Photo by: CLEO TV
The kitchen is getting scorching hot this week on What’s Cooking? Atlanta, and we want to know if you are ready to stand the heat!
The owner, Gee Smalls takes us to school, dropping gems about the Gullah and Geechie food culture.
You can see a correlation between the dish names on the menus representing the language of Gullah and Geechie culture, such as their famous and refreshing Watuhmelon & Cucumbah Salad, fan-favorite dishes Bussin Cornmuffins, Slammin’ Sammen, and original Skrimp n’ Grits wit’ Crab served Gullah Geechie style.
“Guallah Geechie is the oldest Black culture in America. We are on the coast of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, and our ancestors were brought over to the Port of Charleston,” Gee states as he explained the meaning behind the culture’s name.
His roots are evident in the design as well as in delicacies like the red rice and crab rice. A tiny glass vase on each table has a single sweetgrass rose or palmetto rose, which are handcrafted blooms created from palmetto tree fronds.
Although Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar has only been in operation for a short amount of time, the restaurant’s first-time owners decided to give it time to establish a following, depending on social media and word-of-mouth as their advertising methods.
It provided Gee with the chance to make adjustments to every dish on the menu, many of which are based on recipes that were passed down from his relatives who still reside on James Island, South Carolina.
Gee also dives into his decision to bring the amazing Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar to the ATL.
“Of course, everybody knows Atlanta is the Black, gay mecca,” he says. “There’s a lot of Black gay men in Atlanta as well. Me and my husband opened this place because in Atlanta because we would do all these events in our community, but there were no spaces that were owned by us.”
After the initial concept of just opening up a bar and lounge, Gee took the chance to start cooking the dishes that he knows and loves resulting to the establishment being a beautiful ode to the oldest Black culture in America.
Willie Moore Jr. takes us to the deep south, checking in with pit master Chef Butterknife Shawty as they chew on this savory smoked macaroni and cheese, smoked baked beans, and smoked spareribs!
In order to have his customers’ tastebuds jumping, Chef Butterknife Shawty used mustard as a binder to make his dishes such as his smoked ribs and smoked macaroni and cheese pack a punch, followed by using his famous Georgia Boy rub to finish the job.
And man, did this plate look gooood?!
Chef Butterknife Shawty explains what motivates him to get into the barbecue side of the food service industry.
“It’s a passion of mine, man. You know when you love something when you get up 2, to 3 AM and start a fire just to cook for 150 people,” he says.
This pitmaster also shares that his best-selling dishes are his mouthwatering smoked macaroni and cheese and amazing and tender barbeque ribs.
We definitely want a plate, Chef Butterknife Shawty!
Checking back in with Pretty Vee, she heads over to the serene Urban Grind.
The beautiful coffee business Urban Grind is located on Atlanta’s West Side in a live, work, and play neighborhood that was created more than ten years ago.
The Urban Grind owner Cassandra Ingram shares just why she decided to open up this tranquil environment in the West Side.
“I really wanted to create a neighborhood gathering place where people can come together. Whether they’re working independently, writing books, people are writing scripts. Just kind of their home away from home, it’s more than just coffee it’s about cultivating a community,” Ms. Ingram states.
Urban Grind had our mouths watering for their famous White Raspberry Mocha frappe made with rich white chocolate, raspberry syrup, espresso, and steamed milk are combined. And the drink is finished with whip cream and white chocolate drizzle.
If you are hungry, don’t worry because Urban Grind has got you covered with delicious food. They also serve an array of muffins, loafs, vegan cookies, and their scrumptious panini sandwiches.
To start, Urban Grind grills their chicken breast with basil pesto, layered with pepper jack cheese, and roasted red peppers which is all grilled on their Rosemary and Cheese Focaccia.
How can you NOT want to head over to Urban Grind and order one order of Pesto Chicken Panini Sandwich, and or White Raspberry Mocha frappe? We wanted to order everything on the menu!
Urban Grind doesn’t just serve coffee and their signature specialty drinks. They also host Open Mic Poetry events every Thursday nights at 6:30pm!
Now this is what we call a home away from home!
Do you like sea bass? If you do, then we know that you’ll enjoy this segment of Something to Chew On as Willie sits down with Chef Charles Taylor.
“My love for cooking came about when I was 10-years-old,” Chef Charlie shares.
After a life-changing experience of being featured on a local television show that highlights the stories of local children that are in foster care in the Washington D.C. area, a young Chef Charlie learned how to make pizza on the episode he was featured in.
From there his adoptive family saw the episode and adopted him, and he credits them for his love of cooking.
From the dish’s presentation, you can tell that Chef Charlie makes every one of his dishes with nothing but love!
Be sure to watch an all-new episode of What’s Cooking? TONIGHT, Wednesday, October 26th at 9:30P/8:30C!