3 must-try holiday recipes approved by Atlanta food royalty

Kelli Ferrell's Southern Cornbread with corn and honey
Courtesy of Kelli Ferrell

It’s that time of year when families and friends gather around the table to eat, drink and possibly engage in their once-a-year political debates (let’s hope not!). Whatever the holidays bring, they’re always made better by an immaculate spread.

CHECK OUT: Here’s where to watch the FIFA World Cup in Atlanta

With so many celebrities, chefs and even influencers thriving in the Atlanta food scene, I figured, why not get the scoop on some of their favorite holiday recipes? Well, they delivered. Gather around the kitchen to cook the perfect cobbler, Brussels sprouts and cornbread using recipes from some of our favorite Atlantans.

Pinky Cole: Restauranter, Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist and Slutty Vegan CEO/Founder

Straight out of her newly released cookbook, “Eat Plants B*tch,” Cole’s Southern Peach Cobbler comes with a warning: it may become your signature holiday dish! Cole loves how buttery and flaky the biscuits are and emphasizes that everything will come together perfectly.

CHECK OUT: The Pinky Cole Experience: Eat Plants, B*tch, head to Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta

Pinky Cole's Southern Peach Cobbler
Courtesy of Pinky Cole, Access Atlanta

Serves 8


Peach Filling:

  • 8 cups sliced peeled peaches (8 to 9 peaches)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 11/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons vegan butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, plus more for brushing
  • Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
  • Strawberries and raspberries or fruit of choice, for garnish


  1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.
  2. MAKE THE PEACH FILLING: Place the peaches in a 7 × 11-inch baking dish. Add the brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt and toss gently until well coated.
  3. BAKE for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.
  4. MAKE THE BISCUIT: In a bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the almond milk and stir together until a stiff dough has formed. You may need to add a little more milk. If so, add it 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time.
  5. DROP pieces of dough onto the peach filling so that it is mostly covered. Brush a little milk over the drop biscuits and sprinkle with a little sugar and a dusting of cinnamon
  6. BAKE until the filling is bubbling, and the biscuits are golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes.
  7. SERVE garnished with strawberries and raspberries or fruit of choice.

Chef Kevin Gillespie: Red Beard Restaurants President

Growing up hating Brussels sprouts, it may come as a surprise that one of Chef Gillespie’s holiday favorites is Brussels sprouts gratin. But, after coming up with this recipe for a family Thanksgiving in 2009, it’s a requested dish at almost every family function.

CHECK OUT: Share your Atlanta experience! Vote for the top local restaurants

Chef Kevin Gillespie's Brussels Sprouts Gratin
Courtesy of Chef Kevin Gillespie, Access Atlanta

Serves 12


  • Butter: 11 tablespoons + some for greasing the pan
  • Vidalia onion: 1 baseball-size, cut into 1/4-inch dice, about 2 1/2 cups
  • Garlic: 1/3 cup chopped, about 8 big cloves
  • Salt
  • Heavy cream: 4 cups
  • Brussels sprouts: 2 pounds
  • All-purpose flour: 3 tablespoons
  • Colman’s mustard powder: 1 tablespoon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Panko breadcrumbs: 1 cup
  • Parmesan cheese: 1 1/2 ounces, about 1 cup freshly grated
  • Lemon: 1 large lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the inside of a 2-quart casserole with butter.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt and cook until very soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cut the heat down to low and cook until the cream is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, thinly slice the Brussels sprouts crosswise on a mandoline, slicing just until you get to the hard core; reserve the rest of the sprouts for another use. Or, if you have a 2mm slicing disk for your food processor, you can carve out the hard core of the Brussels sprouts and then process the sprouts through the feed tube. You should end up with about 14 cups of thin, coleslaw-like rounds.
  4. Melt another 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, just until the mixture begins to smell toasty, about 2 minutes.
  5. Mix the mustard with 1 tablespoon of water to make a thin paste. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the flour-butter mixture into the onions along with the mustard paste, nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons salt; crank the heat up to medium and continue whisking until the mixture comes to a simmer and begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Cut the heat to low and cook until the sauce loses any floury taste or grainy texture, about 10 minutes.
  6. Fit a food processor with the metal blade, and add the panko, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, and the remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Process to a crumbly paste. Spread the crumb mixture on a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, top with another sheet, and, using a rolling pin, roll the crust to fit the top of the casserole.
  7. Carefully pour the onion sauce into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the remaining zest from the lemon, all of the lemon’s juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend again until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pot and fold in the sliced Brussels sprouts. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook until the sprouts are wilted, about 5 minutes.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole. Remove the top sheet from the panko crust and invert over the Brussels sprouts. Remove the other sheet and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Serve hot.

Kelli Ferrell: Restauranter, Author and Nana’s Chicken-N-Waffles Founder

Kelli Ferrell is bringing a taste of Nana’s to your table. “Honey cornbread is one of my favorite dishes, just because you can pair it with almost anything.… it’s the perfect dish for holidays and any Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving table,” Ferrell told Access Atlanta.

Kelli Ferrell's Southern Cornbread with corn and honey
Courtesy of Kelli Ferrell, Access Atlanta

Serves 6


  • Self-rising cornmeal mix: 1 cup
  • Eggs: 2 large eggs
  • Honey: 1/3 cup
  • Melted butter: 4 tbsp.
  • Sweet corn: 1 cup
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tsp.
  • All-purpose flour: 2 cups
  • Granulated sugar: 1 cup.
  • Baking powder: 1 tbsp.
  • Kosher salt: 1/8 tbsp.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix together. Add the melted butter and mix.
  3. Add the egg and milk, then add the corn last and stir.
  4. Generously butter your cast pan.
  5. It’s ok to make a mess, lol.
  6. Pour the cornbread mix into the cast iron pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Drizzle with leftover corn and honey

*Kelli’s Cooking Tip: I typically melt butter, honey and leftover corn and top on cornbread.

Next:5 must-see concerts in Atlanta this week
Fellow music lovers unite! It’s that time of the week when we come …