published Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Chef Brian Morris brings ‘Relish’ to She Expo

Chef Brian Morris is going to spend a couple hours this month teaching local folks how to cook.

But don’t be scared.

“Our goal is to have fun with it,” he says. “We’re going back to the basics so people won’t be intimidated by big fancy recipes and instead learn to focus on simple things such as poaching, making perfect fish, perfect stir fry, perfect chicken and more.

“You’ll learn things that you will want to do over and over again. This event will definitely be the most fun you’ll have.”

Coming to town representing Relish, a national food magazine which runs the first Wednesday of each month in the Times Free Press, Morris will lead shows each day at She: An Expo for Women, a two-day event sponsored by the newspaper. In each presentation, Morris will offer his “Back to Basics” cooking techniques.

And while excited about helping people learn to cook, he has a personal reason for looking forward to his Chattanooga trip.

“I’m excited to be in Tennessee where people bleed orange,” says Morris, a Nashville native who studied at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville before moving to New York City to attend The French Culinary Institute. “I’d rather be in Tennessee than any other place.

“I’ve got good friends who live in Chattanooga so I visit often,” he says. “I love the restaurant scene there. Food is alive and well in the Chattanooga market.”

Held at the Chattanooga Convention Center, She features more than 150 vendor booths, free health screenings, fashion shows and other attractions. In addition to the Relish Cooking Show, the expo will also feature Miss Kay, star of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty,” and Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne, co-founders of Georgetown Cupcake, stars of the series “DC Cupcakes” on TLC.

Morris says he would welcome the opportunity to cook with Miss Kay or the ladies from “DC Cupcakes.”

“I have a secret wish that I could go on stage with Miss Kay and she could show me something to cook from her kitchen,” he says.

Morris’ cooking show is a coast-to-coast tour that brings Relish to life in cities across the country. Among the tips he’ll offer are how to sauté, dredge, toss, fold, whip and more, he says.

“Relish spotlights ordinary folks with extraordinary food stories — your neighbor’s applesauce cookies, a Boston chef’s roast chicken, a 92-year-old gardener and her heirloom tomatoes,” according to relish.com. “Whether featuring a formal dinner or a tailgate party, simple, quick meals or sweet indulgences, Relish is hip, lively and fun. Relish is the go-to manual for useful cooking tips, delicious recipes and entertaining stories.”

Local chef Michelle Wells, owner of Events With Taste Catering, who says she subscribes to most every food magazine published, says Relish inspires her.

“They focus on seasonal accessible ingredients and the recipes have step-by-step instructions that is probably as pleasing to the normal home cook as it is to me. They also profile farmers, and while they might not be our local farmers, I believe it is important to put a face and a story with the people who grow the food we put in our bodies.”

Chef Deborah Anziano, of Riceville, Tenn., says reading about regular people and their food stories is the main reason she’s a fan of the magazine.

“Being a farm girl, those roots never leave you,” she says.

Anziano, owner of Debo’s Kitchen, a food company that produces food products for wholesale purchase and delivery in the Cleveland and Chattanooga area, is an avid reader of Relish.

“It’s a quick pleasant read for me to indulge in,” she says.

Morris notes that the June issue of Relish focused on farmers and the benefits of buying and cooking local food products, a trend that’s being highlighted this week in Chattanooga.

More than 25 Chattanooga restaurants are participating in Harvested Here, a program that educates diners about the source of the food they’re being served. Throughout the week, each restaurant is offering a menu based on food grown within 100 miles of Chattanooga.

“It’s interesting that buying local was once considered a trend, but now it has gone way beyond a trend,” Morris explains. “So many restaurants/markets are now doing it and doing it well. Our magazine focused on that because it’s relevant.”

And, though She is titled as a women’s event, men also attend, and Morris says he’ll be talking to them, too.

“Our cooking show is really not just a female-only event,” he says. “I hope to have at least one guy in the audience. It’s hard for me to be the only guy surrounded by these talented, beautiful, energetic and fun ladies.”

Contact staff writer Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karennazorhill. Subscribe to her posts on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/karennazorhill.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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