HIDDEN F&B: Ashley Strickland Freeman

Helen Mitternight

By Helen Mitternight / Photo by Mary Britton Senseney

Editor’s Note: Charleston is such a foodie town that food and beverage superstars are hiding in plain sight, out of theJames Beardlimelight, but still very much creating and serving amazing food and drinks. This series profiles Charleston’s “hidden F&Bs.”

Sure, a lot of folks are fond ofDuke's Mayonnaise,butAshley Strickland Freeman'saffinity takes it to a whole new level. You and I can look at our jar of the condiment and maybe think of something for dinner, but this author, food stylist, editor and recipe developer created an entire cookbook!

Ashley’s take:

Favorite Kitchen Tool or Gadget: I have this small, offset spatula and I use it to make so many things!   

In My Refrigerator (3 Things):Kerrygoldbutter, cheese (I really like stinky cheese) and, of course, Duke’s. And I have so many condiments, it’s ridiculous.

In My Pantry (3 Things): Pasta sauce or canned tomatoes, lots of beans, Asian condiments like fish sauce and chili paste.

Favorite After-work Hangout: We love to eat at theWorkshop.It’s family friendly and my husband and I can have beer or wine and our son can run around the grassy area and let off steam.

Favorite Charleston Restaurant:The Ordinary.It’s so good!

Comfort Food: Grits. My mother used to make it as a cure-all for everything. Bad day? Stomach ache? Always grits.

Favorite Smell: Currently, it’s gardenia. We have a gardenia plant in our backyard.

Favorite Drink: Gin and tonic. I just got a bottle ofHat Trickand I love that.

Number of Hours You Work a Week: It depends. When I’m doing a photo shoot, I can have days that are 12-14 hours long.

Most Underrated Ingredient: I feel like I have to say Duke’s Mayonnaise!

Favorite Meal to Cook at Home: I love grilling. I’ve been on a grilling kick because I have so many dishes in the sink from recipe testing.

Best Advice From A Mentor: It wasNathalie Dupree.I was one of her “chickens.” I was kind of meek when I was her apprentice and about to go off to culinary school. She told me to stick to my guns and to speak up. She also taught me the importance of a good recipe headnote, the importance of telling the recipe story.

Want more from Ashley? We thought you might. Listen toEpisode 25of our Hidden F&B podcast now. Ready to cook with Duke’s? GrabThe Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbookwhen it drops June 30th or pre-order now!