Chef Millie Peartree shares how a full plate can lead to a full heart

Millie Peartree talks holiday cooking, photo provided by Lowes
Millie Peartree talks holiday cooking, photo provided by Lowes /

For Chef Millie Peartree, the holiday table can be a place to nourish the soul.

During the holiday season, gratitude is served with the flavorful food. For Chef Millie Peartree, her desire to foster a connection between a full plate and a full heart isn’t limited to the holidays. Whether people are celebrating across the miles or within their small gatherings, she reminds everyone that the community is part of all celebrations.

Over the years, Chef Peartree has become a favorite chef of many well-known foodies. From well-known celebrities serving her infamous cupcakes at their events to her soul food restaurant in the Bronx, Peartree has made a statement in the culinary industry.

Like many chefs this year, she has faced hardships. As the restaurant industry struggles through the pandemic limitations, her beloved restaurant had to close, but her story took a new turn. In an effort to help the Bronx community, her organization, Full Heart Full Bellies has provided over 14,000 meals to children since July.

Recently, Peartree partnered with Lowes for some easy holiday entertaining tips. She decided to partner with Lowes because the brand aligns with her personal values of building a stronger community.

While holiday gatherings might be smaller or modified, celebrating the season isn’t pushed to the back burner. Similar to how Peartree adapted her culinary focus, any home cook can find ways to adapt and thrive this holiday season.

For Peartree, she focuses on kitchen efficiency. Whether it is kitchen appliances that adds to cooking ease to smart storage ideas, an efficient kitchen is the first step towards being a more confident chef. While some people might like to totally revamp their kitchen, little modifications can help too.

Peartree mentioned just doing a little kitchen update, like changing out the doorknobs on kitchen cabinets can be the boost that a home cook needs. She made that simple swap and even incorporated a reference to her mother. Even the simple ideas can and do make the home cook feel better in the kitchen.

Those good vibes will extend into the food being prepared. Since family and food are often interconnected, the holiday meals are a great time to bring family holiday traditions into the fold. From a favorite recipe that has been served for years to just serving a dish that reminds you of a loved one, the options are many.

Still, Peartree suggested that the holiday cheer isn’t limited to just the family holiday table. She encourages others to make an extra meal for a neighbor or even just offer to buy some extra groceries for others. Those simple gestures can go a long way.

For Peartree, cooking brings her joy. She hopes that home cooks can discover that joy in the kitchen and share it with others. With simple recipes, ingredients and concepts, everyone can turn that kitchen into a happy place.

Additionally, Peartree emphasized that people need to be conscious of their food choices. While the holidays are often a time when refrigerators are stuffed with food, it isn’t a time to let food go to waste.

Peartree recommended shopping for a couple of days at a time, if possible. Also, she suggested a method of putting the older food purchases in the front of the refrigerator to be seen. No one wants to have food buried in the back, only to be wasted. Additionally, no one wants to just throw money away on food that is never eaten.

Since many people are cost conscious, Peartree recommended looking at flavors, not necessarily ingredients when building a holiday meal. As a seasoned catered, she understands that a budget can drive shopping decisions. Still, a great meal doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

The old chef saying, prep once, cook twice, is a common mantra. The idea really does help to stretch a food budget. Just the simple idea of re-purposing chicken bones to make a stock really does make a difference.

With the holiday season here, Millie Peartree has found a way to connect with people beyond her home kitchen. From her community outreach to her partnership with Lowes, the chef has found a way to spread love, kindness and hope to others through the gift of food. Since food is the universal language, the holidays can be the perfect time to spark a conversation beyond the family table.

light. Related Story. Chef Andrew Zimmern shares why the holidays should focus on gratitude

Millie Peartree and her organization Full Hearts Full Bellies are located in the Bronx, New York.

Lowes is sharing a variety of holiday ideas and community outreach suggestions on its website.

What are you doing to make a difference this holiday season?