Now Playing

Knox Star

Southern tradition and fresh flavors permeate Gena Knox's new cookbook.

Gena Knox’s new cookbook, Southern My Way: Food & Family

Knox’s oatmeal creme pies

A lighter version of squash casserole

Knox with her Boykin spaniel, Hamp.

Honey soy-glazed quail from the cookbook.

When Southern belle and consummate cook Gena Knox recalls her upbringing in Reynolds, Ga., food saturates every memory. In a town void of restaurants, she fell in love with tradition-rich Southern cuisine and the fresh produce plucked from her family’s 20-acre farm. Inspired by her grandmother’s home cooking, her mother’s catering company and her father’s business savvy (he was both a banker and a farmer), Knox grew into a woman with a penchant for entrepreneurship.

She launched a salsa company, received her degree in landscape architecture (her other passion) and, 10 years ago, started a grilling and seasoning company called Fire & Flavor. Still thriving—the company just launched products from their newly bowed John Wayne line—her mom-and-pop operation also gave her the platform for another endeavor, penning cookbooks. This fall, she’ll launch her third self-published release, Southern My Way: Food & Family.

“I don’t consider myself a chef, just a home cook who loves to educate others on creating healthy, easy dishes,” she says. Look for lighter, fresher versions of Southern classics. There’s a range of salads, dishes such as roasted Brussels sprouts with prunes and bacon, butterscotch pie and a healthy version of shrimp and grits (with goat cheese grits, artichoke hearts, white wine and capers) in this photo-heavy tome.

Scattered with anecdotes and snippets of her family’s lifestyle, Knox’s homespun brand of Southern sweetness has us hooked... and hungry. Expect a book release party at Ann Mashburn in October.

Boxwoods Garden & Gifts, Peridot Distinctive Gifts and Whole Foods Market, genaknox.com