Local chef Nicholas St. Clair of Antebellum Restaurant in Flowery Branch developed his love for cooking at a very young age. Some of those beloved dishes from younger years have stayed with him through adulthood. Chef Nick dishes on some fun-sized foods with a handful of kid-friendly recipes that families can prepare and enjoy together.
Nicholas St. Clair
5510 Church St.
Flowery Branch, GA 30542
Nicholas St. Clair – chef and owner of Antebellum restaurant in the highly esteemed northern Atlanta suburb of Flowery Branch – got his first “taste” of the culinary arts as the child of a single mom. While she was busy working two jobs, Nick would help his mom out by cooking dinner for his siblings, and when she had a day off, he recalls happy memories of baking cookies and cinnamon rolls together.
As an adult, Nick went on to graduate with honors from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California. After more than a dozen years in the food service industry, he and his wife Alison opened a restaurant of their very own. A teacher by trade, Alison has invited Nick into the classroom to convey a love of cooking to her students – which is always met with rave reviews.
“Cooking can be so much fun,” insists Nick. “Being a chef is hard work, but it can be very rewarding as well. There is nothing like seeing a restaurant full of happy people. It never hurts to start early, because becoming a good chef requires a lot of training.”
Whether baking cookies, preparing a meal or gathering around the dinner table, chef Nick believes that food really brings families together. If a child dreams of becoming a chef one day, he suggests that parents give them lots of encouragement (and supervision) in the kitchen. He also recommends that they allow their kids to try out new recipes, but be prepared for the heart of the home to get a little messy. Before moving on to the stovetop, Nick advises investing in an electric griddle – like a mini chef’s grill that’s all their own.
Make Mama Proud Pancakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 0.5 teaspoons salt
- 0.5 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 2 cups buttermilk
Spray electric griddle with nonstick pan spray and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Whisk in buttermilk, then eggs, then melted butter. Add pancake batter to desired size. Be sure to pay careful attention and flip once you see bubbles forming on top and a golden brown color around the edges. Once browned on the other side, remove from the griddle and repeat. Make Mama Proud Pancakes can be enjoyed with fresh berries, bananas, syrup and whipped cream.
Cheesy Ham and Egg “Sammiches”
- 2 slices of bread
- 2 slices of cheese (swiss, american, cheddar, etc…)
- 2 ounces deli ham
- 1 egg
- 1 ounce butter
Preheat the electric griddle to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter, then place each slice of bread over the buttered spots. Add one piece of cheese to each piece of bread. Gently warm your ham on the grill as well. When warmed through, place ham on one side of the sandwich. Meanwhile, crack and cook an egg (preferably sunny side up or over-easy to medium). Place your cooked egg on one side of the sandwich and put both sides together on a plate. You could also add lettuce, bacon and/or tomato to this sandwich to make it even better.
Yummy in Your Tummy Tomato Soup
- 1 can of diced regular tomatoes
- 2 ounces minced basil
- 0.5 diced onion
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 0.25 cups cream
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- Splash of white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a pot over medium-low heat and add butter. When melted, add diced onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute before adding tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then turn the temperature down low to simmer. Add cream and simmer for six or seven more minutes. If you want a smooth soup, you could remove it from the heat and blend it. Add basil, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice, plus a little vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. You could eat this by itself, toss in a handful of croutons or add a traditional grilled cheese sandwich on the side (similar to the lunch recipe above with American cheese minus the ham and egg) for a great Southern classic.
Kasie Bolling is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.