Chef Jennifer Booker

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Meet a Georgia Grown Executive Chef.

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 cookbook Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent, was released by Pelican Publishing House—order at Amazon.com.

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 YourResidentGourmet.com 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 state’s only exclusive agricultural product?
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.

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
678.294.2002

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

1 COMMENT

  1. Chef Jennifer-

    Your e mail is still lost because of my system , but in today’s AJC in the living section there is an article about the Magnolia Restuarant in Tucker whose theme is good Southern food. That theme but better food is what I am trying for.
    Keep in touch

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