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Donna Covrett


Pecan Mocha Pie with Coffee Cream

This is the pie that launched my career as a pastry chef. It still can be found, in a similar version, on the menu at Mecklenburg Gardens.

Cream Eggs

Got a bunch for brunch? Cream Eggs are scrumptious and easy to make. The classic version pairs mustard with tarragon, but see notes below for some of my other favorite flavor combinations—or create your own.

Pears Poached In Red Wine

This is one of my favorite recipes. It not only makes a gorgeous and light dessert, but also adds elegance and a pop of spicy sweetness to salads and savory dishes. If serving the pears whole as a dessert, there’s an unusual step I learned as a pastry chef to achieve a smooth brilliant surface. Click here to view the step-by-step photo gallery.

Sung Korean Bistro

The menu is flush with the greatest hits of Korean cuisine at Sung Korean Bistro—noodles, stir-fries, soups, stews, and grilled dinners.

Za’atar Hero

Wassim Matar circles his dining room with assured ease and a wide smile. A poised emcee, he graciously extends a smooth manicured hand to meet the diners crowding the tables of his eight-month-old restaurant, throwing back his head in hearty laughter when a customer blithely faults the housemade pita bread for his “food baby” waistline.

Fit to Serve: Joe Leftin

From T.G.I. Friday’s to Teller’s, R.P. McMurphy’s, Honey, LaPoste, and Metropole, the 36 year-old Leftin has crammed a lot into his 16-year career, including a solid grasp on the worlds of wine and beer and a first-level sommelier pin.  

Fit to Serve: Kelly Lough Phillips

My interview with Kelly Lough Phillips began with an e-mail from her husband and business partner Bryant Phillips, who called her “one of the most capable restaurateurs I’ve ever known.” Lough began her service career at Gold Star Chili at the age of 10, and now, at 35, is the Director of Operations for JKBD, the partnership that owns and operates two restaurants, La Poste Eatery in Clifton and Django Western Taco in Northside. Not only did Phillips open two successful restaurants in two years, she did it while pregnant each time, and even survived being struck by lightning during the second. “We like to get pregnant, open a restaurant, and have a baby,” says Lough.

Fit to Serve: Leonardo Cangiano

A native of Italy, a “citizen of the world,” Leo Cangiano delivers his “no table left behind” hospitality at Nicola’s with genuine warmth, an infectious laugh, and a lot of humor. “I do cheesy really well,” he says. The 34 year-old father of two refers to his Highland Heights, Kentucky, home as “Kentuscany.”   

Fit to Serve: Jeannie Murray

A bartender at JeanRo Bistro for six years before settling in behind the bar at Jean-Robert’s Table in 2010, Jeannie is one of the most popular bartenders in the city, a vivacious redhead quick to a laugh and with a heavy pouring hand. As one of six children, she believes growing up in a large family prepared her for the world of restaurant service, giving her an ability to adapt to people easily.

Orchids at Palm Court

When it comes down to sheer wow factor, Orchids is still impossible to outshine.