“I decided to open Twisted Soul because it’s been a vision in my head for years and the timing was right. I wanted to create a restaurant that embodied the heart and soul of comfort cuisine. There are many ‘Southern restaurants’ in Atlanta, as well as soul food restaurants, but Twisted Soul embodies my life’s journey,” offers owner and chef Deborah VanTrece. “The menu was created based on my personal travels and various cultural experiences. I think dining should be memorable, whether it’s eight courses at a five-star establishment or a simple casserole at the home of family and friends. At the end of a meal you should feel warm and fuzzy.”
VanTrece is widely known for her gourmet catering company, Edible Art Cafe, which she started in the late ’90s and was at the time an innovative preparation and presentation of soul food.
Twisted Soul Kitchen + Bar is a rebirth of sorts for VanTrece, but truly with a soulful twist.
“I have been a resident of Atlanta for over 30 years so this is home. During this time, I have spent a lot of time in the outer regions or rural areas of the South. I have dined at the home of my share of ‘MaDears’ and ‘Aunties’ and learned life lessons as well as down-home recipes. They have helped me to connect with the South and the feeling of hospitality that the South brings. My natural talent and passion have helped me to take those ladies’ recipes and present them in a manner that’s unexpected, bringing beauty to what is considered peasant or simple food.”
A soul food-influenced farm-to-table concept, VanTrece plans to stay current on locally sourced foods by reading publications such as Truly Living Well, frequenting local farmer’s markets and networking with other chefs in the city. “We have found some great locally farmed products for menu items like fried green tomatoes, fried chicken and the jerk duck.”
She adds, “Food is my passion because it’s my way to communicate without words. Every dish tells a story and it is layered in the flavors of the meal. The food trends that I enjoy are farm to table, Southern fusion and lots of butter.”
What dish tells her personal story?
If I was a meal I would be gumbo! It’s a pot full of everything, which describes me in a nutshell.
Here, VanTrece offers tips and shares faves.
“Spices are my life! Without them there would be no ‘soul food!'”
“Good desserts are always a must have at the end of a meal. They are also great for sharing. Our desserts are made with the same love and thought we put into all of our food so the experience is not complete until you have had at least one.”
“My greatest compliment from a guest is when they say it reminds them of home.”
“If the plate is my canvas, at this time I would say the fried green tomato Plate is my masterpiece.”
Twisted Soul Kitchen + Bar is located at 314 East Howard Ave., Decatur, Ga. 30030. Call (404) 373-2725 and visit: twistedsoulkitchenandbar.com.