Stephanie Donegan has always loved to cook. It began with her grandmother who was an avid gardener and used fresh foods from her garden to whip up the family’s favorite dishes.
“She also was famous for her fried pies that I still make to this day,” Donegan said.
That love for cooking never left Donegan and in college, when short on cash, she started preparing and selling home-cooked meals to help make ends meet. A career was born.
Donegan’s culinary skills have landed her a TV show, In the Kitchen with Queen, which airs on Monday evenings (6:30 p.m.) on ACN in Alabama and GCN in Georgia. She also shares her kitchen know-how on her website InTheKitchenWithQueen.com and through cooking classes.
What makes Donegan stands out from other culinary artists is her focus on using all natural, preservative free and local ingredients.
Tell me about your monthly cooking classes.
I hold monthly cooking classes on Thursday evenings at NeedCo Cabinets in downtown Homewood. Classes start at 6 p.m. and you must register ahead of class. This isn’t cooking class in a traditional sense. It’s an overall elegant experience which ends with a meal and great wine! More information can be found on our website at www.InTheKitchenWithQueen.com
Why do you feel it’s important to only use local ingredients provided by farms in and around the state of Alabama during these classes?
First, purchasing local certainly helps the economy which we need in times such as these. Also, purchasing local means you are getting the freshest, healthiest food. A lot goes on, on the large farms and manufacturing plants and if most people knew the details, they’d run to the local farmer! Also, buying local more than likely means that the foods are not chemically laced or genetically modified.
Any tips or advice for people who want to cook more but hate doing it?
Cooking does not have to be a daunting task or take all day. Take a few favorite ingredients and throw them together. You’d be surprised with the final result. An example would be, if you are a steak lover, grab a NY Strip and have the butcher chop it for you. Season it with salt and pepper, add in colorful bell-peppers and sweet peppers, mushrooms, onions and asparagus along with fresh garlic. Saute over med high heat for about 10 minutes and you have a wonderful beef stir-fry. People make cooking difficult! If you can eat, you should know how to cook!
What do you love most about Birmingham?
It’s a large city with a small community feel. Everyone knows everyone and Birmingham is really a large metropolis! Here you can make anything happen, as long as you truly want it!
Javacia Harris Bowser blogs at GeorgiaMae.com and can be found on Twitter @writeousbabe.