We are excited to share our new Heritage Series to celebrate and share cultures of Black Southern Belle’s across the country. Our first series took us inside the home of BSB founder Michiel Perry during the holiday season. She invited personal chef Gina Willis and owner of “What’s Gina Cooking?” to create dishes that represent her heritage and share how she entertains during the holidays.
Gina cooks lowcountry dishes with a twist and cooked up her Oyster Perloo, an old recipe inspired by her grandma, who was from Daufuskie along with her mouthwatering staple shrimp and grits — choosing dishes that “evoke a lot of wonderful memories from my childhood with my Grandmother and family members,” says Gina
To Gina the meaning of the holidays is “It’s just such a special time to gather with my family and friends. It varies.” Where she celebrates, “Either we are here (Savannah) or in Atlanta. We come together and cook, eat, and have a game night. Her favorite holiday memory “making Gumbo with my Daddy, who was also in the food and hospitality industry.” A Love for cooking runs in the family
When asked about Southern hospitality, Gina said, “When you are from the South, you feed EVERYONE! I can’t think of a time where I have visited someone’s house, and they have not asked if I wanted something to eat. Food culture is how we bond.” To her being a chef in the South means cooking traditional dishes and cooking with lots of butter.
Tips for entertaining – Set a good table – “As my Mama would say. You have to have some marinated shrimp, rum balls, and pimento cheese.”
What is your ideal entertaining scenario?
I would love to rent a beach house with family and friends, and have an oyster roast, and just enjoy the salt air, food and libations.6