By Katlyn Kurtz

Food is an integral part of everyday activity, but for people like Chef Dave West, it’s more than just an opportunity to nourish the body. Chef West, owner of the Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium located at 2080 Badlands Dr. in Brandon, would argue that preparing food connects people and becomes a culturally based form of art. His special guest this summer would not disagree.

Chef Nathalie Dupree has been described as the “Grande Dame of Southern Cooking,” and she will be joining Chef West at the Rolling Pin in July. Debuting her new cookbook, Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables, Chef Dupree will enlist Chef West as she demonstrates some of her new dishes on Friday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 25 at 11 a.m.

The cookbook has not been released yet, but the Rolling Pin will be offering copies that can be signed by Chef Dupree at the event. In addition to watching the demonstration and getting autographs, attendees will be able to take pictures with the culinary legend.

The menu for each day is located on the Rolling Pin’s website, but Chef West is looking forward to trying Friday’s Roasted Okra and Brussels Sprouts along with Saturday’s Pimiento Cheese and Tomato Tart, saying that they are “interesting combinations” and something he “has never had before.”

Chef West is also anticipating the cookbook’s arrival.

“Her first cookbook brought me a lot of memories of cooking with my grandmother,” he said. “I also enjoyed cooking fresh vegetables because when I was younger we had a lot of access to them. Cookbooks like Chef Dupree’s help demystify some of the common misconceptions associated with southern vegetables.”

The Friday event is almost sold out, but plenty of openings remain for Saturday’s session. To register for the event, visit, or call 653-2418.