Farm to Table Chef Profile, Pt. 2
Prior to this important role, Chef Holly served as the Executive Chef at the Governor’s Mansion for six administrations, as well as co-founding Total Home Care with her late husband Don Chute.
We caught up with Chef Holly to find out what inspires her.
Q: First, tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I am originally from New York. I attended the Culinary Institute of America. I was the executive chef at the Governor’s Mansion from 1981-86 then part time from 1996-98. I came back full time in 1999 until 2014. I became the Senior Georgia Grown Executive Chef in 2014. I was married for 25 years before my husband lost his battle with cancer.
Q: What made you decide to pursue being a chef?
A: I always liked to cook and help my mother in the kitchen. I was a French major in college and spent my junior year in France. While there, I took some cooking classes and decided that was what I really wanted to do.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: I have a test kitchen at the Department of Agriculture. I experiment and develop recipes utilizing Georgia Grown products. It could be proteins, vegetables, fruits, prepared sauces, oils, honey etc. I do a lot of demonstrations and consumer education. I provide recipes for the Georgia Grown Facebook page and website. I meet with chefs and farmers to help them work together as well as our Georgia Grown members to help them grow their business.
Q: Do you have any major influences?
A: Obviously, local. I am constantly amazed by the variety of products available in our state. I also love to eat out at restaurants where my friends are chefs and see what they are doing.
Q: What are you into lately, in terms of cooking styles or new techniques?
A: I have been experimenting a lot with my stovetop smoker using meats and fish with different woods and brines. I enjoy curing and preserving as well.
Q: We have to ask, which Governor was the pickiest eater?
A: Every Governor had their own tastes and family favorites. Some were more set in their ways and others gave me free reign. My job was to make the mansion a home and make it as comfortable as possible for the family.
Q: Tell us about a favorite memory where you worked with local, Georgia Grown foods?
A: My favorite annual event was always the Red Carpet Tour. It was done in conjunction with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Department of Economic Development. It was an opportunity to attract businesses to Georgia. I was able to prepare a 5-course dinner featuring all Georgia products.
Follow Chef Holly on Twitter @ChefHollyChute. To learn more her work with the Georgia Grown program visit GeorgiaGrown.com. Like Georgia Grown on Facebook for recipes too! And check our blog page often for upcoming blogs and future installments in our Chef Profile series!