Pat and Gina Neely are busy restaurant owners in Memphis Tennessee, devoted parents and active community citizens – who just happen to be Food Network stars. The couple recently sat down with Relish, sharing the inside scoop on how they really cook at home, what’s coming next and a couple of their signature recipes.
“We’re partnered with Kraft food in Huddle for Hunger to provide 25 million meals to help local food hunger. We’re so proud we can give back, because in today’s time one out of every four kids doesn’t know where his or her next meal is going to come from,” Pat tells us.
“It’s important for young kids to understand that if God blesses you with fortune, you need to go out and share that blessing. It’s not about buying a fancy car or a lot of expensive jewelry and then flashing it by driving through your old neighborhood. It’s about giving back, relating to people and inspiring others to go out and do the same thing,” Pat says.
“When you see a couple loving each other and enjoying each other in the kitchen, it makes you realize cooking can be fun. You see that it’s not going to be perfect and there are going to be boo-boos, but you just keep going and have a good time,” Gina says.
“On November 1st we are releasing our cookbook Neely’s Celebration Meals for Every Occasion...We will have recipes for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, but also for non-traditional holidays like Spring Cleaning and Teacher Appreciation Day. We’re super excited!” Pat shares.
“The way our kitchen is designed is perfect for spending time with family and friends. It’s open and there is a big island where our daughters can come and visit with us while we cook.” He then let us in on his wife’s favorite kitchen feature, “Gina has a spice rack she absolutely loves. It is split up into two drawers on either side of our ovens. She has all of her dried parsley, paprika and thyme in there.”
“We’re not actors we’ve never portrayed ourselves as actors and have a very unscripted show. What you see is what you get,” Pat tells us with Gina adding, “I think that’s what our appeal is. People tell us all the time ‘You guy’s seem so real and so natural ‘and that’s because we are.”
“Our food is very down-home and made with ingredients that most people can find in their own pantries,” Gina tells us with Pat later adding, “We didn’t go to culinary school, our school was our grandmothers’ kitchens. And that’s like the average Food Network viewer.” One of their traditional dishes upholding this mentality is Spiced Rubbed Pork Chops with Pomegranate Pan Sauce. Serve with curried cauliflower and carrots. Recipe: Spice Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops With Pomegranate Pan Sauce
“I have learned over the years to grill early so it’s in the oven warming once my guests arrive. That way I'm not running back and forth from the grill, I’m in the living room having fun with our company,” Pat shares. A signature recipe is their wonderfully marinated BBQ Beef Ribs, served with mashed turnips and sage and an herbed flatbread. Recipe: BBQ Beef Ribs
“Our daughter Spenser is 22 and she has moved out in to her own place, but still ends up coming home for dinner. She’ll call on a Thursday and say ‘hey I’m coming home Sunday’ and we’ll prepare a great dish. I remember doing this with my grandma, when I told her I was coming for dinner it would make her week. Spencer might just lay on the sofa and take a nap while we cook, but it is one of the best feelings in the world knowing that even once your child moves out, she is still comfortable enough to come home and take a nap in the living room while you cook,” Pat shares.
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