“Food is really an important part of our philosophy,” said Natalie Chanin, speaking about her lifestyle company powerhouse, Alabama Chanin. “We’ve been really influenced by people like author Joel Salatin. The idea of one part of the farm becoming fuel for another part of the farm really speaks to how we build our company, thinking about something sustaining itself.”
So the idea of adding a café seemed natural, and since opening in November 2013, The Factory (store and café’) has been embraced by the community, who frequent it as much for the crustless quiche as they do the guest chef dinners, with a star-studded calendar that has included Chefs Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard and has Chef Drew Robinson visiting in October.
Bringing award-winning chefs to the northwest Alabama provides not only a wonderful opportunity for diners, but for the café kitchen team, an opportunity not afforded by many culinary schools—the hands-on chance to explore recipes of these chefs with the chefs themselves part of the equation.
“These are chefs, people, I personally adore, admire, and respect, and I love to eat their food,” she says. “It just so wonderful to get them here.”
Although she’s quick to deflect credit to others, Natalie is an accomplished cook herself, and she makes a mean biscuit. You can often snag one at the café, but she was kind enough to share her recipe with me. Bake them up and butter them well.
from Natalie Chanin, Alabama Chanin Café, Florence, AL