Local chefs share their favorite recipes, ingredients they cannot live without, and the weirdest thing they’ve ever eaten.

Cru von Holtzendorff-Fehling, Mama Gaia

What is your favorite ingredient?

It’s hard to choose only one. My top three are olive oil, fresh herbs, and mustard. Oh—but what about lime and apple cider vinegar? Better ask me for my top ten!

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

My knives. They make a lot of a difference in your cooking experience. They can determine whether you want to give up right away or have a blast

What three things are always in your fridge?

Fresh berries, cashew milk, and butter—all organic and humane.

Weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Calf’s sweetbread… that feels the most unfamiliar to me. I didn’t like it. 

What is your favorite place to eat in Memphis?

Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen or India Palace are both great.

What is your food philosophy?

Take food that is clean in every way: ethically, toxin-free, no unnatural enhancers. Create a composition in which all the beauty of each individual ingredient complements the other, creating the perfect medley of a delicious, clean, and healthy dish.

Favorite Dish: Balsamic Quinoa Bowl with Antipasti

Total Prep Time: 20 min, Total Cook Time: 20 min
2 Servings

Start with cooking the Quinoa


1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup veg stock
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Put the quinoa in a saucepan with the veg stock, water, and salt. Set on medium heat and cook covered until liquid is gone. Don’t stir. Reduce heat if boiling too strong. Cook time is about 15 min.

…while cooking your quinoa, prep your veggies.


1 zucchini
1/2 small eggplant
1 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
3 twigs of thyme
3 twigs of rosemary
Pinch of Salt
1/4 cup olive oil


Cut the vegetables into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise. Lay them out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the olive oil. The slices should not overlap. Sprinkle herbs, salt, and garlic over the veggies. 

On the broil high-heat setting, put pan on a rack close to the top and watch the veggies brown carefully. Remove when starting to brown.

Balsamic Dressing


1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp agave
2 basil leaves


Add all ingredients in a mason jar. Close the lid and shake well.

Final Assembly 

Take 3 loose cups of Arugula and place them in a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of cooked quinoa and marinade with Balsamic Dressing. Serve Arugula/Quinoa/Balsamic mix in bowl, topped with Antipasti (as much as you wish). Garnish with Mozzarella if desired.

Mama Gaia has two locations: 1350 Concourse in the Crosstown Building and 2144 Madison located inside Ballet Memphis. Mamagaia.net

Kelcie Hamm, Wild Beet Salad Co.

What is your favorite ingredient?


What is your favorite kitchen tool?

Blender. I love to make smoothies.

What three things are always in your fridge?

Kale, avocado, and cheese.

Weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Chocolate covered cricket—ew. 

Besides your restaurant, favorite place to eat in Memphis?

Tsunami and Flight.

What is your food philosophy?

Balanced: cheese fries with my kale, please!

Favorite Dish: Eggplant pizza


Fresh mozzarella cheese
Pasta sauce
Olive oil
Italian seasoning


Preheat oven to 350F. Slice eggplant into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle salt on the eggplant and let “sweat” for 30 minutes. Wipe off moisture.

On a baking sheet, top each eggplant slice with pasta sauce. Slice fresh mozzarella and place on top of each eggplant slice. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle Italian season. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Wildbeetsaladco.com, 6641 Poplar Ave, Germantown 901.552.5604

Will Byrd, City Silo Table+Pantry

What is your favorite ingredient?

Garlic. It’s such a versatile addition to savory dishes and a great substitute for salt.

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

It’s a tie between the garlic press and food processor. I use a lot of garlic, and the garlic press is a simple solution to smelly garlic hands. However, a food processor offers an easy, quick way to create unique flours, sauces, and creams.

Three things always in your fridge?

Fingerling potatoes, kombucha, and green olives.

Weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

When I traveled to Sevilla, I ate cured vegan sausage made out of squash.

What is your food philosophy?

I always want to be around food that energizes me, specifically, simple, fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients. There is no one diet that is right for everyone, but I highly recommend researching, cooking, and eating all sorts of food until you find the right ones for your body. Be open to new unique foods and flavors. 

Favorite Dish: City Silo Table+Pantry Green Micro Machine Salad

The microgreens really make the salad pop and pack in the micronutrients. Green Girl Produce is where I get the local microgreens.


½ cup chopped kale
½ cup quinoa
½ cup diced Roma tomatoes
1 Tbsp balsamic
1 tsp truffle oil
2 tsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp sunflower kernels
2 Tbsp goat cheese
2 Tbsp microgreens
Black peppercorn
Dash pink salt


Combine balsamic, truffle oil, and pink salt in a bowl and mix together. Massage the mixture into the kale for at least 30 seconds. That’s how you get nice, tender kale without bitterness.

Toss the marinated kale with the Roma tomatoes, quinoa, sunflower kernels, and hemp seeds. Transfer mixture to a plate. Top with goat cheese and microgreens.

I like another dash of pink salt, a crack of black peppercorns, and some extra balsamic on mine. Sliced avocado makes a great substitution for the goat cheese if you want to go cheese-less.

Thecitysilo.com, 5101 Sanderlin #104 901.729.7687

Rick McCracken & Molly Duchemin, Amplified Meal Prep

What is your favorite ingredient? 

Rick: Garlic all the way. If I could, I would put garlic in everything. 

Molly: Onions.

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

Rick: Mac chef knife—simple, yet effective.

Molly: Slap Chop, but Richard won’t let me have one because then we wouldn’t have a purpose for all of his fancy knives.

What three things are always in your fridge?

Rick: Milk, garlic, and salsa.

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Rick: Limburger cheese, literally smelled like feet! 

What is your food philosophy?

Rick: “Try to be healthy most of the time. Find the right balance between healthy and happy!”  

Molly: If it can be made healthier, it should be. We try to use healthier substitutions whenever we can. Most people crave good comfort foods that aren’t the best for us. If they can be done in a healthier way and still have a great taste, then that’s the version we are making.

Favorite Dish: Gluten-Free Vegan Pizza Crust

is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with a perfect balance of sweet and savory. 


2 cups sweet potato puree (about 2 large roasted sweet potatoes)

1 bulb of garlic

1 Tbsp chia seeds

3 Tbsp water

1 ¼ cup gluten-free oat flour

¼ cup almond flour

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp salt

Olive oil for drizzling

Your favorite pizza sauce and toppings


Roasted Potatoes and Garlic:

Preheat the oven to 400F. Wash potatoes and puncture with a fork a few times. Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.

Cut off the top of the garlic to expose the individual cloves in the bulb. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the entire bulb in foil, place on the baking sheet with the potatoes. Bake until tender, approximately 45 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool.


Prepare the “chia egg” by combining the chia seeds and water in a small bowl. Let it rest for 10 minutes until a gel forms.

Meanwhile, remove the skin from the sweet potatoes and from 3-4 garlic cloves. Place them in a large mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes and garlic into a smooth consistency. Stir in the oat flour, almond meal, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, basil, oregano, and sea salt. Add the chia egg and mix.

Line a pizza pan with parchment paper. Scoop on the crust mixture and spread out the dough evenly using a spatula. This recipe will make one large pizza or two smaller ones. Place the pan in the 400F oven and bake for 30 minutes until the dough has set. Remove from oven and add your toppings.

For more information on Prepared Meals go to: Eatamplified.com.

Natalie Hendry, Certified Holistic Health Coach and Food Blogger

What is your favorite ingredient?

Coconut oil. Not only is it great for cooking and baking, but it doubles as a beauty secret weapon for your hair and skin.

What is your favorite kitchen tool?


What three things are always in your fridge?

Minced garlic, lemon juice, and eggs.

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?


What is your favorite restaurant in Memphis?

City Silo has many healthy options that are beyond delicious!

What is food philosophy?

Eat real food, feel real good. The more nutrients you give your body through real, whole foods, the better you’ll look and feel. 

Favorite Dish: Paleo Blueberry Banana Bread Muffins 


2 ripe bananas

1 cup canned coconut milk

4 Tbsp maple syrup 

4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 eggs

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla

1-1/2 cups cassava flour

4 scoops collagen peptides

1 tsp baking soda 

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of sea salt 

1 cup fresh blueberries 

Optional: 1/3 cup coconut butter, 1 Tbsp maple syrup 


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 12-count muffin tin with coconut oil.

Mash bananas until smooth. Add all wet ingredients, including eggs, into bowl with mashed bananas and mix until combined. 

In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Slowly combine dry mixture into the wet mixture while stirring until fully combined. Stir in blueberries. Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes.

Optional: melt coconut butter and mix in maple syrup. Drizzle over muffins after they have cooled slightly and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Thehealthnat.com, natalie@thehealthnat.com, 901.488.9657

By Amy Goode & Hailey Thomas