Trying to answer the question of others, "What do you do?" I concluded that I simply do not fit any box, so I therefore anointed myself Culinary Adventurist! Many blessings have come my way offering opportunities to travel lots of fun roads in my journey as a Marketing Home Economist and Nekkid Throw Cooker.
I’m a crazy entrepreneur… and still not sure if that is a blessing, or downright curse! Over time, I’ve created a gift basket business when nobody even knew what that was… had a (3 decades) catering business “on the side” of real jobs, that became a wedding and event planning company offering consulting and catering… was a personal chef (the first gal in the Triangle area)… created a professional association to teach others across America (and other countries!) how to create and manage their own personal chef business (along with writing a 15 chapter how-to manual that resides in the Library of Congress copyrighted books)… been spokesperson for some well-respected food companies… managed the kitchen of a medical facility… taught nekkid cooking classes… did many a dinner party for clients… created and managed weddings and events from the corporate world to small farms… and some stuff I’m surely forgetting!
As you see, I can’t do monotony.
Which brings us here to Aunt Dee Dee’s Kitchen! Which is rather ironic I’ve come full circle from my days as a pioneer gift basketeer… to once again, compiling themed goodies in a vessel for gifting (seasonal gift boxes)!
These days, I also offer “Sowcial” media and marketing services, mostly NC food businesses, small farms and small local establishments, communities for which I am particularly fond of, having grown up in an agriculture-rooted family in North Carolina… Franklin and Johnston Counties.
My happiest place is in one of my 3 kitchens creating and testing recipes… for magazines, food companies (both large and small), farms and others. My clients get a package deal with me… as recipe creator who will also prop, style and photograph for them! For 5 years, I was “House Chef” ~ Food/Prop Stylist and Recipe Developer/Tester for Our State Magazine and was sole judge and recipe tester for annual cooking contests. My “Carolina Cakes” created for the magazine, featuring some of NC’s most well-known products, garnered much attention, and my “Country Ham & Maple Pancake Cake” was chosen for the cover of that issue in 2011! In April 2014, my deviled eggs were featured on the cover. For the past 7+ years, I’ve done the same for Carolina Country Magazine as "Contributing Recipe Editor" and also have fun working on special edition extras and love putting pen to paper and writing for them and others over time. Most recently, I've been featured on the cover of their July 2023 issue along with my feature about how to launch a successful food business from a home kitchen.
And oh… you might have seen me and nephew Wyatt a few years back in a few Duke's Mayonnaise commercials too!
Over the years, in addition to those for the magazine, I have judged dozens of cooking contests…. annually at the NC State Fair, for NC Specialty Foods Association's annual "Best Of" and around the state at festivals where I have won a few contests myself, including winning Midstate Mills first ever “Best Southern Biscuit” contest that led me to being a finalist at the International Biscuit Festival.
I'm proud to have been honored by my alma mater, East Carolina University, and chosen as one of “ECU's 100 Incredible Women Alumni” in 2007 and presented the “Legacy of Leadership Award” in 2009. (GO PIRATES!)
I invite you to visit my LinkedIn professional profile for more info on these and other adventures that have been a part of my rewarding culinary career!
And welcome to my kitchen!
~Aunt Dee Dee