Hot Chef: Amanda Beame, Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter
Contrary to what you might think, there is no “Bob White” behind Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter (a Bobwhite is a type of quail). But there is an Amanda Beame. The 26-year-old Culinary Institute grad serves Southern comfort foods like fried chicken, grits and black-eyed peas at the just-opened counter spot.
Considering how eco-conscious the menu is (all dishes are sourced locally and prepared with humanely raised ingredients whenever possible), it’s a wonder that you can pick up a whole feast — we’re talking chicken, biscuits, sides and dessert — for about $25. Your taste buds and wallet will be glad you dined there.
Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
Yes. I started cooking really young at home, mostly because my mother wasn’t the best cook. [Laughs] She was really good at picking out delicious foods and taking us to great restaurants — but when it came to making food at home, she wasn’t so good. I decided that I wanted to eat good food so I started cooking at home. I went to the University of Florida and left for a little while to pursue cooking, but decided to come back and finish my degree. I dabbled in maybe law school and maybe pursuing a career with my psychology degree, but ultimately cooking won out because it was where the passion was for me.
Were you ever intimidated being a young chef in New York?
Slightly, but I don’t think that I would bite off more than I could chew. Everything’s going really smoothly and I’m really happy with the progress that we’re making.
How did you meet Bobwhite’s owner, Keedick Coulter?
I actually found him on Craigslist. Your dreams can come true on Craigslist! [Laughs] I responded to his ad and we met. The site wasn’t complete and I wanted him to have a tasting of my food, so I invited him up to the Culinary Institute of America to have a tasting. Then it was set.
Were you always interested in Southern food?
Yes. My interest lies in foods that people like to eat at home across the world, so Southern food is just one of those American foods that people eat at home. I’ve spent a lot of time in the South driving around, doing road trips, going to Southern restaurants and really getting to know their food. Cooking it makes me feel at home.