FriendsEat.com is excited to welcome Gena Knox to its family of bloggers during the month of November. Gena joins the team of Antonio Evans, Spence Cooper, and Susan Davis, lending her own special spin on foodie-related topics. We’re looking forward to reading her contributions and becoming inspired by one of the modern gurus of new southern cuisine.
Coming from a long line of strong women that excelled in traditional southern cooking, Gena was classically trained in the fine art of food preparation by her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She strives to pass on her accumulated knowledge and commitment to healthy and delicious regional cuisine through her use of fresh ingredients combined with a touch of innovation.
A native of Reynolds, Georgia (a small town of 1,000 that doesn’t even have a stoplight), Gena’s fondest memories are of the times she spent in the kitchen, cooking with her mother and grandmother. One of her favorite foods is her grandmother’s caramel cake, which she has been trying hard to replicate. Gena’s mom has mastered the complex recipe, and the two have “caramel cake lessons”whenever they are together. (Gena still needs some more lessons before she’s willing to share all the secrets of the luscious-looking cake!)
Somewhat of a Renaissance woman, Gena attended the University of Georgia, where she parlayed her interest in gardening and design into a degree in landscape architecture. During her college career, she continued to share her love of food by hosting dinner parties for her friends, using any excuse to show off her cooking skills. After graduation, Gena started a fresh salsa company and then went to Colorado to pursue a culinary program, but ended up returning to her native Georgia to begin her career as a landscape architect on the Georgia Coast. The big breakthrough that jettisoned her culinary career came after she began developing and selling planks for grilling food. Planks are used extensively by Native Americans, and Gena had become intrigued with the uniqueness and results of plank-grilled food.
It was this development that ignited Gena’s idea to pursue Fire and Flavor, a company she co-founded with her husband Davis Knox. Fire and Flavor supplies cooks with flavorful and easy-to-prepare cooking options, including grilling papers and skewers, gourmet seasoning salt blends and rubs, and brining mixes.
In 2008, Gena took the plunge and penned her first cookbook, Gourmet Made Simple. Her first foray into cookbook publishing takes the challenge out of gourmet cooking for home chefs, with recipes and techniques that help transform the traditionally rich and calorie-laden Southern cuisine into lighter and healthier alternatives, without sacrificing the wonderful flavors. Dishes such as sweet potato fries and roasted butternut squash soup are featured, along with 86 others and full-color photographs.
A rising culinary star, Gena has been featured in regional and national print publications, and as a guest on numerous TV programs. Her company, Fire and Flavor, was cited by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the country.
FriendsEat.com thanks Gena for her willingness to share some of her cooking secrets and ideas with our foodie fans. Welcome to the family!
Want a chance to win one of Fire And Flavor’s Turkey Perfect Kits? Follow Gena on Twitter from today until Thanksgiving day 2009 to be entered. 5 winners will be announced each Wednesday, so stay tuned.
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