A Southern-Focused Concept with Purpose
Chicago restaurateur Kristen Harper uses her grandmother's legacy, recipes as inspiration for her two wildly successful eateries.
It’s been awhile since I’ve last written here, but I promise you it’s for a good reason. Not only have I been working on a new book project (!!!), but I’ve also been writing for the likes of Crain’s Chicago Business, Time Out Global, and Chicago Magazine. Equally important is that I’ve been honing my interviewing skills through my food and fashion-focused podcast, Feasts and Fashion. That’s been a lot of fun, so when you have time, catch up on past episodes when you can.
In the meantime, I recently caught up with Kristen Harper, the owner of Chicago-based Cleo’s Southern Cuisine, on Instagram Live. She joined mixologist Lynn House and me on the weekly LIVE! Culinary Series to tell us her story, which is just so darn inspiring!
Harper keeps the legacy of her Grandmother Cleo alive by not only naming her two restaurants in her honor, but she also uses her grandmother’s recipes as the foundation of her menu. During our conversation, Harper talks about how her grandmother willed her the massive, handwritten recipe book she created in the 1940s. These recipes influenced some of Cleo’s most popular dishes, including the collard greens and fried chicken.
Check out the interview in its entirety right here.