Chef Lisa Brooks creates a Southern cuisine pop-up

Mattie's Front Porch is a monthly pop-up dinner hosted by chef Charlotte Lisa Brooks.  Dinner includes several dishes from Lowcountry cuisine.

Mattie’s Front Porch is a monthly pop-up dinner hosted by chef Charlotte Lisa Brooks. Dinner includes several dishes from Lowcountry cuisine.

Amanda Richardson Brand Photography

If you want to enjoy a home-cooked meal while meeting new people, look no further than Mattie’s Front Porch, a monthly dining experience in the Mallard Creek area.

The dinner serves Southern dishes that tell a story while allowing complete strangers to come together. The events were created by Charlotte native Chef Lisa Brooks, creator of Heart & Soul Personal Chef Service.

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Chef Lisa Brook was featured on “Chopped” as a judge on the show’s Black History Month episode which featured all-black judges and contestants. Amanda Richardson Brand Photography Amanda Richardson Brand Photography

dinner theme

“I just wanted to bring people back to this place,” Brooks said. “The old school Sunday dinner.” This month’s dinner is themed “Sunday dinner” and will feature five to seven courses, including deviled eggs, beef and rice stew and blackberry cobbler. It is so popular that a second seat was added after the first seat sold out.

“Each theme is chosen or simply imagined from something close to me,” Brooks said. “Usually it’s something from my own experience, my own story.”

The first dinner service (which sold out just before publication) will be on Sunday, August 14 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. The second service will take place on August 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Reservations for each dinner are limited to 24 people, creating an intimate experience.

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Mattie’s Front Porch is a monthly pop-up dinner hosted by chef Charlotte Lisa Brooks. Dinner includes several dishes from Lowcountry cuisine. Amanda Richardson Brand Photography Amanda Richardson Brand Photography

Chef Lisa Brooks on ‘Chopped’

If you’re a “Chopped” fan, Brooks may be familiar to you. She was one of the judges on the Black History Month episode of the popular Food Network cooking competition show.

This episode was the first in the show’s history to have all-black judges and contestants. “It was such an experience that changed my life so much,” she said.

Before judging, she was terrified of participating in the show. It was exciting to see herself on screen, though, Brooks said.

One show Brooks wants to continue is Gordon Ramsay’s FOX show “Next Level Chef.” “I love that they mentor you throughout the show,” she said. “And it’s less of a ruthless thing.” She told us she’d like to meet Gordon Ramsay (who recently opened the first Gordon Ramsay Food Market in the United States at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina).

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Chef Lisa Brooks learned to cook at Sunday dinners at her grandmother’s house. Amanda Richardson Brand Photography Amanda Richardson Brand Photography

How Brooks learned to cook

Brooks’ cooking skills and love for food began at Sunday dinners at her grandmother’s house. She said the pop-ups preserve such Southern culinary traditions like Sunday dinners, Lowcountry boils, barbecues and crab feasts.

His favorite signature dishes are shrimp and grits, collard greens and fried chicken. “I’ve eaten shrimp and grits everywhere, and I think I’m the best,” she said.

The dishes that resonate at Brooks are the ones that put people at ease, whether at home or at grandma’s. Brooks launched her “Heart & Soul” personal chef service in 2010. She has been a cook all her life and learned from her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother.

“I didn’t realize it was a gift at all or anything special until people started telling me you really should be doing this for a living,” she said. declared.

[RELATED: Get to know these 8 Black personal chefs in Charlotte]

Before starting her cooking businesses, Brooks graduated from UNC Chapel Hill to study interpersonal communications. After graduating, she stayed in Chapel Hill to work for a health informatics company as a receptionist.

With no training directly related to the field, she then worked her way up the corporate ladder and became a technical support manager. She left the corporate world due to the stress she was experiencing. “I had migraines, back spasms and panic attacks,” she said. “And I had insomnia for about three years.”

She earned an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts from Central Piedmont Community College after returning to Charlotte. She then opened Heart & Soul, which now employs 31 people, including 10 female chefs.

Mattie’s Porch

Location: Heart & Soul Personal Chef Service, 10818 Tavernay Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28262

Next dinner: August 14 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Price: $85 per person, plus service charge. Tips are not included.

Tickets: purchase online

Lorenza Medley is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is currently intern at CharlotteFive. When she’s not lost in the aisles of a library, you can find her eating barbecued ribs or exploring her local target.