’s resolutions, here’s an idea for helping people stick to their guns in 2013!

The nutritional advantages of shrimp speak for themselves

~~One three-ounce serving contains just 83 calories

~~Only two grams of fat

~~Healthy omega-3s

~~Nearly 20 grams of protein.


“Shrimp deserves a place at the table. It is quick and easy to prepare and it’s the perfect protein addition to scores of everyday meals, from a delicious, down-home shrimp salad to tantalizing Thai and mouth-watering Mexican dishes,” said Judy Dashiell, Senior Vice President, National Fisheries Institute. “It fills the bill for those light and healthy meals that are perfect at a summer cookout, as well as for the creature comforts we all crave when the mercury dips.” So, let’s start America’s new year off right with this shining seafood!

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Courtesy of The Shrimp Council

Serves: Four


1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Juice from one lime (about 2 tablespoons)

1 lb medium or large cooked shrimp

1 C grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 avocado, cut into ½-inch cubes

¼ tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper



Whisk the olive oil, cilantro, and lime juice in a large bowl. Add the shrimp, tomato halves, avocado, and salt and toss gently. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chill overnight.


Nutrition Information:

220 Calories

11 g Fat (2 g saturated, 0.5 g omega-3)

330 mg Sodium

6 g Carbohydrates

3 g Fiber

25 g Protein

20% Vitamin C

20% Iron

Recipe Courtesy of: The Shrimp Council

Photo Credit: © Marco Mayer –

Make 2013 Your Best Year Yet!

Happy New Year 2013!


Most of us start the New Year with a list of resolutions on how to eat better, get more exercise, and be kinder to over-worked selves. There are so many reasons why we aren’t already taking better care of ourselves, from fast paced schedules, juggling work and family, to not knowing how to cook a healthy well balanced meal. Juicing may be just what you need for a quick and nutritious way to jump-start your healthier 2013. This week’s Your Resident Gourmet Newsletter talks about the pros and cons of juicing and even shares some really great juicing recipes.


Here’s to a Better You in 2013!

Chef Jennifer


The Benefits of A Juice Detox

The benefits of A juice detox?

Juicing is a great way to squeeze fruits and vegetables into your diet if you typically don’t like them. Most people juice between 1-3 days in an effort to lose weight, improve their diet and eliminate the unhealthy foods they currently consume.  Clearer skin and relief from chronic health issues such as fatigue, constipation, bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome are also well known benefits of juice detox. *Contact your health professional if you are thinking of juicing for longer than 3 days or are currently taking any medication*


The side effects?

While there are definite benefits to doing a juice detox, there are side effects as well.  As with any type of detox the first few days usually present the same common symptoms – headaches nausea, dizziness and sometimes bad breath.  You will be more likely to experience headaches if your diet contains large amounts of caffeine, sugar, or sodium. You’re also likely to have frequent urination, diarrhea, and fatigue experience in the beginning of your juicing but by the end you should have a vast increase in energy. Also remember that juice, no matter where it comes from, is a concentrated source of calories. This is especially true if you use more fruits than vegetables in your juices. So add more leafy green vegetables, like kale, in your juice blends instead of ‘sugary’ vegetables like carrots.


What do I need to ‘juice’?

You will need a juicer that fits your level of use and your budget!  There are a variety of juicers on the market and picking the right only takes a little research.  When out shopping for your juicer feel free to ask lots of questions about its features and check its warranty. Once you have your juicer you’ll want to load up with fresh fruits and vegetables. Spinach, apples, kale, collard greens, beets, blueberries, strawberries and carrots are a great choice.  Bananas don’t juice so you’ll have to mash them separately and then add them to your juice and using too much citrus fruit may irritate your stomach, so limit your lemons, limes, and grapefruits. Remember that the fresh vegetable and fruits you juice at home will NOT be pasteurized, which could be a food-safety hazard. So be sure wash your hands with hot soapy water (for at least 20 seconds) and all produce before preparing your juice. It’s also best to drink your juice within one week, preferably on the same day that you make it. Don’t forget to wash the juicer with hot soapy water after each use, as well.


Juicing vs Blending?

Yes, you can still do ‘juicing’ while using your blender, there will just be a bit more work involved.  When you use a juicer to juice your food you are eliminating the fiber from the foods which decreases your digestion to almost zero.  By placing your foods in a blender you are not eliminating any of the fiber and your body will need to digest the ‘juice’ the same way as if you were to eat it raw.  To get around this issue, simply strain the blended juice before drinking any of it.  Use a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove all of the pulp from the juice. You can also freeze the pulp and add it to sauces, soups, and smoothies once you’ve finished your juicing detox.


Juicing Recipes

Here are a few simple tasty juicing recipes that help alleviate certain symptoms, as well as a basic Cleansing Veggie Broth.



Potassium Juice

3 carrots
3 stalks celery
½ bunch spinach
½ bunch parsley

Ginger Root Boost

1 inch slice ginger root
Juice from 1 fresh lemon
6 carrots with tops
1 seeded apple

High Blood Pressure Reducer

2 garlic cloves
1 handful parsley
1 cucumber
4 carrots with tops
2 stalks celery

Yummy Green Drink

½ bunch spinach
2 big kale leaves
¼ cup OJ
1 small banana
1 kiwi

Homemade V8 (6 glasses)

6-8 tomatoes
3-4 green onions with tops
½ green pepper
2 carrots
2 stalks celery with tops
½ bunch spinach
½ bunch parsley
2 lemons (just the juice)

Cleansing Veggie Broth

3 carrots
3 kale leaves
2 celery
2 beets
1 turnip
½ bunch spinach
½ head cabbage
¼ bunch parsley
½ onion
2 garlic cloves


CANstruction ATL

About Canstruction®

Canstruction is the most unique food charity in the world!

Canstruction, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that holds annual design and build competitions to construct fantastic, giant sized, structures made entirely out of canned food. In each city after the structures are built and the winners declared the creations go on view to the general public as giant art exhibits. At the close of the competitions all of the food used in the structures is donated to the local food banks for distribution to community emergency feeding programs.

Our Vision
Wherever a Canstruction competition is held thousands of hungry people are fed, a greater awareness of the issues surrounding hunger is brought home to the public, and a spotlight is placed on the design and construction industry giving back to the communities it helps build.

Our Mission
To engage, amaze and inspire the community to work together raising canned food to feed hundreds of thousands of hungry people.

Who Benefits?
Men, women and children seeking food assistance through community feeding programs. Canstruction raised over 2 million pounds of food in 2010 which was donated to local food banks, enough food to provide 1.5 million meals.

Who Donates Food?
Architects, engineers, designers, contractors, students, and the local community come together to raise canned food to donate to local food banks each year.

Les Dames d’Escoffier International-Afternoon In The Country

Afternoon In The Country

 Tickets are NOW on sale for the
12th Annual Afternoon in the Country at Serenbe
Sunday, November 4, from 1:00PM – 4:00PM

Chefs from Atlanta’s top restaurants and caterers, paired with our area’s best farms, will be set up in a tasting format alongside fine wines, premium micro-brews and select retailers — all under festive big-top tents in the beautiful gardens surrounding The Inn at Serenbe near Palmetto. Other highlights include: Live music by DriveTrain, the South’s premiere Bluegrass band, a one-of-a-kind cake raffle featuring sweets from Atlanta’s top pastry chefs, hayrides, children’s activities and an expanded silent auction offering exclusive dining and travel packages, food and wine merchandise and original art by prominent artists.

This event has sold out early every year, so purchase your tickets today using our secure PayPal payment system. You do not have to have a PayPal account to purchase, and all major credit cards are accepted. Just click the button(s) below to add the tickets to your cart, and you will receive a three-step purchase confirmation: 1) Immediate PayPal Receipt via e-mail. 2) LDEI Atlanta Ticket Confirmation via e-mail within a few days of purchase. 3) Your Ticket(s) via e-mail within 30 days of your purchase. You will print those tickets and bring them with you to the registration tent at the event. Your valid e-mail address is an important part of the process, so ensure that you enter your correct e-mail address in the PayPal form. Thanks for supporting the 12th Annual Afternoon in the Country! 
Adult Tickets$95

Youth Tickets (ages 13 – 20) – $35
Children 12 and under – FREE


Click here to see the exciting details of our 2011 Afternoon in the Country program.

Click   to listen to a radio segment featuring our 2011 event.


Click here to view a video of our 2010 event.
Click here if you would like to be added to our mailing list for updates and information about upcoming events.

Please contact Sue Anne Morgan at 404.329.8426 or for event details and sponsorship information.


Our Sponsors for Afternoon in the Country 2012

serenbe peachtree tents gloriosa Landmark Fiat of Atlanta
halperns' steak and seafood restaurant depot the reynolds group
alsco linens production people drivetrain band
idealand meteor atlanta image link georgia organics
    best self magazine
 flavors magazine   Smiley Bishop
Porter, LLP
Stacy Zeigler
Scott Bryan

HAITI FOOD & SPIRITS FESTIVAL: September 28th-October 7th, 2012


I am so excited to announce that your very own Resident Gourmet, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker, will be participating in the 2012 Haiti Food & Spirits Festival! This festival is important not just because it promotes Haiti as a tropical vacation destination or because it celebrates its rich culinary heritage, but because much of the proceeds earned from the 2012 Haiti Food & Spirits Festival will go to rebuilding Haiti’s economy. So this week’s Your Resident Gourmet Newsletter is all about Haiti. If you love to travel, trying exciting new dishes, and need getaway, come to Haiti and join me and a cast of truly talented Chefs, Sommeliers, and Mixologist in this year’s Haiti Food & Spirit Festival.

Bon Appetite,

Chef Jennifer



28 September – 7 October 2012


The Haiti Food & Spirits Festival is a yearly event to Promote & Celebrate Haitian Gastronomy, to put forward Restaurateurs and Chefs, local producers and to show the world that Haiti is a Culinary Destination. This year, the Haiti Food & Spirit Festival will try to provide bring more exposure to all sectors of the trade in order to not only encourage the professions of Chefs and Bartenders, but to also bring a revive Haiti’s gastronomy economy.


For the 2012 edition of “Gout et Saveurs Lakay”, there will be several activities around the promotion of Culinary Art and Gastronomy in the country. This year’s theme is “Let’s value ​Haiti’s Gastronomic Heritage” The organizers of this festival, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Haiti’s Tourism Association (ATH), Le Nouvelliste, Haiti Culinary Alliance, Haiti/St-Barth Gout & Saveurs, want to donate a large part of the funds collected to support career developments in culinary arts , catering and bartending through education. This festival will also support the efforts of the Haiti’s Hotelier School and other programs that train in this trade.




Chef’s Table hosted in different Restaurants of the Haiti in the weeks leading to the

Haiti Food & Spirits Festival. This gives guests the chance to not only try new restaurants but to book a dinner with one of the festival’s Celebrity Chefs as well!


Culinary Tasting Evening (Sept 28th)

Chefs & Restaurateurs, local Haitians and invited diplomats of other countries will present a typical recipe of Haiti prepared their own way while respecting the integrity of the recipe as well as submitting new creations merging Haiti and other flavors.

The public will vote and a premium “Golden Fork” will be awarded to the

winners based on Taste, Creativity and Presentation.

The Haiti Food & Spirits Festival will also present a plaque for “Taster’s Choice Award” in honor of the best presentation of their dish.




“Restaurant en Fete” is the rendezvous of Restaurant Week everywhere in Port-au-Prince and Pétion-Ville, leaders and passionate chefs will put their skills to the test.


Cocktail Competition for Amateurs and Professionals

This year’s Haiti Food & Spirit Festival marks the launch of its first cocktail competition. It is open to professionals and amateurs bartenders who believe that they have created the best drink that symbolized Haiti.


Demonstrations and Seminars

2012 Haiti Food & Festival attendees will have the unique opportunity to attend cooking demonstrations and hands on classes presented by such Celebrity Haitian Chefs as Bravo’s TopChef, Chef Ron Duprat, renowned Chef Stephan Durand and Sommelier Neima Delancourt.


Restaurant Week

This week will be an exciting week for many Haitian restaurants giving them the opportunity for many owners to showcase their culinary talent and their commitment in supporting the sustainable development of Haiti by presenting a Haiti Food & Wine Festival menu from local ingredients.


Food Expo

The Food Expo is the crowning event of the week-long Haiti Food & Spirits Festival presented by the Alliance Culinaire Haitienne, directed by renowned chef Stephan Durand. The alliance is the culinary chapter of the ATH. The goals of the festival are to promote Haiti’s culinary arts, support the national food and beverage industry, develop the different culinary professions, encourage industry implementation of international health, sanitary and environmental standards, and strengthen the role of the culinary arts in Haitian tourism.


Information can be obtained by calling (509) 3465-7069, emailing, or visiting the festival website at