The Chef: Ronda Sherwood of Town and Country Restaurant
The Chefs column highlights local culinary masters. The chefs share a recipe that has a lot of meaning to them and thankfully, how to make it. (Well, at least most of it, sometimes secrets must remain that.)
This month’s chef is Ronda Sherwood.
I was a manager for Waffle House, where I worked for 15 years. Due to an injury, I left Waffle House and went to Cracker Barrel as a manager.
Over the years, I became acquainted with Ricos and Debbie Kavadas, who were the previous owners of Town and Country restaurant. When they decided to retire, they sold the business to an interim owner who was not able to keep the business successful. They still own the building.
One day they came into Cracker Barrel while I was working and Rico said when he saw me, a lightbulb went off. They asked me if I was interested in owning a little restaurant. My heart fell to my feet!
We were able to come to an agreement and in May 2009, I became a restaurant owner! I spent my career as a restaurant manager with a great love of cooking and people. Now I had the opportunity to see how far I could go.
With the wonderful support of my landlords and customers, I believe we have carved out our niche in the community.
While breakfast and dessert are my personal specialties, I am going to give you all the recipe for my Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup. It’s perfect for a chilly winter day!
Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts diced and sautéed in olive oil until done.
1 package Gnocchi (cooked according to directions on package) or you can make your own
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs chicken base
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp basil
6 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded parmesan
A little bit of fresh grated nutmeg
Cook Chicken on low grill, fine dice with a knife, set aside.
Melt butter and sauté the minced garlic for 1 minute.
Add flour and cook on low heat, 2 minutes.
Add milk, heavy cream and seasonings.
Simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.
Cook the gnocchi according to instructions on package.
Add chicken and gnocchi to soup.
Add shredded Parmesan Cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.