Award-winning chef and cookbook author Deborah VanTrece opened her latest restaurant Oreatha’s at the Point as a tribute to mothers around the globe and their soulful dishes. She said in a press release, “As a mom, I’ve always appreciated the special dishes that mothers make to comfort and nurture their families.”
The Atlanta restaurant, named for VanTrece’s own mother, pairs global flavors with comforting ingredients, like catfish rubbed with tod mun pla thai seasoning, latkes with smoked salmon and creme, and Oreatha’s own smoked duck pot pie.
Even the business’ operation aligns with its concept: VanTrece’s daughter, Kursten Berry, runs Oreatha’s bar program, and her own speakeasy-style bar, Dulcet, is scheduled to open next door in early fall 2022.
Berry grew up well-versed in the motherly cooking style that Oreatha’s pays homage to. She recalls her mom’s soulful dishes, like chicken pot pie and what they called chicken and noo-noo (stewed chicken thighs served with egg noodles).
These simple, homey recipes still remain staples for their family. Berry says, “You know, I caught Covid right before Christmas, and mom said, ‘come to my house, I’ll take care of you.’ She put me upstairs to quarantine, and she just really took care of me. She made me the chicken and noo-noo, her spaghetti—which she knows I love—and it really took me back to my childhood.”
Berry designed Oreatha’s cocktail list as a universal nod to mothers. Drinks have names like Mother May I and Because I Said So. Others raise a glass to Berry’s own maternal line.
The When Harry Met Helen, for example, is named for her grandparents Harry and Helen Oreatha VanTrece. Made with Woodford Reserve, orange, Havana & Hide bitters, and smoked maple syrup, Berry says, “It’s my riff on an old fashioned … you know, because they’re my grandparents so I think they’re old fashioned.”
One of Berry’s latest creations, the Lady with the Blonde Hair, is her own toast to VanTrece.
“The lady with the blonde hair is what I call my mom,” she says. “I don’t know what happened when I got older, but I started wanting to call her every name but mom. Saying ‘my mom’ sounded too casual when everyone around me called her ‘chef.’”
Berry tried out different monikers, and the Lady with the Blonde Hair became the go-to name. (“Zeborah,” a name coined by a French tour guide, is another.)
She created a sunshine-yellow cocktail to match. Made with gin, yuzu, ginger, and lemon, the drink pairs Berry’s two current loves, gin with citrusy yuzu. With only five ingredients, it’s a springtime sipper that arrives just in time for Mother’s Day.
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