On this episode of “Hot off the Press,” Chef Pete and his sidekick Chef Nick Dimario sit down to dish with Gulf Coast culinary guru and food writer David Holloway. A native of Louisiana, Holloway moved to the Mobile area where he has spent the past 30 years writing for the Press Register. His AL.com food column “Generous Portions” is a staple of the Alabama food beat, bringing readers the latest in cuisine coverage with an emphasis on eating seasonal and locally-produced food.
From recipes and cookbooks to restaurant reviews and food contests, Holloway covers the food beat “like gumbo covers rice, thick and with a hint of spiciness.” His search for Alabama’s best hamburger is one of his best-known recurring features. When asked what inspires his column ideas, Holloway says “whatever I’m hungry for when I sit down at my computer to write.”
Pete chatted with Holloway this past week about the vitality of the restaurant scene in the Mobile area and the Port City’s rich culinary history that dates back more than 150 years—deeply rooted and influenced in Greek culture as reflected in the Mediterranean-inspired seafood dishes of beloved eateries such as Constantine’s and Rousso’s.
Both agree that the uniqueness of the food along the Gulf Coast ties it together like a common language and that the future of the restaurant industry in this area is looking vibrant.
Connect with David Holloway at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @eatingdude.
On this episode of “Hot off the Press,” Chef Pete invites restaurateur Reggie Washington to Sunset Pointe just ahead of the debut of Reggie’s newest venture, Southern National, set to open next year.
A native of Mobile, AL, Reggie moved to California after high school and worked as a barista at Starbucks in Beverly Hills (the first one to open outside of Seattle). After losing nearly everything in the Northridge earthquake that hit in 1994, Reggie returned to Alabama to attend culinary school in Montgomery. His career includes two and a half years as executive chef for Alabama Gov. Fob James, as well as stints with Marriott and Hyatt.
Reggie met his business partner Chef Duane Nutter while both working at the acclaimed One Flew South restaurant in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Twice nominated for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Service, One Flew South serves cuisine inspired by world travels and prepared largely with high quality, fresh, local ingredients.
Born in Morgan City, LA and raised in Seattle, Chef Nutter began his culinary career in 1994, studying under Chef Daryl Evans at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta. He went on to work at the Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach, FL and Seelbach Hilton’s Oakroom in Louisville, KY. In 2006, he was invited to compete on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and then cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City the following year.
With a shared belief that a great food scene is the key to a thriving downtown, and with help from the Downtown Business Alliance of Mobile, Reggie and Duane selected a prime location in the Mobile Arts District for their new restaurant. Southern National will be located in the Mobile Arts District, just across from the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and will serve “southern food with a national influence.” The restaurant will be housed in a mid-nineteenth century building located at 360 Dauphin Street. Also joining the Southern National team will be beverage director and mixologist extraordinaire Tiffanie Barriere.
Southern National is slated to open in January 2017. For more information visit www.southernational.com.
On this episode of "Hot off the Press" Chef Pete records live from the new “Panini Pete’s” location in Destin, where he rounded up a couple of the Lex and Terry Show crew for a little reunion on the Emerald Coast.
Executive Producer of the Lex and Terry Show and host of “Under the Shade Tree” Dee Reed, and former Lex and Terry radio stunt guy Tyler “Taint” Baker sat down with Pete to talk surfing, a little married life, and some of their favorite restaurant recommendations.
A native of Tampa, Florida, Dee Reed moved to Jacksonville in 1994 and began working as a club DJ. Dee performs various duties for the Lex and Terry show, including screening phones, scheduling guests, serving as the proprietor of the Lex and Terry Store, and participating as part of the on-air talent. He most recently hosts “Under the Shade Tree with Dee & Sarah.”
Some of Dee’s favorite DFW eateries? Gloria’s Latin Cuisine which features fine Salvadorian, Tex-Mex and Mexican food in 15 Texas locations including DFW, Houston and Austin, as well as Dough Pizzeria, an authentic Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant, serving delectable, delicious Italian dishes in San Antonio and Dallas.
Tyler “Taint” Baker originally joined the Lex & Terry staff as an intern, but became a full-time employee in April 2007. Baker spent seven years working as a phone screener and radio stunt guy before his departure in 2012 to move to the West Coast. A Florida native, Tyler returned to the Sunshine State and now resides in St. Augustine where enjoys making waves both on the water and on the air as a radio personality.
Tyler’s recommendations? The Floridian in St. Augustine, he says, with its eclectic menu and really great food made from local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. And also topping the list of his favorites—Pacifica’s Gorilla BBQ from his days living in California.
In this episode of “Hot off the Press,” Chef Pete Blohme chats with Navy Entertainment Program Director Karen Fritz just back from her European tour with Mess Lords. Featured on the Food Network program "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" hosted by Guy Fieri, Mess Lords is a group of celebrity chefs that have teamed up to help boost the morale of those in the United States Armed Services. As a founding member of the organization, Chef Pete and his team of Mess Lords offer cooking demos, culinary shows, entertainment, and of course good eats to the men and women who selflessly serve our country.
Karen has worked with the U.S Navy for 25 years, 12 of those with Navy Entertainment and MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) where she travels more than 300,000 miles and produces 300 shows each year to put smiles on the faces of military service men and women stationed in the United States and abroad. From musicians and movie stars to comedians, UFC fighters and professional chefs, the shows feature some of the top acts in the entertainment arena today including Creed, Darius Rucker, and Sugarland. While the job may not be suited for everyone, Karen says that the reward far outweighs the exhaustion that comes with this type of lifestyle.
Take a listen as Pete and Karen talk about their experiences over the years serving the troops through the MWR program, including a favorite memory of a trip that involved loading 50 cases of tomatoes, 80 cases of lettuce, and 100 jars of pickles on a helicopter to make paninis for 800 marines and more than 2,000 sailors! But they both agree it’s not about the cooking or entertainment, but having the opportunity to thank the troops for all that they do.
For more information on Navy Entertainment and MWR ongoing tours, visit www.navymwr.org. Check out Mess Lords on Facebook at facebook.com/Messlords.
On this episode of “Hot off the Press” Chef Pete flips the script on executive producer for the Lex and Terry Show, Devell “Dee” Reed. The Lex and Terry Show is a 5-hour syndicated morning radio show based in Dallas, Texas, that broadcasts from 5 a.m. - 10 a.m. CST in more than 25 states. In addition to an XM broadcast, the Lex and Terry Radio Network offers a live viewing of the show through Ustream, a daily podcast of the complete program on iTunes, Clear Channel's IHeartRadio network, and Lex and Terry's very own IPhone app.
Lex Staley is a 25-year veteran of the radio industry with a successful track record both on the management and talent sides of the business. He is best known in the industry for his ability to turn around inefficient, poorly performing stations, helping them achieve double-digit market share and raise the ratings meter. Terry Jaymes has more than 20 years of experience in radio, television and stand-up comedy. He formerly hosted the nightly "Entertainment Report" for Jacksonville-based WJXT News. In addition, he appeared regularly on television shows Sunday Comics, Comic Strip Live, and Pure Insanity. Some of his other TV credits include national ads and a recurring role on the soap opera Santa Barbara.
Originally a native of Tampa, Florida, Dee Reed moved to Jacksonville in 1994 and began working as a club DJ. An entertainer and comedian, Dee said he would listen to the Lex and Terry Show on his drive home after working the night shift for a Hip-Hop and R&B station. After noticing the show’s stunt guy was unreliable at best, Dee called the show, said he could do a better job, and the rest is history. Dee performs various duties for the show, including screening phones, scheduling guests, serving as the proprietor of the Lex and Terry Store, and participating as part of the on-air talent. He most recently hosts “Under the Shade Tree with Dee & Sarah.”
A self-proclaimed foodie, Dee talked with Pete about some of his favorite restaurants in the Dallas area, his 5-week stint as a vegetarian, and the possibility of his own cooking show in the near future. Another one of Dee’s “claims to fame” is his collaboration with Pete on the Dee-stroyer Burger which is a regular on the list of specials at Panini Pete’s.
Stay tuned for more information about an event with Dee and the Lex and Terry crew at the new Panini Pete’s Destin location set for August.
On the latest episode of “Hot off the Press,” Chef Pete talks with Fisher’s Executive Chef Bill Briand, fresh off his nomination for the coveted James Beard Award. With 16 years of experience in the food industry, Briand is the first chef in Baldwin County, Ala., to be nominated for this prestigious award.
Briand began his career in New Orleans working alongside celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, who also happened to be the first guest to dine at Fisher’s the night before its Memorial Day Weekend opening in 2014. Briand went on to work with acclaimed New Orleans chef Donald Link at Herbsaint, Cochon and Butcher.
Chef Briand and the Fisher’s team prioritize the integrity and quality of the ingredients in the dishes they prepare, depending on the local farmers and fishermen to provide them with the freshest produce and seafood each season. Their goal is to not only serve delicious food, but to elevate the dining experience by sharing the story behind it.
In an effort to offer both locals and tourists a unique dining experience like no other on the Gulf Coast, Fisher’s is hosting the Southern Grace Dinner series featuring award-winning and celebrity chefs from across the South. For the third consecutive year, Chef Briand will open up his kitchen to spotlight the top-notch talent and cuisine of acclaimed chefs from across the region, as well as to showcase the rich and diverse bounty of the Gulf Coast. These exclusive dinners will allow guests the opportunity to mix and mingle with their favorite chefs at a cocktail reception, followed by a communal-seated dinner in Fisher’s laid back and relaxed signature style. Co-sponsored by Gulf Shores Orange Beach Tourism and Alabama Gulf Seafood, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance.
The Southern Grace Dinner series kicks off May 12th with featured chef Nina Compton, owner and chef at Compere Lapin and runner up on Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 11. This summer’s stellar culinary lineup also includes guest chefs Alon Shaya, Isaac Toups, Frank Stitt, Ryan Prewitt, Adam Evans, Justin Devillier and Bill Smith.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Fisher’s at (251) 981-7305 or visit www.FishersOBM.com.
On this episode of “Hot off the Press,” Chef Pete broadcasts from Sunset Pointe at Fly Creek Marina where he sat down with two of the legends of the “Panini Pete’s” enterprise, director of operations and business partner, Nick Dimario, and longtime employee John Stewart.
Anyone who frequents downtown Fairhope on a regular basis knows or recognizes John Stewart. Known as the “king” of Fairhope’s French Quarter and the “sheriff” of Panini Pete’s, John has been around since its opening in 2006 when he first started bussing tables, making deliveries, and helping to keep the Panini Pete’s crew in line. Pete and John reminisced about some of their favorite moments over the years, including John’s private prom dinner at Panini Pete’s and the year he was chosen to carry the torch in the Special Olympics Games.
Business partner and director of operations, Nick Dimario, and Pete go all the way back to 1988 when they met at Capstone Grill in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and later worked together at Baumhower’s Wings Restaurant for Pete’s brother-in-law Bob Baumhower—who also played football for Coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Don Shula. The training during those years is what they both credit to preparing them for their future as professionals in the restaurant business. It’s where they learned that the key to success in the food industry is to take a team-oriented approach, always looking for the next up-and-coming “star” to join the business. And it’s also that shared vision that drives their passion to pour the knowledge they’ve gained over the years into young minds—to develop a new generation of food professionals who will work hard and have fun doing it, keeping in mind, as their motto goes, that at the end of the day “It’s not life and death…it’s lunch and dinner.”