Cassandra Loftlin

 

More than a decade ago, Chef Cassandra Loftlin committed to preserving the southern foodways and traditions taught by her mother and grandmother in Georgia. Since, her culinary path has been defined by passion, professional growth, personal development and sheer joy.

Chef Loftlin’s personal mantra is to provide southern hospitality, along with the highest quality of soul food. Trained at the Cordon Bleu, she was immersed in a world of amazing colleagues and culinary perspectives that expanded her rich food heritage.

From hosting family gatherings to holidays, she strives to create a wonderful dining experience that invokes old and new cuisine.

Currently I act as a carrier and presenter of food cultures through stories, personal essays, an examination of popular culture and cultural criticisms. I turn run-of-the mill tourist into wild-eyed curious travelers one trip at a time by taking their hand, taking them on a deep dive into the regional food cultures of the cities we visit. The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach because the stomach is a primordial organ that can understand and appreciate everyone and everything, as a whole in one bite.

~

Best piece of advice you ever got about cooking: I asked a famous chef once for a recipe for what he called "Asian Pork Ribs". He graciously shared the recipe and when I thanked him, I mentioned that I was surprised he shared the ingredients for the dish. He responded by saying "What you don't realize yet as a young cook is that you are the recipe...the recipe is you". I have never forgotten that. By cooking you honor and express yourself and that is what people enjoy and appreciate.

If you could only eat one meal forever, it would be: My grandmother's black-eye peas and butter beans with cornbread.

Favorite food: I adore a good curry anything!

Recommended reading: Vibration Cooking or the Travel Notes of A Gullah Geechee Girl, Between Harlem and Heaven, Jubilee, Save Me the Plums, Kitchen Confidential, Sula, The Snow Child, Two Old Women, and so many more...

Best meals: Anything that anyone else cooks for me. Food prepared and shared by others is truly a gift.

Food you'd like to try: More foraged items! I have recently started exploring spruce tips and seaweed. I don't know enough about foraged food to explore on my own, so it requires that someone take me by the hand and lead me through the forrest. In addition to the companionship and deeper understanding of the natural world, I enjoy cooking and eating with others based on their cultural knowledge. As a chef in a traditional leadership role, submitting and leaning on the understanding of others is a life changing experience.