A Recipe For Success: In a bowl, combine high fashion, beauty, a warm personality, a radiant smile and a passion for cooking delicious food. Mix them all together, and what do you have? Kelli Ferrell.
On Saturday, August 3, 2019, the Food Network star and Baltimore native held a cooking demonstration and book signing event at Williams Sonoma at Columbia Mall. During the book signing, attendees sampled a variety of foods including Chicken-N-Waffles, prepared right before their eyes by Ferrell herself.
The Randallstown High School graduate released her new cookbook, “Kooking with Kelli Kollection of Family Recipes From Nana’s Chicken-N-Waffles” on July 17, 2019. Ferrell and her husband Mark are the founders and owners of Nana's Chicken-N-Waffles, a family-oriented, Louisiana/Maryland style diner located in Conyers, GA.
“Today’s event was super special to me because I’m from Baltimore,” said Ferrell. “To host one of the first signings for my first cookbook in my hometown is great. It was good to come home and give back.”
Referring to the mascot of her Alma Mater Randallstown High School, Ferrell added, “Shout out to my Rams!”
Honey Fried Chicken, Shrimp and Grits, Chicken and Waffles, Banana Bread, Grilled Lamb Chops and Southern Sweet Potato Pie are among the recipes included in the cookbook.
According to Ferrell, readers will learn to cook soul-satisfying homemade food, with most requiring short preparation and cook time. She said some of the recipes have been passed down from generation to generation.
“I wanted to add family recipes, as well as those that started off with my restaurant business,” said Ferrell noting that she is a cook and not a chef. “I used to cook as a little girl with my grandmother. I gave this cookbook my all. To be honest, I never knew that writing a cookbook would be so hard. I usually don’t measure. I just throw it in and taste it to make sure it tastes right. But with a cookbook, I had to include all the ingredients, measurements, and cook time. At times, that was difficult, but I had a great time.”
She says the book is infused with some very unique ingredients.
“I didn’t want an average cookbook,” Ferrell said. “I wanted to add a piece of me as well. This cookbook incorporates business, entertainment, fashion and entrepreneurship. My background is in Fashion Merchandising and Design.”
On the same day that her cookbook was released, Ferrell appeared on Guy's Grocery Games, a reality-based cooking television game show hosted by Guy Fieri on Food Network.
Her restaurant Nana's Chicken-N-Waffles is a popular attraction, and touts a menu which includes Cajun shrimp Po' Boys, fried green tomatoes, beignets, Nana's warm banana bread, and five types of waffles, ranging from malted traditional to red velvet.
“It has been amazing,” Ferrell said of her success. “I feel like I am at a place where God has called me to be. It’s about people, being able to give back, and feeding people through food and inspiration. Outreach is important to me. I want to inspire the next person.”
Ferrell is the mother of five daughters, ranging from four to 22 years of age.
“I call my daughters ‘The Fab Five’,” said Ferrell. “This cookbook is dedicated to them.”
The family is slated to publish a “Mommy and Me” style cookbook later this year.
“Williams and Sonoma have been so generous,” said Ferrell. “Columbia Mall and Tysons’s Corner have been welcoming, and have supported me in this journey, which I hope will continue.”
Ferrell is looking forward to the next chapter in her life.
“I hope that I have inspired someone not to give up,” she said. “It’s not easy but whatever you want in life is worth fighting for. You can’t be just a boss; you have to be leader. I work my tail off. I asked for it, prayed for it, and am grateful for it. I can’t wait to see what’s going to come.”
Excerpts of Ferrell’s cooking demonstration at Williams Sonoma can be accessed through The Baltimore Times website: www.baltimoretimes-online.com
Kooking with Kelli, Kollection of Family Recipes From Nana’s Chicken-N-Waffles sells for $29.95, and is available at Barnes & Noble Online, Amazon and KookingWithKelli.com.