Sometimes when you meet a kindred spirit, you feel that connection immediately. It’s safe to say that I felt that bond when I first met Angie Mosier a dozen (or so) years ago. She laughs in a way that draws you in immediately—you just have to know what she’s laughing at. She also throws a mean party and anyone who has ever been in attendance knows what a real good time looks (and sounds and tastes) like. She is Southern in so many ways—she can cook, bake, and mix cocktails; she can spin an engaging tale; she has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Southern food, but she is no wilting flower.
I was lucky enough to collaborate with Angie on the second book in the Alabama Studio Series, Alabama Studio Style. She leant recipes, guidance, food styling efforts, and all-around support. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I couldn’t have written that book without her. Angie is a talented writer, photographer, stylist, and cook in her own right. She documents food, but also the people behind the food—the ones who keep our Southern food traditions alive.
Her culinary career began over 20 years ago when she started a wedding cake and pastry business. She found that she enjoyed the process of making her food look good for photographs and began working as a food stylist. She is now a talented food photographer whose styling and photo work have been featured in publications like Food & Wine, Town and Country, The New York Times, Southern Living, and Garden and Gun magazines. Her essays on Southern cakes, pies and traditional meals can be read in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.
Angie is currently based out of Atlanta and has collaborated with cookbook and craft authors such as Eric Ripert, John T. Edge, Matt Lee and Ted Lee, Virginia Willis, John Currence, Kevin Gillespie, and the Southern Foodways Alliance—of which she is both a proud member and the former past president of its board of directors. She is also a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and The James Beard Foundation.
My well-known love for the Southern Foodways Alliance brought about a fortuitous meeting (facilitated by Angie) with Nashville-based pastry chef Lisa Donovan, one of the rising stars of today’s Southern culinary scene. As with Angie, I felt a distinct connection with Lisa and I could see that she appreciated that Southern food and storytelling were intimately connected.
Lisa discovered a love of baking early, experimenting at home and testing recipes on friends and family. She began working as a writer—supplementing her income as a server at the respected Margot Café and Bar. This experience placed her in the middle of a burgeoning food culture and reignited the love of food that had been quietly simmering within her for years. From there, she moved on to become the Assistant Pastry Chef, and then the Head Pastry Chef at City House—helmed by three-time James Beard finalist Tandy Wilson. She has since worked (again) at Margot Café and Bar as a pastry chef and met great acclaim as Head Pastry Chef at Sean Brock’s Nashville location of Husk. Lisa recently “retired” from Husk to concentrate on personal work, writing, and family—but she still has her hands in lots of pots and on plenty of piecrusts.
In an attempt to further explore Southern food, experiment with new school and old school food traditions, and create a community of like-minded food lovers, Lisa founded Buttermilk Road Sunday Suppers. This pop-up restaurant is a celebration of traditional Southern Sunday meals—located at various venues across Nashville (and now across the country). She also teaches popular pastry classes in her free time.
I have happily discovered that when these two women combine powers, we all benefit. Never have I laughed harder or scarfed down a better slice of (my favorite) Lane Cake than when these two team up. Luckily for all of us, these ladies are bringing their collective charm and talents to the Factory for a Friends of the Café | Makeshift Dinner Series (or, in this case, Brunch). On Sunday, May 17, 2015, Alabama Chanin will host Angie and Lisa to present Sunday Brunch: Pies + Casseroles, A Celebration of the Southern Oven. The event, a fundraiser for Jones Valley Teaching Farm includes cocktails and a family style meal.
Photos courtesy of Angie Mosier and Lisa Donovan. Photo of Angie by Victor Protasio; photo of Lisa by Andrea Behrends.