Articles, Profiles, Uncategorized

Athens’ Own: Mimi Maumus of home.made

Originally published on visitathensga.com

Featured in the New York Times food blog and Georgia Organic’s Chef Spotlight, Mimi Maumus calls Athens, GA home. She is the chef and owner of home.made, a southern style restaurant known to locals as one of the best restaurants in Athens. Home.made is well-known for its southern style cuisine, including pepper jelly pecans and Swanee Bites—cheese straws sandwiched with pimento cheese rolled in pecans. Mimi has her roots in New Orleans, which she expertly weaves into her style of southern food offered at home.made.

Meet Mimi

It’s undeniable that Mimi has an eye for food—her creations are unique spins on classic southern-style foods. Growing up in New Orleans, she spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her family cooking up classic southern dishes. Her family’s extensive garden supplied many of their ingredients, including mirlitons, figs, tomatoes, green beans and pecans. Mimi’s grandmother inspired her love of cooking preserves, pickles, and chutneys. Home.made embodies Mimi’s experiences with her family’s southern cooking and staying true to her roots while keeping things made from scratch, “I also cherish old family recipes and try to recreate my food nostalgia from childhood,” she says.

Before home.made

Mimi was able to experiment and develop the unique flavor of home.made while working at independently owned kitchens. After dreaming of opening a restaurant of her own, Mimi decided to convert her own kitchen and spend part of her time as a personal chef and caterer, and part as executive sous chef at Five & Ten under James Beard award-winning chef Hugh Acheson, before deciding to devote her attention completely on developing home.made. What started out as a personal chef business, home.made has expanded to double its size, “The business has really grown organically, literally out of my home, for 10 years so every step has been based on necessity and demand.” Of what’s next for home.made, Mimi says that everything will be “totally up to demand.”

A Unique Taste

The brilliance behind the menu of home.made lies in its creative take on traditional dishes. Mimi uses bold flavors to create the taste so unique to her restaurant, notably her famous pepper jelly. She makes sure to use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Mimi has found innovative ways to incorporate local Athens ingredients into her menu, “As a chef, ingredients and technique are really the two things that I value the most,”. Her Grilled NY Strip, features oil infused with 1000 Faces Coffee. Also notable about home.made’s taste is Mimi’s devotion to her dishes and to her customers, “My style of cooking is very focused on the person eating the food—trying to consider the entirety of their experience,” she says of her approach to cooking.

The New York Times food blog featured one of her especially unique recipes: pickled magnolia petals. When asked about her inspiration for such unusual dishes, Mimi says that she is a curious person, interested in food history and possibilities. As for her magnolia petal inspired dishes specifically, Mimi says “what good southerner doesn’t want magnolia vinaigrette on their roasted peach salad?” Her Mayberry sandwich—a creation of fried chicken, pimento cheese, pepper jelly, bacon, lettuce and remoulade all on a hearty buttermilk biscuit—was named one of 100 dishes locals love by Explore Georgia. Home.made is the perfect stop on any trip to Athens for a taste of the South—with a twist!

See what all the hype is about!

Stop into home.made for lunch or dinner Tuesday through Saturday! On Saturday, Mimi offers a special brunch menu where you can try her mouthwatering buttermilk biscuits topped with ambrosia lemon marmalade. If you have a busy schedule, try her “take away” items to have at home! Home.made also offers some of her most popular snacks online. Mimi made her line of southern snacks available nationally because “California friends kept asking for cheese straws!” Love home.made? Have your next event catered with Mimi’s delectable creations.

Check out our restaurant page for foodie itineraries, events and updates to plan amazing dining experiences while visiting Athens!

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Profiles, Uncategorized

Jonah Driggers

Valerie Cook

 

Standing on the top of the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Jonah Driggers looked around at the incredible glaciers on the mountain side and was distraught to think that he was watching them melt away because of climate change. He realized that his kids might not see the same sights he did, 30 years from now.

This was the moment that inspired Driggers to make a difference in the environment.

Diggers always had some interest in environmental issues. Growing up on Saint Simons Island, he was immersed in an environment that was profoundly affected by climate change. Each year he watched as erosion shifted the landscape of the beaches.

In high school, Driggers was a well-rounded student. He won the superlative “Most involved his senior year.

“He always had a bigger idea of what he wanted to do. I knew that he would do great things, he was highly motivated,” says high school friend, Rachel Kopp.

Now a junior in college, Driggers has continued to keep up the momentum.

Upon graduation, he was awarded the elite Foundation Fellow Scholarship from UGA. Being a fellow has been a gateway to the development of his policy designed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. He participated in the Roosevelt Scholars course, an intensive policy development course designed to help students create policies and analyze policy implementation.

Through the Roosevelt course, Driggers co-authored a policy dealing with mitigating green house gas emissions. Cities typically shy away from mitigating green house gas emissions because it is sometimes controversial and can be complicated.

However, Driggers believes this is a mistake.

“By not acting to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, they make themselves vulnerable to a less competitive work force, higher cost in transition to clean energy, which is going to have to happen inevitably.”

He suggests a revenue neutral carbon tax, designed to reduce demand for a good.

With his policy, gas prices would be more expensive initially, but people would receive a check in the mail at the end of the tax year with the difference. The intention is that people would be more conscious of how much fuel they consume.

“It’s strictly a psychological thing. And you think it wouldn’t work, is the funny thing. You know in the back of your head that you’re getting it back, it doesn’t matter.”

From being published in the Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (JURO) to being featured in TEDxUGA, he has been able to share his ideas for his policy to many.

He was one of nine students chosen to present their ideas during the TEDxUGA event Wednesday. Students are carefully selected for the event based on several qualities.

“We want to know why their idea matters to them and why it should matter to a broader audience. It is important that they are eloquent speakers and can articulate themselves well,” said Grace Ferzely, who helped present TEDxUGA, on some of the reasons they chose Driggers to be featured in the event.

In addition to his work with TEDxUGA, Driggers is heavily involved on campus. He is the center director for energy and the environment at the Roosevelt institute, head gardener for Lunch Box Gardener, and cofounder of the Energy Concept at UGA.

The Energy Concept at UGA is an organization that aims to foster a non-biased discussion of energy issues across campus. Diggers noticed that before this organization, there wasn’t anywhere to engage in energy-related issues on campus.

“We’re trying to build our niche on campus. We want a place where people from various political ideologies can come together to discuss energy issues, it’s very open-minded.”

While the Energy Concept is just now finding its place on campus, Driggers hopes that it continues after his graduation.

After he graduates in May 2017, Driggers plans to attend law school. He is applying to Yale, Harvard, and Columbia. He is most interested in Columbia because they have the only climate law center in the world.

“Everyone tells me to go into corporate law, but I want to do public interest law so that I can really make a difference.”