All-Star Lake Oconee Chefs Share Their Favorite Comfort Foods

Riezl’s Rave-January 2022

When you’ve had a bad day, or when it is gray and rainy outside, what is it that you crave for?

Comfort foods are nostalgic, evoke good memories and are often associated with positive encounters we had in our chiIdhood. My favorite comfort food is “tocino” thinly-sliced pork cured in salt and sugar paired with garlic rice and fried egg. It is a popular Filipino breakfast meal that I grew up eating. I talked to my friends about their go-to comfort foods and even the most dignified taste buds find it hard to resist the favorite dishes that cue happy memories. 

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Owner-Chef, Cindy Lutini Catering

“ My go-to comfort foods are roast capon, mashed potatoes, gravy and caramelized brussels sprouts. They remind me of family gatherings around the holidays with lots of laughter, snow, warm fire and sledding. Even though we had them during the holidays, I always request for them for my birthdays.”

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Chef Zouhair at home with his children. 

Executive Chef, Reynolds Lake Oconee 

“My favorite comfort food is “Bastilla.” It is Morocco’s famous chicken pie with spicy omelet stuffing, almonds, flavored with orange flower water and layered in a crispy, paper-thin pastry shell.  It is a complex dish that hits all the notes: savory, nutty, sweet, crunchy, and you can enjoy it hot or cold. It is even better the next day. It reminds me of my childhood in Morroco.”

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“GrandBob” with his grand daughter. 

Chef Owner, Café 44

“ Pot roast is my favorite comfort food. My grandfather made the best pot roast ever, it reminds me of him and my childhood. He was a cook in the Navy and taught me at an early age the two most important things about cooking which are seasoning and temperature.”

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Chef Billy with his family. 

Executive Sous Chef, Eighty-8 Kitchen and Cocktails

“ My comfort and go-to dish is stuffed cabbage. My grandmother made them when we were kids and I can still remember the smell of the cabbage cooking.  It is stuffed with veal, beef, pork, onions, eggs and rice, topped with secret family sauce. My grandma always served it with George Washington’s egg nog.”

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The Chef with his wife loves the smell of pan de Torta from El Salvador. 

Chef/Co-owner, The Chef and the Wife 

“ My favorite comfort food is Pan de Torta. It is homemade cheese loaf made during Lent leading up to Easter. In El Salvador, it is eaten any time of the day: breakfast, lunch or dinner. All around town, you could smell the bread baking in homemade brick ovens using wood. It is delicious and has a very different and distinct smell.”

Riezl Baker is owner and founder of Luxury Lake Oconee Real Estate Group.

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Riezl is a veteran realtor with over 20 years of experience representing buyers and sellers in the Lake Oconee area. She is a consummate professional and has received numerous awards for her business accomplishments and community involvement. Riezl launched Luxury Lake Oconee Real Estate Group with husband Ted in January 2020 and she personally finished the year with 56 transactions amounting to over $59 million in total sales.