Last winter, one of my favorite new cookbooks was an imaginative book on Southern cooking called "Basic to Brilliant, Y'All," written by one of the South's most solid talents, Virginia Willis of Georgia.
Virginia's take was to come up with great Southern-inspired recipes and then give a variation to either make it simpler or a little fancier. For instance, one of my favorites is now her version of Mashed Potatoes with Mustard. In the variation, she has you mix the potatoes with eggs and bake it as a casserole. (I ran the recipes for both in my blog last October.)
Now that Whole Foods has finally opened, we have a new spot for visiting cooking teachers, at the store's Salud! Cooking School. Virginia will be one of the first, appearing Wednesday at from 6:30-8:30 in the third-floor restaurant at Whole Foods, 6610 Fairview Road. She'll teach recipes from "Basic to Brilliant."
On Friday, chef Justin Balmes of "The New Food Network Star" also will be at Whole Foods demonstrating a full menu featuring local and regional ingredients. His class is also 6:30-8:30.
Both classes are $55 and are filling up quickly. You do need to register to attend. Go to http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/service/salud-cooking-school-charlotte . You also can find the whole class schedule for the rest of the fall, in case you want to get a jump on things.
As Virginia would say, "Y'all come."