Fourth of July Grilling

T & G July 2015Town & Gown Magazine
July 2015
Recipes and photos

Sample recipe below. Click here for e-edition.

 

 

 

 

Pepper Jack Stuffed Burgers with Bourbon Caramelized Onions

For the burgers:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • ½ cup grated Pepper Jacks cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the bourbon caramelized onions:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Half a medium onion, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

For the burgers:

Divide the burger meat into eight equal portions.

Form a patty from each portion, about four inches in diameter and about ½ inch thick.

Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of grated cheese in the middle of four patties, leaving about ¼ margin around the outside.

Place one of the remaining four patties on top of a patty with cheese. Gently press the meat together so that it forms a single patty.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Grill burger for approximately 15 minutes, flipping about halfway through, until burger reaches desired doneness.

Top with bourbon carmelized onions.

For the caramelized onions:

In a medium skillet, heat butter over medium high heat. Add the onions, reduce heat to medium, and sauté until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the salt and sugar and continue to sauté for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Slowly pour in the bourbon and add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cover skillet, reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.

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Breakfast

 

T & G June 2015Town & Gown Magazine
June 2015
Recipes and photos

Sample recipe below. Click here for e-edition.

 

 

 

 

Spinach, Mushroom, and Feta Frittata

  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, rinsed, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (10 oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed, drained
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 ounces feta cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5-7 minutes until soft and most of their liquid has drained off. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Spread the spinach into an even layer onto the bottom of a prepared pie plate. Top with the cooked mushrooms and the feta cheese.

Whisk the eggs together to break the yolks. Add milk, parmesan, and salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over mushrooms and spinach. Top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes until the center is set and the cheese is melted and golden brown.

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Pastry Queens

Ms MAg Jan 2015Mississippi Magazine
January /February 2015

The sun won’t be up for at least another three or four hours when Alejandra Sprouts arrives for work. The head pastry chef and co-proprietor at the newly-opened La Brioche patisserie in Jackson unlocks the doors to her 1200 square foot kitchen in basement of Fondren Corners around 3:30 a.m. By the time the horizon turns pink from the first hints of a sunrise, Sprouts is pulling her first round of breakfast pastries from a stainless steel commercial oven. The pastries quickly make their way upstairs to the bakery storefront, where a few early bird customers are waiting to get their worm – or in this case, a freshly baked, from-scratch croissant still warm from the oven. It’s an experience that, until recently, most Jacksonians never had the opportunity to experience.

La Brioche is the brainchild of Sprouts and her sister Cristina Lazzari. Originally from Argentina, the girls arrived in the United States as preteens, but have since traveled and lived all over the world. They came to Mississippi to help their parents establish a farm that would later become the first certified organic farm in the state.

In 2010, a tornado destroyed the farm’s greenhouse. What might seem like a devastating event to most became the opportunity Sprouts needed to pursue a different dream. She decided to attend L’Art de la Patisserie program at the French Pastry School in Chicago, Ill. There she learned the fine art of making pastries under the direction of renowned chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F.

“The minute I stepped into the school, I said to myself, ‘Yes, this is what I want to be doing,’” recalls Sprouts.

Sprouts completed a six months internship at the school and gained experience through jobs at various hotels, restaurants and bakeries in Chicago.

“It was extremely hard, but I worked with some amazing chefs and the lessons I learned were invaluable,” she adds.

Sprouts left the Windy City in 2013 to rejoin her sister in Mississippi with the hopes of launching a new business venture.

“I like coffee and Alejandra has always liked sugar and pastries,” Larazzi explains. “We knew if we ever went into business together, it needed to be something focused around that.”

The sisters started with a 900 square foot commercial kitchen space on Highway 80 in Jackson. They sold their confections at the Mississippi Farmer’s Market on High Street, eventually landing a few commercial accounts including Sneaky Beans coffee and Whole Foods.

Adds Larazzi, “The business grew much faster than we expected. We always sold out at the farmer’s market and people were constantly asking us where our store was.”

The sisters looked at several storefronts around the Jackson area before fellow Fondren business owner Ron Chane convinced them to visit an empty retail space in Fondren Corners.

Says Sprouts, “He told us ‘I have the perfect place for you.’ When we saw this location, we knew that Fondren was the right place to start.”

“This is a great business community. You feel very welcome and a lot of people in this area support local business,” Larazzi adds.

When it came to the storefront design, Larazzi and Sprouts wanted customers to feel like they just stepped off the streets of Jackson and into a Parisian café.

“In Sweden and Italy, they have places where you go and sit down and enjoy coffee and a pastry,” Larazzi says. “I missed that kind of ambiance and we wanted to introduce it to Jackson and give everyone an opportunity to have access to something like this and be able to appreciate it.”

La Brioche officially opened its doors in October 2014 to overwhelming support. In fact, for the first month they sold out every single day. The sisters have done some tweaking to their business hours and Sprouts has since hired two additional chefs to help her keep up with the demand. However, Sprouts does still recommend that customers come early.

In addition to freshly baked croissants, bagels, Danish pastries, and brioche buns, La Brioche’s menu includes a variety of items not commonly found anywhere else in Mississippi. Patrons can also enjoy gourmet cookies from all over the world such as Argentinean alfajores and German linzer cookies, brightly colored French macarons, bite-sized cheesecakes and tartes, and a wide assortment of homemade gelatos. Everything served in the bakery is either made from scratch or sourced locally. All the breakfast pastries take at least two days to prepare and are made the morning they are sold.

“You cannot have a day-old croissant,” she points out.

The bakery also sells freshly baked bread from Gil’s Bread in Ridgeland, milk from T&R Dairy in Libery, Miss., and coffee from North Shore Specialty Coffees in Brandon. All of the bakery’s eggs come from Brown Egg Company in Bentonia, Miss.

While their business has proved to be wildly successful, the sisters have no plans of slowing down. They are still working on adding additional menu items and expanding the catering side of the business.

“I put in a lot of long hours and it is a lot of work,” says Sprouts, “But no matter how tired I am, this has been my dream and I love it.”

The Cake of Christmas Past

December January 2015

eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI
December 2014/January 2015
Article, recipe and photos

When I was asked to write an article about the Amalgamation Cake, I had no idea that this grand dame of Southern desserts would prove to be so elusive and mysterious. Here in the South, a family recipe is almost as treasured as the family Bible. Often, there is no recipe. Just a technique passed down generation to generation. If a recipe does exist, sometimes it is nothing more than a hastily written list of ingredients and vague instructions. Many recipes are closely-guarded secrets that certain members of the family are sworn by blood to protect.

The Amalgamation Cake is one such recipe. I began my investigation by asking friends, family members, and even perfect strangers if they knew our cake in question. Half of those I polled had never heard of the dessert. The other half all told similar stories. Each had a family member – father, brother, uncle, grandfather – who considered Amalgamation Cake to be their favorite dessert. And each had a mother, sister, aunt, grandmother who made it every year – usually around the holidays. The origin is unknown. States all across the Southeast each claim her as their own.

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However, when I began my research for a tried-and-true Amalgamation Cake recipe, I discovered dozens and dozens of recipes, each one varying widely. Ingredients ranged from 5 eggs to ten. Jam or no jam for the filling. Some recipes included detailed instructions while others were so vague they didn’t even list a baking time or temperature. One thing they all agree on – freshly grated coconut was best.

I finally settled on this recipe. It seemed to have all the necessary ingredients and step-by-step instructions. The more involved I got in the process, the more I understood why this decadent dessert only makes an appearance once a year. It is a labor of love to create, requiring many steps and just as many mixing bowls. Merriam-Webster defines amalgamation as, “to unite two or more things into one thing.” I can only assume the cake got its name from the process required to combine raisins, coconut, and a whole lotta butter and eggs.

I have to admit, once my creation was complete, it’s an impressive dessert. Tall, regal, sugary sweet and flanked by sweet potato casserole or your Grandmother’s recipe for cornbread dressing, this lady would look right at home on a Christmas dinner table.

Amalgamation Cake

For the cake:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 5 egg whites, room temperature

For the fruit filling:

  • 5 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sweetened grated coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For the boiled white frosting:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature

For the cake:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream on medium-low speed and gradually add the sugar. Continue mixing until pale yellow.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together 3 cups flour, baking powder and salt.   With the mixer on low, add about a third of the dry ingredients. Follow with half of the milk. Repeat the steps, ending with the remaining dry ingredients. Continue to mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

In another clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 3 to 5 minutes. Take a cup of the beaten whites and whisk it into the batter. Then gently fold the remaining whites into the batter. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the tops are pale golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Invert the cake layers onto a rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

Combine the egg yolks, sugar and butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the raisins, coconut and pecans. Set mixture aside and keep warm.

For the frosting:

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to a boil. Do not stir anymore. Boil, washing down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water from time to time to prevent the sugar from crystallizing, until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 1/2 minutes.

Remove the sugar syrup from the heat when the temperature reaches 240 degrees. Pour the syrup in a steady stream down the side (to avoid splattering) of the bowl containing the egg white mixture, with the mixer on medium-low speed. Beat frosting on medium speed until cool, 5 to 10 minutes. The frosting should be thick and shiny.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cooled cake layers on plate. Spread the top with half the fruit filling. Top with the second layer, bottom side up, You may have to trim little of the rounded part off the top of the cake to ensure it sits flat and secure.  Spread the remaining fruit filling over the top of the cake only. Ice the sides of the cake with the reserved boiled icing.

Serves 14

Fighting for the Family Farm

December January 2015eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI
December 2014/January 2015

If you were to strike up a conversation with Ben Burkett in the supermarket, knowing nothing about him, you might assume at first with his Southern drawl and hands that look like they’ve put in a hard day’s work out in the field, that he was your typical, down home Mississippi farmer.

If you stopped there, Ben Burkett would probably just have you believe that he is nothing more than that – a farmer. You would never know that Ben Burkett has traveled around the world. That he’s a fourth generation farmer growing crops on a piece of land that has been in his family since the late 1800’s. Or that Mr. Burkett, in his faded overalls and salt and pepper hair, has a James Beard Award at home. He’s not just any farmer. He’s one heck of a farmer.

Burkett grew up outside of Petal on land that his great grandfather homesteaded shortly after the Civil War came to an end. Coming from a farm family, it’s probably no surprise that as a boy he was active in 4-H and grew his first successful crop at the age of 12. After earning a degree in agriculture from Alcorn, his plans were to leave Mississippi far behind.

“In 1973, everyone was going to Chicago. That’s where I was heading too,” Burkett explains. “But my father got sick and my mother asked me to come back and help with the crops.”

It was only supposed to be for one season. But yield was good that year and prices were even better. The lure of money enticed him to stay one more year, then another, then another. One more year turned into over 40 forty.

In the late 1970’s, the price of crops fell and many farmers began losing their land. It was around this time that Burkett and seven other farmers decided to pool their resources to form what would later become the Indian Springs Farmers Association. In the 1980’s, Burkett took a position with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives (FSC) and through his connections, helped his small rural farmer’s association become a full-fledged cooperative.

Today, the cooperative is 34 members strong. It’s one of ten groups that make up the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MAC), the local extension of the FSC and where Burkett currently serves as state coordinator. Like the local cooperatives, MAC provides its members with the support and security they need to improve their lives and communities, including a state-of-the-art packing facility where farmers can bring their produce for shipment.

As a young 21-year-old fresh out of college, Burkett probably never imagined that farming would take him to places much farther than Chicago. Burkett became involved in the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), a non-profit that works with local coops to bring sustainable, economically just, healthy, safe and secure food to consumers on a national level. He currently serves as president of the NFFC executive committee, representing the organization internationally during his travels to Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The trips afford him the opportunity to share his knowledge of farming while bringing home new techniques that he is able to introduce to his fellow farmers back home. Had Ben Burkett decided to stay in Chicago and not come home to become a farmer, it’s likely the landscape of farming in Mississippi would be completely different.

“My main goal has been to keep the family farm in business,” he says. “Ninety-five percent of the farms in Mississippi are family farms. I hope they will always be around.”

In March 2014, Burkett’s contributions to agriculture were recognized in a way that he could never have imagined. He received a call from Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation.  Based in New York City, the non-profit seeks to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Their highly coveted restaurant and chef awards have long been considered “The Oscars” of the food industry.

Ungaro informed Burkett that he was one of five individuals slated to receive a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award, which recognizes visionaries across a broad range of backgrounds who influence how, why, and what we eat. Honorees are chosen by past Leadership Award recipients. Among them include chef, author and restaurateur Alice Waters and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Burkett received his award on October 27, 2014, at a dinner ceremony co-hosted by Good Housekeeping at the Hearst Tower in New York City. His fellow recipients included New York Times journalist Mark Bittman; food justice activist Navina Khanna; writer, journalist, and University of California, Berkeley professor Michael Pollan; and urban farmer and community activist Karen Washington.

“There are probably 100 more people more deserving of this award than me, but I am honored that I was chosen,” Burkett adds. “This is a highly respected award and I’m blessed to be one of the recipients.”

Adds Ungaro, “The James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards honor innovators who are making a difference and shedding light on the important issues that our food world faces, from fighting hunger to public health. We recognized Ben Burkett, a life-long family farmer, for his support of the American family farm and advocacy for the rights of every individual to wholesome food, clean water, air, and land.”

Back home, it’s business as usual. It’s harvesting time and Burkett has several members of his family out in his fields helping him bring in the crops. He’s pleased that his daughter Darnella has decided to join him as the fifth generation on the family farm.

“Farming is all I have ever done, but I can’t say anything bad about it. There are good years and there are bad years, but that’s part of it,” he reflects. “It has been a good life.”

St. Jude, How Does Your Garden Grow?

eat.drink.MISSEDM August 2014ISSIPPI
August / September 2014

If hindsight is 20/20, it would appear all roads led Chef Miles McMath to St. Jude. McMath grew up in the Goodsprings community of Alabama, in what he describes as a “little, tiny, small town outside of Jasper.” He enjoyed a childhood that today would seem foreign to many younger generations. Before supermarkets could be found on just about every street corner, friends and families gathered together in kitchens or on front porches to shell peas or hull corn. Home gardens and canning fruits and vegetables were the norm rather than a novelty.

“I have memories of eating poke sallet in the spring and canning everything. Everyone had storm shelters that were filled with canned goods that we grew and canned ourselves,” McMath recalls. “We hunted rabbit, deer, squirrel, and turtle. But when fast food came in the 80’s, everything changed. People stopped doing those things. Maybe I was destined to become a chef. As you get older, you start to look for ways to get those memories back.”

McMath attended Sullivan College in Louisville, KY, before launching his culinary career under Chef John Castro at Hasenour’s Restaurant in Louisville. He left Louisville to accept the position of chef de cuisine at the Grand Casino in Gulfport, working his way to corporate research and development for all seven establishments owned by Grand Casino, Inc.

Eventually, McMath found his way to Hernando where he opened Timbeaux’s, his first of three restaurants in the area. He currently lives in a small community in Hernando where he says many of his neighbors share his love of home grown food. McMath and his family maintain a full garden and at one point raised their own pigs on the property.

Anyone who works in the restaurant indsutry can attest that the hours are long and they don’t fit into the traditional 8-5 workday. By 2008, McMath was married with children and wasn’t keen on spending nights away from his family. He was just about to sign a contract for another job when a friend told him about a huge $16 million cafeteria renovation at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis. The Kay Kafe, which was funded by Sterling Jewelers Inc., parent company of Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, was designed to accommodate up to 1,000 diners. It features numerous food stations, each featuring a different food variety. In addition to McMath, the hospital employs four certified executive chefs, each with different backgrounds who are able to bring different cooking techniques and experiences to the kitchen.

Upon accepting the job as Director of Culinary operations for St. Jude, McMath knew, “a beautiful place like that had to have good food.” That’s when the idea was “planted” in McMath’s head to draw from his childhood experiences in rural Alabama and establish a garden on the St. Jude campus.

Through the help of employees and volunteers, the garden slowly began to grow. An unused adjacent lot owned by the hospital was reallocated for the space. What started as a small herb garden has now grown into almost sixty raised beds that contain everything from vegetables to herbs, in addition to a greenhouse and hoop houses for growing lettuce and tomatoes year round. The garden is tended by volunteers, many of whom are hospital employees.

Everything harvested from the garden is used in the 2,500 meals the Kay Kafe puts out each day.  Not only does the garden save donor dollars, but the nutritional value is unsurpassed. Fruits and vegetables begin to lose their nutrients shortly after they are picked. Everything harvested from the St. Jude garden is typically used within 12 hours. Those added nutrients can go a long way when it comes to the health of a sick child.

McMath has even taken his unique approach to the “farm-to-table” movement one step further. What they are not able to produce on the grounds, they source from farmers within 150 miles of the hospital. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but farm-raised meat.

“This is the best job I’ve ever had, but it’s not really even a job to me,” McMath admits. “St. Jude has allowed me to bring everything together – all these experiences I’ve had. It’s my way of giving back.”

McMath’s contributions haven’t gone unnoticed. Earlier this year he was invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City. An invitation to cook at the James Beard House is highly coveted and has been extended to other noteworthy chefs such Emeril Lagasse, Daniel Boulud, Nobu Matsuhisa, Jacques Pépin, and Charlie Trotter. Currently, McMath is the only documented chef from an institution to have been extended this honor.

Says McMath, “It’s hard not to get excited about this program. We’re just people taking care of these children. They deserve the best.”

Faith through Food: French Camp Academy Shares its Mission through Tasty Treats

EDM August 2014eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI
August / September 2014
Article and photos

A leisurely drive along the Natchez Trace never fails to provide some of the most scenic views of Mississippi. It’s best to travel along this historic route when you’re not in a hurry and have no real place to go so you can stop and take in a few of the historic markers along the way. Just 20 miles up the trace from Kosciusko lies French Camp, a tiny little town in Choctaw County with a whole lot of history.

French Camp was founded in 1810 as a trading post by Frenchman Louis LeFleur, who is also credited with founding the settlement that would later become Jackson. Today, French Camp is more widely known among Mississippians as the home of French Camp Academy, a Christian boarding school established in 1885. Situated on the school’s 900 acres is the French Camp Historic Village, which not only provides a glimpse into early American life, but hungry local foodies will find several unique treats at the town’s bakery, gift shop, and Council House Café.

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If your travels along the Trace should find you in the vicinity of French Camp in the fall, make sure you pay them a visit during Sorghum Saturdays. Every Saturday in October, sorghum syrup is made the old fashioned way, by pressing the sugar via a horse drawn mill right in front of the gift shop and then boiling the sugar over an open fire pit to make sorghum syrup.

The homemade sorghum syrup has become a staple ingredient for many of the loaves produced in the FCA bakery. Bread baking has been a French Camp tradition for more than 50 years. Loaves of homemade bread, originally baked with the help of students, were used as “thank you” gifts to supporters. Today, the operation is housed in its own commercial kitchen and “turns out” over 17,000 loaves of bread a year.

Like many of FCA’s employees, head baker Kevin O’Brien has a special connection to the ministry and the school. Not only did his family actively support the school while O’Brien was growing up, but he also worked as an intern for six months before being deployed with the U.S. Navy. During that time, O’Brien hoped he would be able to return to French Camp one day to work. After operating a submarine for the Navy for 24 years, O’Brien and his wife returned to French Camp to be dorm parents. Three years ago, he was approached about taking over the bread baking operation after long-time baker, Ms. Annie, retired after 17 years at the helm.

O’Brien admits he accepted the position without knowing a thing about baking

“I grew up in the kitchen helping my mom,” O’Brien says. “Cooking wasn’t foreign to me, but I had never baked and certainly never commercially.”

Under Ms. Annie’s guidance, O’Brien learned the ropes of bread baking. At the time, French Camp was only producing white bread. As O’Brien became a more confident baker, he began experimenting with other recipes. His first attempt at branching out began with the Sorghum Wheat, which uses sorghum as the sweetening agent instead of sugar. O’Brien admits the first few loaves were more like “bricks,” but after much research and a little more trial and error, he finally developed the recipe produced today.  Since then, the product line has grown to include a variety of sourdough breads, sauces, and giant homemade cookies. His sorghum cookies, named after his grandmother Sadie, are baked using her very own recipe. Often students will volunteer to help out in the kitchen and he admits that many of the younger students refer to him as “The Cookie Man.”

Much of the bread produced by the bakery is still shipped out all over the country as gifts, with the profits fund FCA and its ministries.

“I pray over every single loaf before it ships out,” O’Brien adds. “The people who buy these loaves are supporting this ministry and it’s still our way of saying ‘thanks.’”

Located just a short walk from the bakery is The Council House Café, which serves all of its sandwiches on O’Brien’s homemade bread. The café is housed a nearly 200-year old log cabin that originally served as the meeting house for Greenwood LeFlore, son of Louis and the last chief of the Choctaw Indian Nation east of the Mississippi.

The Council House Café provides the perfect respite for hungry travelers. However, it also provides training opportunities for the students in addition to providing scholarships for the academy. The menu consists of a variety of sandwiches, served on homemade white or sorghum wheat bread, homemade soups, fresh salads, seasonal specials. No meal would be complete without a helping of Mississippi Mud Cake or bread pudding for dessert. On the second Friday of every month, the Council House Café also hosts Steak Night. Guests can enjoy a 12 oz. choice ribeye, salad, and a baked potato.

Café manager Sunny McMillan took over the café three years ago after retiring from a long career with Piccadilly Cafeterias. McMillan knew retirement wouldn’t mean he would quit working for good. When an opportunity became available to manage the café, he jumped at the chance.

“This job doesn’t have the same kind of pressure that I was used to,” McMillan explains. “I love being around the people, both the employees and the guests,”

For newcomers, McMillan recommends the “Big Willie” BLT. It’s a BLT like no other, made with a whopping ten pieces of crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and topped with Council House spicy garlic mayonnaise.

“It’s not just about serving food, but also being a part of the Christian-centered ministry we have here.” McMillan adds. “We’re shining a light on the culture.”

For more information on the French Camp and the Historic Village, visit their website at http://www.frenchcamp.org.