When people consume at Andrea Foster’s new eating place, she needs them to experience adore it’s Thanksgiving at grandma’s residence.
“One factor I continually inform people is when you eat with us, you’re family,” said Foster. “I have placed little guidelines of affection, own family, and elegance into the restaurant. I need it to sense like a fancy dinner with Grandma.”
This weekend, Foster will debut her already-popular restaurant, the Preserver, in a high spot in Birmingham’s Five Points South. She has been “wowing” crowds along with her satisfactory-dining soul food cuisine because the Preserver opened at Pizitz Food Hall last year. Foster will welcome her guests to enroll in her for dinner on Saturday night or brunch on Sunday at her first brick-and-mortar eating place, the occupying area within the identical Twenties-era building as celebrated eateries Highlands Bar and Grill and Chez Fonfon.
Foster, who serves Southern soul meals with an international aptitude, stated customers will see the dishes they have grown to like in addition to many new ones on the menu. She combines flavors from home and around the sector through dishes like jambalaya fried rice and braised veggies in wontons.
“Food is the tremendous equalizer,” Foster said. “No count what tradition people are from, there’s a ‘feel-right’ dish they love. I continually say they get that ‘slump on’ while they may be eating something good.”
Although she has been cooking for a maximum of her life, Foster is a relative newcomer to the eating place commercial enterprise. She is an alumnus of Create Birmingham’s entrepreneurial competition, the Big Pitch, and the People’s Choice Award winner.
With that fulfillment, she was invited to emerge as a chef in the REV Birmingham culinary incubator, Reveal Kitchen. As part of that software, she opened at the Pizitz remaining February, wherein she has been introducing her one-of-a-type dishes to the town.
“While we had been at Pizitz, the hardest part for me changed into seeking to shove an excellent-dining idea into a casual fast-food stall,” Foster stated. “But even though we had to position our food into plastic to-go packing containers, I wanted to make sure it changed into super, proper-tasting food that looked attractive. I usually knew I wanted a pleasant-eating restaurant. But while the Reveal Kitchen opportunity got here up, I had to take gain of it.”
After eight months on the Pizitz, Foster could step out independently. “The Pizitz became a high-quality area to get out in front of plenty of people daily in preference to introducing my meals at events,” she said.
Foster started her eating place “will pay homage” to her dad and grandmother, the two finest impacts of her chef lifestyle.
Foster grew up in California, the “melting pot” of the nation. She attempted foods from around the sector there, thanks to her dad. He loved cooking dinner, particularly worldwide dishes, and shared that ardor with his daughter.
As a young girl, Foster stated she became her dad’s “cordon bleu.” It became her job to slice, cube, and chop the elements.
“I usually informed my dad that after I retire, we would open an eating place collectively,” said Foster. “Then, he surpassed away with cancer two years in the past. It made me recognize how mortal we are and how life can skip us, so I determined not to attend.”
Foster’s dad introduced her to food from different cultures. But she discovered the artwork of creating the traditional Southern soul foods in her grandmother’s kitchen in Clanton.
Foster said one of her most valuable memories changed into learning to make preserves from her grandmother. It becomes those recollections, in conjunction with the “soul meals historical past” that her grandmother exceeded down to her, that inspired Foster to call her restaurant the Preserver.
“I’ve discovered from everybody around me and the generations that have come earlier than me,” Foster said. “I’m cooking the matters I saw growing up and placing my spin on it.”
Foster said creating precise dishes comes naturally.
“My dad would take us to distinct worldwide restaurants, and he might inform me to wager what changed in the dishes,” Foster stated. “I discovered to understand flavors. It has served me properly because I’m now desirable at setting flavors that people might not think to cross collectively.”