They say necessity is the mother of all invention.
Not long after beginning her line of wine, Love Cork Screw vintner/owner Chrishon Lampley would often be asked a single question over and over: “What wine should I pair with this dish?” She eventually teamed with her friend and noted personal chef Monica Hayes-Jones of Tasteful Manners to create the cookbook, Your Guide to Tasteful Manners with Love Cork Screw.
Chef Monica touts her meals to be easy, healthy and, most importantly, delicious. Having lost almost 40 pounds within the last year thanks to her own culinary creations, the chef has had the pleasure of cooking for NBA star Derrick Rose and also counts Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx as one of her meal plan prep customers.
N’DIGO recently sat down with the ladies to discuss the highly buzzed about new cookbook, their respective companies and their various other endeavors.
N’DIGO: Chrishon, when you began Love Cork Screw did you envision it being as multi-faceted as it’s become?
Chrishon Lampley: No, I never envisioned it to be as large as it is now, so I definitely didn’t see the different outlets it has created. My love for wine led me here and I’m shocked about it everyday, but I couldn’t be happier.
Monica, please tell us a little about your company, Tasteful Manners?
Chef Monica J: Tasteful Manners provides healthy culinary arts and social etiquette programming to Chicago youth via afterschool programs in Chicago public schools. We also partner with a few community organizations, including the YMCA, By the Hand and Children Home and Aid. Recently, I started a meal prep delivery service. If you want to eat healthy and don’t have the time to cook, I can do it for you; I’m a personal chef.
How did the idea come about to do the wine-pairing cookbook, Your Guide to Tasteful Manners with Love Cork Screw?
Chrishon: Honestly, it’s the same reason why I created Love Cork Screw wines. People would ask me all the time for food and wine pairing suggestions. As the only vintner to partner with a chef to publish a cookbook, I jumped at the opportunity to continue to give my fans and consumers what they ask for consistently. Besides, Monica is a superb chef, and I thought it would be great for the world to experience us together.
How did you come up with the perfect meals to pair with the wines?
Monica: I created the meals based on everyone who’s ever touched and inspired me, from family and friends to students and other chefs. I gave the recipes to Chrishon and she did the pairings. She’s the wine expert.
What are some common misconceptions you find people have regarding healthy foods also being tasty foods?
Monica: I use two hashtags all the time when I post my food on social media – # Easy Delicious and #Healthy No Sacrifice. I take pride in my recipes; just because they’re “healthier” versions of your favorite meals, you do not have to sacrifice taste. Regarding my students and their families, they want something easy and delicious to prepare, so I try to give them just that.
Monica, tell us a bit about your recent Tasteful Trot Run/Walk event?
Monica: It was amazing! I do an annual fundraiser, but I wanted this year’s to be different from past ones I’ve hosted. Usually we have an event that is all about food. We bring in local chefs and they create their signature dish, healthier in the name of Tasteful Manners. But recently I’ve gotten more physically active. I joined a gym (360 Mind Body Soul) that I love and wanted to incorporate my new love with my business and…voila! the Tasteful Trot was born. It will be an annual event, so look for us in November 2018!
And Chrishon, you were recently featured on CNBC’s show, The Job Interview. How did that go?
Chrishon: I think a simple “wow!” sums it up. It was a great experience to meet so many wonderful people. From the candidates, to working with the producers and CNBC’s staff, I felt honored to have such a huge platform to encourage other entrepreneurs and represent Chicago in a positive light.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Monica: I’m a classically trained French pastry chef. Initially, my culinary training was patisserie and baking.
Chrishon: I think people would be surprised to know that I enjoy all the Marvel films. As soon as my vacation starts, I am running to the theater to see Thor.
Best advice or words of wisdom?
Monica: Always bet on you!
Chrishon: Follow your dreams. It sounds so cliché, but it’s true. Following your dreams ignites passion and passion drives success.
Favorite quote or affirmation?
Monica: “She believed she could, so she did.”
Chrishon: “Never stop. Never settle.”
What’s next for both your respective brands?
Monica: Book #2, and The Tasteful Café, my own dessert bar.
Chrishon: Hopefully, Love Cork Screw will be sold nationally. That’s what’s next. That’s the goal, so please continue to spread the word!
For more information on purchasing Your Guide to Tasteful Manners with Love Cork Screw and the Love Cork Screw brand, please visit www.lovecorkscrew.com. For more information on Tasteful Manners, please visit www.tastefulmannersculinary.com.