When I saw an email from Alisa Reynolds in my inbox gleaming with the subject “pop-up” I was surprised and excited to see what was to unfold. Chef Alisa Reynolds is a veteran in the food industry and I was curious how the pop-restaurant, a burgeoning new culture (or old depending on who you talk to) would be approached by someone like herself.
Trained under David Burke (Park Avenue, NYC) and Joachim Splichal (Patina, Los Angeles), Chef Alisa Reynolds opened her own shingle: Paio, in the late 90s and with a ‘notable close’ she reemerged under a catering umbrella. With the viral strength of ‘word-of mouth’, Reynolds found herself in high demand by event planners on both coasts.
Soon her client roster was packed with corporate clients and celebrities alike such as Nike, Demi Moore, Joaquin Phoenix, Matt Kemp, Common, and many others. This and a few platings for Oprah, and POTUS have continued to keep Chef Alisa a sought-after private chef.
With the clamor of “you should do the restaurant again’ ringing, Reynolds saw the pop-up as an opportunity to immerse herself on the restaurant scene anew, and play with ideas outside of what can be the ‘client-ordained’ box of catering.
Inspired by the “south’ of everything’ (think south of France, southern Italy etc.), for this pop-up Reynolds begins with the American South. The series of three Monday nights featured the application of Reynolds’ “local, fresh, organic clean” approach to traditional southern seasonal favorites. From lobster bisque gumbo (an Oprah favorite), Santa Barbara prawns in charred cheddar grits, to crispy fried heirlooms with arugula and triple crème (Reynolds’ rendition of fried green tomatoes), her menus are spot on with Southern greatest hits with a conscious clean twist.
Attending the last night of the series on Monday, I got a chance to taste the finale of the menus which included surprise bonus round of Reynolds’ famous “soul rolls” filled with organic bbq chicken, collard greens and baked candied yams. The hot ticket of the evening had people at my table asking “wait, do they have any more of these?” Unfortunately, those rolled were gobbled to completion. We were not disappointed with rest of the courses which continued with its level of sophistication of tastes and flavor.
While this series came to pass this week, something tells me that there may be another one its way soon…Chef Alisa Reynolds Pop-Up Restaurant
American South Series (complete)
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