Chef Deb Paquette of Etch Restaurant in Nashville joins Taste of the NFL this year to represent theTennessee Titans at the 22nd Annual Party with a Purpose. The first woman in Tennessee to qualify as a certified executive chef, she has since won numerous awards and accolades in Nashville where she has made her home for more than thirty years. We are excited to have to have her as part of our team and look forward to her big, bold flavors on Feb. 2 in New Orleans!
Q: Tell us about your restaurant and how it is representative of Tennessee.
A: I’ve been in Nashville since 1982 and have always been in the restaurant business. I like to make food that makes people’s tongues dance. Being big and bold and balanced is what I try to do and is what makes people excited about food. I like to give them a little of this and a little of that to make it a wow dish. I like to give a cultural feel to my food because a lot of flavors are hard to replicate at home or people don’t know how and I want to get them to taste things they haven’t had before. I’ve been using regional farmers and produce for a long time to help promote the little guy and bring the best food from around Tennessee. I bring in the recipes and methods that have been used in the area for years and mix it with new school techniques.
Q: How did you get involved in Taste of the NFL/What made you decide to participate?
A: I’ve known about Taste of the NFL for a long time but it always belonged to one chef who really enjoyed it. This year, he passed the baton to me. I know that Taste of the NFL was looking to bring more women chefs into the event and liked my restaurant and fondness for vegetables. I’ve always helped with Second Harvest and local food banks throughout my journey in Nashville and this is a great continuation of that.
Q: Have you ever been to a Taste of the NFL event?
A: No, I have never been! It’s pretty exciting being from a city with an NFL team that has gone to the Super Bowl and anticipating it every year. I’ve worked with the Tennessee Titans on events before and look forward to doing it again.
Q: What are you looking forward to about New Orleans?
A: I’m looking forward to getting to know the other chefs participating. I love to network and talk about what products other chefs love. Sharing with people in my own field is pretty cool. Being in New Orleans is always exciting! There are some great restaurants that I’d love to visit if I have time.
Q: Any ideas on what you will make this year in New Orleans?
A: I’ll definitely be bringing some vegetables to the table but I’m still working on the dish!
Q: What is your favorite game day dish to enjoy with friends and family while watching football?
A: I love going to game day potlucks. The element of surprise is exciting to me and I love having anything from top-notch to home cooking. I always have to have popcorn with truffle salt and black pepper.
Q: Are there other activities you are involved with in your own community related to the hunger cause?
A: I’ve been doing a lot of events lately with the YMCA, Phoenix Club, American Heart Association and local food banks like Generous Helpings. I always make sure to include charitable events in my lineup because there are still a lot of people who can’t get the right nutrition and foods in Nashville. I like to try to participate a couple times a year to do my best to help out.