About Us - Who we are
We created Southern Kitchen to share the stories, recipes and heritage of Southern food and culture in today’s South; the South that praises locally-made, rejoices in diversity and revels in finding the perfect balance of traditional and modern. Watch our video to learn more about who we are.
Everything Southern has a story, and many of those stories take place around the kitchen – whether that’s the actual kitchen, the porch kitchen or the backyard kitchen.
Southern Kitchen is focused on delivering the best in Eating, Drinking and Entertaining. We celebrate the chefs who are redefining what it means to “cook Southern.” We drink cocktails made from Southern spirit companies. We help you throw authentic oyster roasts and low country boils. At the hub of it all is our recipe database, a carefully curated and expansive collection of recipes that we are continuously testing, improving and growing (with your help, of course.)
Through inspirational and educational storytelling, we showcase the craftsmen and artisans who share our dedication to authentically beautiful and useful kitchen and home goods.
Whether you’re Southern by birth or by transplant, we invite you to share in our passion for the dishes, drinks, faces, places, parties and gear that make our region unique.
Let’s gather around the kitchen and cook up something special together, Southern-style.
What we do
The heart of the American South is simple and beautiful. Here, the kitchen is sacred. From classic Sunday suppers with all the fixins to locally-made Southern spirits in hand-crafted cocktails, Southern Kitchen believes in celebrating old traditions and creating new ones. How do we do that? We focus on what really makes our home special.
Cast iron cookware is any Southern cook’s most prized possession. Often passed down from generation to generation, a cast iron skillet is a cherished heirloom that represents the South’s favorite foods. We could wax poetic about cast iron for days, and daydream about cornbread, fried chicken and cobbler forever. The recipes, care and techniques for cast iron are seemingly endless, and we’ll hold your hand through it all.
Preservation stemmed from necessity in the South, but now it’s about perfectly creating and perfecting your favorite items, from pickles to jams. We’ll guide you through the seasons and help you perfectly preserve your garden in the most interesting and fun ways.
A knife isn’t just a knife to us. From oyster knives to speciality cutlery, we believe that the preparation of food should be enjoyable and efficient. We have the techniques and the goods to make you a knife-wielding pro.
Craft distillery in the South has arrived, y’all. We couldn’t be happier to share the stories of the companies making spirits, mixers, bitters and syrups in our backyard. Even better? Insider tips and techniques from our favorite Southern bartenders to help you hone your bartending skills. And, of course, we’ve got all the recipes to keep you shaking, stirring, pouring and creating your own cocktail concoctions.
A cornerstone of Southern tradition, outdoor entertaining is a luxury that only us lucky Southerners have the pleasure to enjoy nearly all year round. Tailgates, holidays on the screen porch, patio parties and summer cookouts are mainstays of modern Southern life.
Wrap the South up with a bow. Find chef-inspired curated gift bundles to give your loved ones … or yourself, we won’t tell.
Meet the team (located in Atlanta, GA; backed by a 100+ year old institution)
Derick Jaros, General Manager: Derick Jaros is Southern Kitchen’s general manager. A fanatic about creating a community through a superior audience experience, he earned an MBA at Emory University and worked for years at Home Depot; Derick acknowledges that working with cookware, grilling products and barware beats selling nuts and bolts any day. He’s lived in Atlanta since 2003 with his wife, two kids and “a Carolina dog named Dakota.” He enjoys visits from his mother-in-law, who owns a small brownie company. His favorite recipes are gumbo and the classic old fashioned.
Ashley Twist Cole, Editor-in-Chief: Ashley Twist Cole rarely makes the same recipe twice and loves to experiment in the kitchen. After graduating from UGA, she spent several years working in digital strategy for brands including Chick-fil-A, Nike and Coca-Cola. Prior to joining Southern Kitchen, she was the manager of AccessAtlanta, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s things to do and entertainment brand, where she fell in love with Atlanta’s dining scene. Ashley will travel almost anywhere for a good meal and great cocktail, but her favorite place to be is in her own kitchen with her husband Josh and baby Whittaker, trying new recipes and mixing up cocktails.
Sean Pruett, Chief Merchant: Pruett leads Southern Kitchen’s merchandising team. He has been in the retail industry for over 10 years and was able to combine two of his passions – cooking and retail – when he traded in his orange apron for one with Southern Kitchen’s logo. Born in Florida and raised in Augusta, Ga., he attended UGA and is an avid home cook, using recipes that let him combine great cuts of meat with fresh produce from his home garden in Atlanta. On a fall Saturday you’ll likely find in Athens for football games, and in the Spring he enjoys attending Atlanta festivals, or taking a walk to the local doughnut shop with his wife and daughter.
Jonathan Cone, Chief Technologist: Jonathan Cone is Southern Kitchen's lead technologist. He makes sure the lights are on and the engine is running for the website. Jonathan grew up in North Florida, received his MBA from FSU and moved to Atlanta in 2006. After working at various digital marketing agencies leading the development teams, he settled in at Spanx as the lead developer on Spanx.com and from there on to the Southern Kitchen team. When you catch him cooking it will most likely be outside, on a grill, with a cold beer and baseball (or any sport) on the radio.
Mike Jordan, Associate Editor: Mike Jordan is Southern Kitchen's associate editor. His work has appeared in a variety of publications including The Huntsville Times, American Way, Upscale, Time Out, NewsOne, Fatherly and Thrillist, where he served as the founding Atlanta editor. He lives in East Point, Ga., with his amazing wife and daughter, and loves writing, playing alto saxophone, cooking, craft beer, and cocktails. He is admittedly much better at these things than basketball, so never choose him for your pickup team.
Kate Williams, Associate Editor: Kate Williams is an associate editor at Southern Kitchen. She just moved back home to Atlanta after spending several years pretending to be a Californian. Kate has been working in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. She has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.
Lindsay Hammond, Digital Audience Development Specialist: Lindsay Hammond is the Digital Audience Development Specialist at Southern Kitchen. She is the czar of all things content distribution with a background in digital marketing and analytics. A native of the Empire of the South itself, proud former Georgia Bulldog and American University alumna she returned to Atlanta after exploring her education, career and food scenes in Washington, DC and New York City, NY with a fresh perspective on life and dining.
Chef Jeffrey Gardner, Recipe Editor: Chef Jeffrey Gardner is a native of Natchez, Miss., and a graduate of Millsaps College and Johnson & Wales University. He lives in Atlanta and has served as sous chef for popular restaurants South City Kitchen Midtown and Alma Cocina. In 2013 he became executive chef for East Cobb restaurant Common Quarter and was named one of ten “Next Generation of Chefs to Watch” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. He has appeared on TV shows including Food Network’s Chopped and Cooking Channel’s How to Live to 100, and also filmed a series of healthy cooking videos with retired pro wrestler and fitness guru Diamond Dallas Page. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling the world with his wife Wendy, watching game shows and “spending all his money on Bruce Springsteen concerts.
Ranji McMillan, Merchandising Coordinator: Although her family’s roots are nestled in Valdosta, Georgia, Ranji was raised in California’s Bay Area. When it comes to cooking, she loves to do international riffs on Southern standards. She is a lover of all things Jack Daniels, but her favorite drink is an Old Fashioned made with Grand Marnier. She spent 14 years working as a Merchandise Coordinator at the biggest creative marketing and photography agencies of Atlanta and became very familiar with just about every kitchen item and houseware brand there is (including All-Clad, Le Creuset, Wolf Gourmet, Tovolo, Breville and Kate Spade). Ranji is also an artist and crafter herself, having spent her entire life painting, sculpting, making soaps, jewelry and everything in between. Crafting and creating is her world and she has a personal love and respect for every crafter on the Southern Kitchen site. In her spare time, she still does photography. Her favorite place is under the hood of a car working on an engine with 90’s R&B blaring in the background.
Josh Conner, Online Buyer: Southern Kitchen's online buyer Josh Conner attended Georgia Southern University and Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts. He’s worked in the kitchens of Atlanta restaurants Pano's & Paul's, La Tavola Trattoria and The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, as well as Louie’s Backyard in Key West Fla. He lives in Smyrna, Ga., with his lovely wife Kelly and two children Beckett and Kennedy, and spends spare time searching for the perfect bourbon, losing his voice at Falcons games, and refining the art of “porch time.”
Other Team Members (Now and Historical)
We appreciate all the past / current contributions from our Intern and Part-Time staff, such as: Susan Puckett, Abby Schneider, CJ Walker, Lauren Booker, Elisabeth Schrock, Connor Corcoran, Daryl Mitchell, Kate Moyhnahan, Amanda Pharis, Minal Sethi, Tarana Mayes, and our everything agency FortyFour (also based out of Atlanta).
Our contributors are our family; they bring their love for Southern culture to life on our site. We have invested in Southern writers, photographers and tastemakers that deliver pure and reliable recipes and stories. They each bring a depth of expertise and a love for their subject matter that shines through in their work. We hope you’ll get to know them here, and come back for their stories.
Brook Bolen Jeffrey Gardner Lesli Peterson
Lauren Booker Graydon Gordian Kara Pound
Malika Bowling Beca Grimm Beejoli Shah
Chadwick Boyd Steven Grubbs Sam Slaughter
Wendell Brock Danielle Harling Elizabeth Spruiell
Anne Byrn Jacinta Howard Jeff Stockton
C.W. Cameron Jennifer Justus Tom Thornton
Gray Chapman Jared Keller Helen Anne Travis
Shaun Chavis Catie Leary Matthew Tynan
Winona Dimeo-Ediger Beth McKibben Muriel Vega
Teresa Finney Dacey Orr Virginia Willis