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Q & Egg + “Eggs in Southern Purgatory with White Cheddar Cheese Grits” Recipe with Chef Deborah VanTrece

Q & Egg + “Eggs in Southern Purgatory with White Cheddar Cheese Grits” Recipe with Chef Deborah VanTrece

Deborah Vantrece Chef/Owner Twisted Soul Kitchen

From her favorite place to eat in Atlanta to how she’s taking soul food to the next level

If you’re a lover of Soul Food (who isn’t, really??), you’ve likely come across Chef Deborah VanTrece. Her nationally-renowned recipes, which expertly blend classic southern flavors with international influence, were inspired by 25-years of global travel. Kicking off her culinary career in the 90s with a successful catering company, Edible Art Cafe, Chef VanTrece made a name for herself by bringing a truly unique take to the soul food scene. She went on to launch the now widely-acclaimed Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours restaurant, which was named Atlanta’s Best New Restaurant by the Georgia Voice. Her distinct concept of “global soul food” — inspired by various soul foods across the globe — has earned her recognition from Zagat (as one of their Most Badass Female Chefs in the U.S.) and outlets like NBC News, Eater, Cherry Bombe Radio and NPR’s WABE. Today, Chef VanTrece is kicking back with Handsome Brook, sharing some insights from her daily life and a mouth-watering recipe for egg and cheddar grits that you won’t want to miss. 

Where did you grow up?

Kansas City, Mo

What is the #1 best thing about it? (& the #1 worst thing?)

Best thing about it is that it’s a city with a small town feel. Worst thing is that it’s a city with a small town feel.

Do you remember your first egg? (If not, your most memorable egg? )

My most memorable egg was a fluffy omelette. It was the first thing I learned how to cook in 7th grade home economics class and the beginning of my love affair with cooking...

Morning routine? 

I wake up and lay in bed and meditate. Then, I play with my dogs and get my morning started.

Favorite breakfast spot or diner? (Order?)

Atlanta Breakfast Club, and their Spanish Frittata.

If you could be a farm animal for a day, which one would you be? Why? 

A Goat. Because they are kinda sassy like me.

Your go-to nature happy place?

Georgia Mountains

Favorite music to listen (/dance) to while cooking?

Hip Hop/Rap. Specifically? Beyonce's entire Lion King Soundtrack. 

Favorite cookbook?

My own 😉

Favorite home kitchen tool?

My grandma’s cast iron skillet

Do you have any sustainability hacks to share? 

Keep an empty bowl close when chopping vegetables. Put scraps in the bowl and throw in water to make veggie stock to use in place of water when cooking.  Scraps can also be frozen and cooked at a later date.

Dinner that takes you less than 15 mins to make?

Pasta with raw eggs, parmesan cheese, and cracked black pepper.

In my past life, I think I was a:

Burlesque dancer


Deb’s Plate 

Eggs in Southern Purgatory with White Cheddar Cheese Grits Recipe

Deb with her famed Eggs in Southern Purgatory


1 cup half and half plus ¼ cup
3 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup quick grits
½ cup grated white cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon white pepper

In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and 1 cup half and half to a boil over medium high heat. Once liquid begins to boil, whisk in butter, salt and grits. Reduce heat to low, and allow grits to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes whisking often to prevent sticking and adding water if grits become too thick. Grits should be a creamy smooth consistency (not too thick, not watery and not lumpy)

Once grits are creamy, whisk in the cheddar and parmesan cheese until incorporated being careful not to splatter grits. Add the reserved ¼ cup of half and half and white pepper. Remove from heat and serve.


½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup red pepper, diced
½ cup green pepper, diced
½ cup celery, diced
½  lb andouille sausage, diced( or substitute any spicy sausage)
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1-14oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes, (with juice)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1- 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Tony’s creole seasoning
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 lb medium peeled, deveined shrimp, tail off
4 large eggs
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add diced onion, red pepper, green pepper and celery. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes or until onions become translucent. Adjust heat to medium high. Add andouille sausage and garlic cloves, and cook for another 3 minutes to release the flavor of the garlic and sausage. Slowly stir in flour and continue to stir until the vegetables and sausage are coated with the flour. Add tomatoes, thyme, tomato sauce, chicken broth, Tony’s creole seasoning, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and hot sauce. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and remove cover.  Stir in shrimp.

Using a wooden spoon or large spoon to make 4 indentations in the sauce mixture. Break one egg in a small bowl. Gently tilt the bowl over the first indentation and carefully slip the egg into the indentation.  Repeat the process with the remaining 3 eggs.  Once completed, return the skillet to medium heat and cover. Cook covered for 2 to 5 minutes or until the whites of the eggs have set.  

To serve, spoon grits into 4 bowls. Using a large spoon gently scoop an egg out and place it on top of the grits.  Spoon extra sauce on top of the grits but not over the egg.  Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and serve.

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