Looking for something to do this weekend? Georgina’s, a local catering company founded by Nana Wilmot, will be hosting a cocktails & tastings event on Sunday, June 23rd at the American Dreaming Building in celebration of their 2nd anniversary. The event will feature live music by DJ Mike Lowry. While the full menu has not been released, Nana tells us that vegetarian and vegan options will be on the menu! Get to know Nana through Uptown Soul Food’s exclusive interview with her.
Uptown Soul Food: When did you decide to become a chef? What influenced your decision?
Nana: Its actually a funny story. About 4 years ago, I was living at home and just got fired from my retail job and was in need of a change. I had left school back in ’06 and came home with no clue as to what I wanted to do in life. While researching career options online, a pop-up ad for the Art Institute of Philadelphia’s culinary program appeared on my screen, so naturally, I clicked it. My grandma, Georgina, taught me how to cook by the age of 7. I cooked because I had to, not because I liked to. The day I clicked on the Art Institute ad cracked open a new door and the possibilities were endless. After a successful 7-day challenge to create something different every night for dinner for my mom and I, I was hooked, I decided to go to culinary school. From that day on, I was Chef Nana.
Uptown Soul Food: Are there any chefs that you look up to?
Nana: I really look up to Kevin Sbarga and Marc Vetri! Two Philly natives who are changing the way Philly eats. Vetri is a genius and a man after my own heart. I admire what he is building with the Vetri Foundation, transforming the way children eat in school systems and giving back to the community.
Uptown Soul Food: What’s your favorite type of cuisine to prepare?
Nana: My favorite type of cuisine to cook is Asian food, mainly Korean food. The flavors are amazingly brilliant and yet so simple.
Uptown Soul Food: What kitchen item can you NOT love without?
Nana: My big silver spoon! I can taste, flip, cut and baste with it.
Uptown Soul Food: What is your favorite food and music pairing?
Nana: Favorite food would be a homemade sandwich with tons of veggies, a great sauce and a great tasting bun, brioche or Challah bread. I love old school hip hop. Andre 3000’s Pandora station is my secret ingredient. I’m talking a cross between Outkast, Common, De La Soul, Slick Rick and Pharcyde.
Uptown Soul Food: When did you decide to start Georgina’s?
Nana: Before starting culinary school, I dreamed of starting a catering company and restaurant in honor of my family and the food I grew up on. I honestly had no clue about catering but I knew the need was there. I wasn’t always too fond of what I had experienced when I went to catered events. The food would either be cold or tasteless, and I vowed that if and when I started my company, I wanted each person I served to feel like that plate was made specifically for them. So about 2 years after I graduated culinary school, I started to dream. I started as a private chef through referrals from family and friends. Then I realized it was getting too big to be just me, so Georgina’s was born.
Uptown Soul Food: Tell us about the upcoming cocktails and tasting event at the American Dreaming Building.
Nana: Well last year as we approached the one year anniversary of Georgina’s, I wanted to have a big party to celebrate our successes and growth by thanking all my family, friends, and past & current clients. I wanted to thank them for their love and support by offering them a taste of what was to come in the next year, and it was hit. Everyone had such a great time, I knew this had to be an annual event. I envision each year with a different element of surprise. My goal is for our family, friends and clients to see a first glance at what we’ve been working on and the progress we’ve made. This year we’re announcing the opening of our food truck, Gina’s, set to open this fall. As we expand and grow, we want our clients and community to know that Georgina’s isn’t just food, but a company that can provide several areas of entertainment, event planning, consulting and health education.
Uptown Soul Food: What inspired you to do this style of event for your 2nd anniversary?
Nana: My other passion is event planning. When I first went to college my major was PR/ marketing. I love working with different people with different strengths, and by putting our minds together and creating an idea that was just on a piece of paper at one point, is remarkable to me. I’m inspired by my peers, I throw events to create a platform for others who many not have the opportunity to try something new or see something different. Some people are just dreamers, I’m a dreamer and a believer…If I can dream it, I know I can do it, no matter how outlandish it may seem lol.
Uptown Soul Food: What’s on the menu? Are there any options at the event for vegans/vegetarians?
Nana: That I cannot tell you! You’ll just have to wait and see on Sunday! But I will tell you we work with fresh produce, bringing people something that is heart healthy and tasty! We do have vegetarian options for each item and I do have a vegan dish inspired by Uptown Soul Food that we will be serving so I am very excited!
Uptown Soul Food: How to get tickets for the event?
Nana: RSVP at loveeats.eventbrite.com and tickets will also be available at the door, but RSVP to ensure your spot!
Uptown Soul Food: What’s next for Nana and Georgina’s?
Nana: Oh Lord that’s a heavy question lol I’m taking a trip to Ghana to see Georgina this July. I’ll also be traveling to Los Angeles for a cooking seminar for a client of ours. We’ll also be hitting up Atlanta and Texas to finish out the summer. Also, look out for Gina’s Food Truck set to open this fall! You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter @GeorginasFoods and my personal IG @illnahna and Twitter @_illna #eatclean #LoveFoodNSoul