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Whitney Otawka Podcasts

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8 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Whitney Otawka. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Whitney Otawka, often where they are interviewed.

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8 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Whitney Otawka. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Whitney Otawka, often where they are interviewed.

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Whitney Otawka at Charleston Wine + Food 2020

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Harry Rosenblum, host of Feast Yr Ears sat down with Whitney Otawka of the Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island Georgia, and author of The Saltwater Table: Recipes from the Coastal South. They explored Otawka’s journey, from appearing on Top Chef to collaborating with Linton Hopkins, Dan Barber, Thomas Keller and others. With a baby on the way, Otawka also shared how her perspective and challenges as a chef have changed since becoming pregnant and the sensory disruptions she’s faced in the kitchen. 

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Mar 10 2020 · 26mins
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Whitney Otawka - The Saltwater Table

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Welcome to Episode Two of The Georgia Foodcast.

For this episode, we’re joined by Whitney Otawka — Chef of The Greyfield Inn and Author of The Saltwater Table. Whitney is a celebrated chef who has worked for many well-known chefs here in Atlanta and continues her work on one of the most remote places in all of Georgia — Cumberland Island.

Please join us in welcoming Whitney to the show.

Nov 25 2019 · 38mins

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Episode 97: Whitney Otawka; Laura & Sayat Ozyilmaz

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Whitney Otawka, whom some listeners might remember from her stint on Top Chef, just released a new cookbook, The Saltwater Table, based on her exploration and interpretation of the terroir of Georgia's Cumberland Island. It's a fascinating read, and Whitney's story--she grew up as a wannabe archeologist in Southern California, discovered cooking in a first job in a two-person kitchen in Berkeley, and flowered as a chef after moving to Athens, Georgia--is compelling, to say the least.

In our second interview, Andrew visits with husband-and-wife chef-restaurateurs Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz of San Francisco's hit restaurant Noosh. They share the story of how they met and how their stories and sensibilities--one's a lifelong cook, the other a career-changer--complement one another, and how Noosh came to be.

Visit the official Andrew Talks to Chefs website to explore past episodes, join our mailing list, leave a voicemail or comment, and keep up with Andrew's blog.

Here's a thought: If you like what you hear, please tell your chef-fascinated friends, subscribe to Andrew Talks to Chefs (it's free) on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher, follow us on your favorite social media platforms @ChefPodcast, and/or rate or review us on Apple's Podcast store. Thanks for listening!

Nov 06 2019 · 2hr 10mins
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The Saltwater Table | Whitney Otawka

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The Saltwater Table: Recipes from the Coastal South

By Whitney Otawka

Intro:                  Welcome to the #1 cookbook podcast Cookery By The Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table talking to cookbook authors.

Whitney Otawka:                  My name is Whitney Otawka and my most recent cookbook is The Saltwater Table, Recipes from the Coastal South.

Suzy Chase:                  There's nothing I love more than a cookbook that inspires me to visit a destination, and this is one of those cookbooks. I am dying to hear about the story of Cumberland Island, Georgia and why you up and moved there in 2005.

Whitney Otawka:                  Okay, so I didn't move to Cumberland in 2005, I actually moved... Well, I moved to Georgia in 2005, and so I actually moved to Georgia with an ex-boyfriend. I was living in California, and when I got to Georgia, it was sort of love at first sight with the food. I instantly fell in love with the culture of food, the history of the food here, and sort of part of my natural exploration of place beyond cuisine was also visiting... This is how I get to know a place. Anyways, I was visiting a lot of the state parks. I came across Cumberland Island, actually on a PBS series on the national seashore here. I was living in Athens, Georgia at the time. I was so curious about it, so I traveled to the island, stayed a night at Greyfield Inn and just fell in love with it.

Whitney Otawka:                  It's very remote, very removed, very unique. As my culinary career evolved in Georgia, I kept going back to this island, this place that mesmerized me early on in my discoveries in the South. At the point in which I was ready to become an executive chef, I just couldn't get this place out of my mind, so I wrote the owners a letter. I really saw this place as a unique culinary destination. I saw something that could be built here. I wrote them a letter and I came down. I cooked a dinner and they hired me as their executive chef.

Suzy Chase:                  Oh my gosh. So you moved to Georgia in '05, when did you move to Cumberland Island?

Whitney Otawka:                  So the first time I moved here was in 2010.

Suzy Chase:                  Oh.

Whitney Otawka:                  Yeah.

Suzy Chase:                  Interesting, oh my gosh. When you got there, what was the thing that you did, or saw, or ate, that made you think this is my spot?

Whitney Otawka:                  I talk about... Well, first of all, it was the nature. This island is... There's something sort of mysterious and also balancing about it all. If you work in professional kitchens, that you don't have windows. You don't know what time it is during the day unless you look at your watch. There's no natural light. Oftentimes, you're working 15 hours. You're not stepping outside. You're not in touch with the things that you're cooking. So here is this really unique opportunity to be around the things that you're cooking, and to be inspired by the place.

Whitney Otawka:                  There's a window in the kitchen, however small it may be. When we grill, when we cook over wood, we step outside to do that. If we want shrimp, it's coming out of the intercostal waterway, which is literally 25 paces from my kitchen door. I mean this place is an incredibly dreamy place to create food. That will always inspire my approach to creating a menu. There's just endless sort of opportunity to be creative and have access to your ingredients.

Suzy Chase:                  Now do you see wild pigs and horses?

Whitney Otawka:                  Yeah, so there's wild horses all over. The herds stay in different parts of the island. We a very specific herd on this property, and there's a ton of them right now, and tons of babies. The pigs are very skittish. Oftentimes, I'll most likely see a pig when I'm jogging, especially away from the main properties. They tend to stay away. It's very rare that you see one on the Greyfield property. I've seen maybe one mama with maybe a couple of little piglets on her side.

Suzy Chase:                  In your opinion, what are the most iconic southern meals? No pressure.

Whitney Otawka:                  Well, I mean for my region it's a lot of the low country, right? My book touches on two areas that I combined into the idea of the tropical south. Most people think of the low country, right, as being the dominant flavor profile of the Carolinas and Georgia. We have dishes like shrimp and grits, which are incredibly, incredibly iconic. I do a spin on my book on fish and grits, which I think is equally iconic and maybe not as known, but I do a play where it's shrimp and fish and rice grits. You have pello's. You have Hoppin' John, which is a rice and a pea mixture. You have ingredients like okra. I mean, gosh, tomato sandwiches, those are so very southern. There's just a million iconic dishes I can think of off the top of my head that fall in southern food.

Suzy Chase:                  What exactly is The Saltwater Table?

Whitney Otawka:                  One thing that I noticed pretty early on is how salt infuses into everything when you live on the coast. It's heavy in the air. When you sweat, it comes out in your skin. It's sort of part of the food. The saltwater is where we get our fish, our seafood. That is sort of what the saltwater table is. It's that infusion of the environment and what it brings and how it influences the way we cook.

Suzy Chase:                  "Early spring 2015, I found myself staring out at the vast Atlantic ocean. I had waded out into the choppy current to collect seawater. I wanted to make salt." You wrote in the introduction. Talk to me about that moment.

Whitney Otawka:                  Sure. I mean, I really like that story of coming back here, so I worked here, like I said, in 2010. I came back. I left after I did Top Chef and I came back in 2015. Let's see, they closed two restaurants and coming here, and I was a bit of a wounded animal, I would say. As much as I didn't want to talk about it or feel that, out of my own control had lost two restaurants. I came back to this place that I'd always been in love within the first place. I'd taken over as chef and I wanted to do something fresh. I wanted to approach this island with a different perspective. And so I took on this project of making sea salt. I talk about in that introduction about how incredibly therapeutic it was because it was this crazy process.

Whitney Otawka:                  When you read about a project like making saltwater or salt, you're like, oh, I can do that. But the realities of the situation, first of all, there's not a lot of cars on this Island, so lugging saltwater over sand dunes, getting gallons and gallons of saltwater back to a place to even be safe to dry, is its own crazy challenge. It was this process of distilling the saltwater, cleaning it, laying it out to dehydrate. It took weeks and weeks and there was times when, rain would blow in because I didn't have it protected well, and it would get washed out or all the sand gnats around here with land in it. It was this process of renewal for me. Taking on and being able to create something again, it was sort of therapeutic, so it was very important.

Suzy Chase:                  You said in the book, "What truly great adventure goes as planned?" Isn't that the truth?

Whitney Otawka:                  I mean I just spent a whole summer traveling and my favorite moments are the times when everything goes wrong. Not in the moment, but afterward, they make the best stories.

Suzy Chase:                  I find with most of these southern cookbooks, the authors are from the south and you grew up in the Mojave desert. What sorts of foods did you grow up eating?

Whitney Otawka:                  The Mojave desert was literally a food desert. It was not a place where there was visible locality. I didn't grow up near anything that was farmed. I didn't see agriculture, which is maybe one of the reasons I fell in love so very quickly with southern cuisine. My family didn't have a lot of money, but my mother was a good cook and my mother took on cooking from scratch for us. She would make bread. I grew up loving packaged hollandaise on my broccoli.

Suzy Chase:                  Didn't we all.

Whitney Otawka:                  She cared enough to put a lot of effort into that. The one thing, there wasn't amazing restaurants around us. There was no fine dining. I thought Olive Garden was the greatest thing ever. But there was from scratch Mexican cooking around us and that's one of the things that really I loved to eat. It influenced how I thought about food. You could get freshly made tortillas in the desert. You could get homemade salsa. I tasted mole at a very young age growing up in the Southern California Mojave Desert, which was really intense for me. But to be able to be exposed to from-scratch cooking of such quality was really important and shaped my palette, I think early on.

Suzy Chase:                  You're the first chef I've met that tells a story of being taken by surprise that you were becoming a chef. Talk a little bit about that.

Whitney Otawka:                  Yeah, I mean so I originally was going to be an archeologist. I had decided that pretty early on in my childhood that I wanted to be an archeologist. I wanted to go to Berkeley for my undergrad. I wanted to go to Brown. Egyptology was what I was most interested in. I also was in love with the French culture. I think a lot of young women, especially a woman like me that grew up in a very isolated environment, the idea of living in Paris and France, I just was obsessed over it. At Berkeley, I was taking some French classes. I wandered in and found a flyer for a little French restaurant and that's how I made my way into restaurants.

Whitney Otawka:                  It wasn't intentional. I didn't intend to go work in that restaurant and work in a kitchen. They put me in the kitchen because they didn't think I had any front of house experience, but I was really good at it. From the beginning. I was really good at it. I loved taking care of ingredients. I loved thinking forward as in like anticipating the needs of what Eric Laroy, who was the owner, and he wouldn't have called himself a chef, but very much was a chef. I loved anticipating the needs of when an order was called, what he needed, being ahead of it. I would do everything from prepping the food to washing the dishes, to being the barista, to dropping the check to clearing the table.

Whitney Otawka:                  I was sort of like, I did everything in that restaurant and I loved being active in that way. I loved running around. I loved sitting down to talk about food at the end of the night. I got sucked into restaurants and I kept denying that this is what I was going to do. I kept denying it until I think I was 26 when I finally admitted it to myself. It was the move to the south when I finally sort of realized that I was all along the way, was discovering food through the lens of this love of history, and anthropology, and archeology, but it was sort of morphing me into becoming a chef.

Suzy Chase:                  Speaking of archeology, buried in Cumberland Island soil, are relics of at least 4,000 years of human history. What's the most interesting thing you've dug up?

Whitney Otawka:                  So we, and when I say we, it's my husband, Ben and I. We have found two Spanish coins. Those are some of our treasures that we love, that we've personally found, but there's really amazing treasure hunters is what I call them, but they're family members. They've grown up on this island and they know where to look. Gogo Ferguson in particular, she's an amazing jewelry designer, and she goes out, and she finds amazing pottery shards from the Timucua Indians that lived here. She has found dinosaur bones, like a wooly mammoth molar.

Suzy Chase:                  That's so cool.

Whitney Otawka:                  Yeah and megalodon teeth, like extinct giant sharks. I'm in awe every time I see these amazing because I don't have the eye. My husband has a better eye than I do. You know, the people that can walk and be like, "Look at that." I'm like, "Rock, rock." I literally was standing on an arrowhead one time and somebody else was like, "What's under your foot?"

Suzy Chase:                  Your culinary exploration of the south was combined with love and friendship. Talk a little bit about Ben.

Whitney Otawka:                  Ben and I met working at Five & Ten under Hugh Acheson in Athens, Georgia. We started working together. He started actually a month after I did. He had worked at Blackberry Farm. He came in, and he actually moved to pastry. I was a day prep person because I was going to culinary school at night. In the kitchen during the day time, it would literally just be the two of us or maybe one other prep cook in there. He grew up in the south. He grew up in a small town, Washington, Georgia, in a much more... He was younger than me too. He had a much more traditional southern family. Their family had been in the same town since maybe the 1820s, so he had this very traditional upbringing.

Whitney Otawka:                  I was from California, and a little more wild, and I had gone to Berkeley, but we just instantly became best friends. It was just, I don't know. I can't put words into it, but we were best friends immediately. We had this great year and a half of building an amazing friendship and then we along the way were falling in love. We've been working together, gosh, what? 13 years now in the same kitchen. We've lived most of our relationship on a deserted island, where we only have each other's company, but he taught me a lot about southern cuisine. You can learn a lot in a restaurant, but I think you learn so much more in the home from the people's traditions. The way that they eat. The way they celebrate. The way they mourn. The food that they serve on these occasions. I think those things have really crept into the soul of how I understand southern food. It's that gathering point around the table, the conventionality of it all.

Suzy Chase:                  I went to a Hugh Acheson dinner the other night here in New York City. It's like you, he's from Canada, but he sort of embraced the south.

Whitney Otawka:                  Yeah. He was an interesting mentor to have. He's very intelligent, very witty, very dry.

Suzy Chase:                  Yeah. He was fun to listen to.

Whitney Otawka:                  Yeah, he was always fun to listen to in the kitchen for sure. I mean it was a very close-knit team those early days at Five & Ten because he was still in the kitchen. It was before he'd gained fame. It was a great place to grow as a cook, honestly.

Suzy Chase:                  Tell us the story of Greyfield Inn, which is the only commercial establishment on Cumberland Island and it has such a rich history.

Whitney Otawka:                  It was in the 1880s that Andrew Carnegie's brother Thomas Carnegie and his wife Lucy Carnegie, first visited Cumberland Island. The Golden Isles became this interesting location for these northern industrial tycoons to come down and get away from the cold northern winters. Cumberland sort of struck Lucy's fancy. It was Lucy that really fell in love with Cumberland. They bought, I think it was like 80 or 90% of the Island. On this original hunting lodge, they built Dungeness. So Dungeness was the first house that's located on the north end of the Island. Lucy, being a very Victorian aged woman, wanted to have her children as close to her as possible.

Whitney Otawka:                  So, for her married children, she built each of them a home on Cumberland Island. One of those houses being Greyfield. It was originally Grazefield. So Greyfield became the house she built for her daughter Margaret, who became Margaret Ricketson in marriage. It was passed down through their family. In the 60s, there came a point when a lot of these beautiful old homes that were so large and so hard for the families to keep up, were sort of run down. It was the family that convinced Lucy Ferguson in the 60s to turn it into an inn. I want to say it was 1965 that they decided to make Greyfield an inn. It started really small. I think they only had four rooms. It was all of Lucy's grandchildren who sort of took the charge and it's evolved over that time.

Whitney Otawka:                  I mean it's been open for a good number of years now. It's really changed with the times. Yeah, that's Grayfields history, but there's some of the old houses still, as well, that are located here. Plum Orchard is now in the park system. Dungeness unfortunately, is in ruins now. It's The Dungeness Ruins. It was... This is an interesting story. Supposedly, in the 50s, there was a caretaker who had shot at someone that was poaching and hunting near the house. Supposedly, that man came back and set the house on fire.

Suzy Chase:                  Oh my gosh.

Whitney Otawka:                  The person was never caught, but the person is still in Fernandina, and alive, and brags that they were the one that set the house on fire. The Dungeness is in ruins. There was a house near there called The Grange. I believe it was also part of the original five houses. Yeah, it's amazing. I mean you drive along this dirt road on this nearly deserted island and you come across these 100-year-old mansion. They're just so striking and a bit spooky in their own way too.

Suzy Chase:                  The only local produce you have access to is Grayfields two acre garden. What grows in your garden?

Whitney Otawka:                  Oh man. We grow a lot of beautiful produce. Right now we're in between seasons because it's so hot in the months of August and September that we hardly could grow anything. We still have a little bit of okra coming in. We oddly get to bring back a little bit of summer produce when the intense heat settles down. We're looking for a second crop of tomatoes and cucumbers to come in right now. Leafy greens. We can grow everything from broccoli to cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, sweet potato greens. We had some beautiful sweet potatoes come out this summer. We have [inaudible 00:19:37] carrots, high curry turnips, beautiful fairytale eggplant, arugula, little gem lettuces. I mean it's absolutely stunning what we can grow in this amazing garden.

Whitney Otawka:                  That credit really goes to the different teams that have come through and farmed. It's usually a couple, sort of like Ben and myself. I think couples do well in this isolated environment, but they're out there every day like we are in the kitchen. It's great too because we can go out there and be picky about things. Like, "Oh this is perfect the way it is now." We see it a different way sometimes then a farmer does. It's being involved and being able to walk out into the garden and know that it's being produced specifically for your kitchen. It allows you the opportunity to really choose when it should be harvested.

Suzy Chase:                  Like a lot of cookbooks, you break up the chapters by season but your seasons are different. Can you tell us about those?

Whitney Otawka:                  Sure. Yeah. It was an interesting process. It was funny. It was literally the first thing I thought of. It's based on the ecology of this island. It's based on the most prolific feeling of each season. The first chapter is Oyster Season. We have wild oysters that grow here on the island. We do oyster roast in the wintertime. It's the cold water. The water doesn't get super cold here, but the coldest waters produce really delicious oysters, as far as their briny and wild. The second season is vegetable season. That's a really great time for us for growing in the garden. It's that early spring to late spring, where we have so many amazing crops that run together. We still have tender [inaudible 00:21:19] carrots running into the first harvest of cherry tomatoes. It's pretty amazing the combinations we can get, so that's the second chapter.

Whitney Otawka:                  The third chapter is Shrimp Season and shrimp is, I mean if you've been to the coastal south, shrimp is king, especially on the Georgia coast. It's a main part of the economy here. We still have shrimp festivals, we have the Blessing of the Fleets. It's one of the things that you can find easily that's caught locally. I mean everywhere you drive, there's a guy that's selling shrimp on the side of the road. And then there's heat, which is if you've ever been to the south in summer, you know what I'm talking about. It's this heavy blanket of humidity that drapes over everything. The sun is so saturated. The light is so bright. It dominates how you cook, how you feel. You have to take breaks in the afternoon. It's just really intense. And then we celebrate the breaking of the heat with smoke and cedar and that's when you can go back outside. That's the idea of preservation. That's when you're building fires again and sort of celebrating the years. That is the seasons.

Suzy Chase:                  On Sunday night, I made your recipe for Low Country Boil on page 176. Can you describe this recipe?

Whitney Otawka:                  Oh sure, yeah. I mean low country boils are so very popular in this region. I really think in the coastal south, everywhere from Louisiana to North Carolina, there's a version of a low country boil. For us here, like I said, shrimp is the king of our low country boils. We throw in shrimp. We throw in corn. We throw in potatoes. It's just this one-pot meal. I think it's pretty easy. Did you find it pretty easy to make?

Suzy Chase:                  Yeah. What was interesting was I thought that the orange and then the tomato juice were surprising ingredients. Are they normally in low country boils? I'd never made one before.

Whitney Otawka:                  I grew up making Frogmore Stew, which is a low country boil when I worked for Hugh Acheson and we always had tomato broth in ours, which I loved that flavor. And then the orange is for us here. We have a lot of citrus trees that grow on the island, so it was natural for me to reach for an orange as opposed to a lemon, which would be the obvious go-to. I love that addition of the orange to it. It was just that Cumberland Island feeling that I brought forth in the book. One last thing about that is that I love that you just throw it down and you eat it with your hands. There's not the pomp and circumstance of needing a knife and a fork.

Whitney Otawka:                  I think the joy and I try to express this in a book a lot. There's something about eating with your hands that I just love. I love that feeling. Washed hands, I think I say in there, but I love that. It's just there's this casual nature. People instantly relax when they're eating with their hands, as opposed to at a table, with a white tablecloth, perfectly set with silverware. It just creates a different atmosphere. That's one of those meals that really creates a cultural memory and sort of gives you a sense of real people.

Suzy Chase:                  Now to my segment called, My Favorite Cookbook. Aside from this cookbook, what is your all-time favorite cookbook and why?

Whitney Otawka:                  I'm madly in love with the Hartwood Cookbook. It is one of those books that takes you to a destination and I just love everything about it. The storytelling, the writing, the food, the photography. It's so rich and so lovely. I call it sort of my little guidebook. I would keep it around when I was working on my book. I know the books are very different, but it was such an inspiration for me. Even the story Eric Werner and his wife. The story of going away and running away from New York to Mexico and to Tulum to open this project, I just love it. I love everything about that story. I love adventure and the food is beautiful, and the culture of the food there is incredibly impressive. Yeah, that's got to be one of my favorites.

Suzy Chase:                  Where can we find you on the web and social media?

Whitney Otawka:                  I mean, everything's my name spelled out. I'm on Instagram. I'm on Facebook. I have a website, which is just whitneyotawka.com and I have a lot more recipes that I put on there. I have great intentions to do so many things, listing more of our travels. I do travel frequently. A lot of people ask me where to eat when I travel, so I'm trying to get those posted online as well. So, whitneyotawka.com.

Suzy Chase:                  Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your life and for chatting with me on Cookery by the Book Podcast.

Whitney Otawka:                  It was my pleasure. Thank you so much.

Outro:                  Subscribe over on cookerybythebook.com and thanks for listening to the #1 cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

Nov 04 2019 ·
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Episode 90: Whitney Otawka

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While taking French classes at the University of California-Berkeley, Whitney Otawka responded to an ad for a waitress position at a local French creperie. Although she didn’t get the waitress job, she was hired into the two-person kitchen and her culinary career began. Raised in the mojave desert in Hespiria California her family struggled financially and she dreamed of becoming an egyptologist. Over time in Oakland and San Diego she began to actively pursue and culinary career. She’s worked both coasts from California to Georgia. Along the way she’s worked for chefs such as Hugh Acheson and Linton Hopkins and staged at Per Se and Le Bernardin. She appeared on Season 9 of Top Chef and just released her first cookbook The Saltwater Table: Recipes from the Coastal South.

Join Heritage Radio Network on Monday, November 11th, for a raucous feast to toast a decade of food radio. Our tenth anniversary bacchanal is a rare gathering of your favorite chefs, mixologists, storytellers, thought leaders, and culinary masterminds. We’ll salute the inductees of the newly minted HRN Hall of Fame, who embody our mission to further equity, sustainability, and deliciousness. Explore the beautiful Palm House and Yellow Magnolia Café, taste and imbibe to your heart’s content, and bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences and tasty gifts for any budget at our silent auction. Tickets available now at heritageradionetwork.org/gala.

Photo Courtesy of Whitney Otawka 

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Oct 23 2019 · 58mins
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Episode 31: Whitney Otawka, The Greyfield Inn (Cumberland Island, GA)

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A short ferry ride from Fernandina Beach, Fla. takes you to the shores of Cumberland Island, Ga., just over the state line. This island’s wild, untamed shoreline is broken up only by the dock, and once on land, you wander into a maritime forest of live oaks dripping Spanish moss, palm fronds, wild horses in the clearing in the distance, and deep sandy roads your only direction in. This is the magical setting of The Greyfield Inn, once a retreat for the Carnegie family and now an intimate inn where Executive Chef Whitney Otawka is once again at the helm, back from a stint on the mainland with Hugh Acheson projects, Top Chef Season 9 fame, and the Cochon 555 tour. She is focused, driven, and yet drawn to this place where the rhythm of the days are far different from that of the bright lights and big city. Still, she knows this is a season and not a sentence, and as a chef proves she is always thinking about the next dish, the next day.

Sep 02 2016 · 25mins
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Episode 128: Chef Whitney Otawka

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This week on Sharp & Hot, Chef Emily is joined via phone by Chef Whitney Otawka of the Greyfield Inn on Georgia's Cumberland Island.

Whitney's entrance into the culinary world began in a French creperie in Oakland, California in 2000. She moved to Athens Georgia in 2005, where she quickly worked her way up to Sous Chef of 5&10 under Chef Hugh Acheson. For part of her tenure, she simultaneously worked as Chef de Partie of Linton Hopkins’ Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta, and also took time out to hold numerous stages in some of New York’s finest restaurants, including Per Se, Le Bernardin, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. In 2010 she moved on to a unique opportunity in coastal Georgia at the prestigious Greyfield Inn of Cumberland Island, where she served as Executive Chef and began to gain national recognition, earning a spot as a contestant on season 9 of Bravo's Top Chef.

Spring on the barrier islands of Georgia & North Florida is one of the most prolific times of the year. Radish, kale, cabbage, leeks, and snap peas of early spring begin to push into baby squash and the first round of tomatoes. Menus overflow with endless combinations and possibility. As a home cook, when the weather is this good, I prefer to cook outside, over an open fire. This recipe would make a great light lunch or a perfect side for dinner. The acidic marinade on the squash would be it a perfect pairing for a marbled steak or some lovely buratta.

Squash Escabeche

Yields 4-6 servings

1½ pounds squash, preferable baby

¼ cup evoo

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup escabeche marinade

1 cup arugula

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons marcona almonds

Wash and cut the squash into various shapes. Set aside and build a fire in a grill. While the coals are burning down make escabeche marinade (see recipe below). When the grill is ready, toss the squash in the olive oil and kosher salt. Place the squash in a single layer on the grill. The grill should be at a medium- high heat with a low flame. You are looking to mark the squash, about 4 minuets on each side. Remove from heat. When ready to serve toss the squash in ½ cup of escabeche marinade, lightly torn arugula, cilantro leaves, and marcona almonds. Garnish with a sprinkle of sea salt. This dish is excellent served hot, room temperature, or cold. Enjoy!

Escabeche Marinade

Yields ½ cup

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon lime juice

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

pinch of ground black pepper

pinch of smoked Spanish paprika

1 Tablespoon minced white spring onion

2 teaspoon minced and deseeded jalapeno

¼ teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoon minced cilantro

2 teaspoon minced parsley

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Allow mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes before using.

May 17 2016 · 31mins
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Ladycast ep 16: It's never too late to start pursuing your passions (With Chef Whitney Otawka)

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"When I find cuisines that are really rooted in the past, I have a strong bond with them pretty quickly. "

This week's guest is chef Whitney Otawka!

After getting a degree in archaeology, Whitney decided to go to culinary school at age 26. Ten years later, she’s a rising star in the food world: She’s worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, she was a contestant on Top Chef, she’s seen businesses start and fail, and she’s hungry for more.

This episode is for anyone who loves food, but it’s also for anyone with a passion not yet realized. My biggest lesson here is that it’s never too late to start becoming the person you’re meant to be.

Whitney's blog: http://www.whitneyotawka.com/
Whitney on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/whitneyotawka/


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Apr 18 2016 · 50mins