IN THE SPIRIT FEATURING: MacKenzie Smith, Grilled Cheese Social / Black Dolphin Inn, Blogger & Executive Chef

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:

Mackenzie Smith is a cookbook author, blogger, and executive chef at Black Dolphin Inn in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  She has won two Food Network cooking competitions and has been creating and sharing delicious cheesy recipes for over 9 years.  She is also widely known for her work in food photography, food styling, content creation, and live cooking demos.

In her life outside of cooking, she loves spending time with her two dachshunds, Elote and Fennel, and loves traveling and eating all things with her husband Jeremy Johnston, who is a professional surfer.

 

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT PROJECTS?

My cookbook, which came out this past February, is my pride and joy! It's also one of the largest projects I've ever done and I'm extremely proud that my book baby's out in the real world! Other than that, my recent partnerships include Rachael Ray Magazine, Bounty Paper Towels, and Tillamook Cheese. I'm also really excited to announce that we're beginning to renovate our tiny beach bungalow kitchen thanks to my new partnership with Cafe Appliances by GE!

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE YOU HAVE COME UP WITH USING AN ACC PRODUCT? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT? 

This one right here! Back when I lived in Brooklyn, Palomas were my all-time favorite cocktail! So I thought it would be awesome to pair it with ACC's watermelon mojito. I feel as if it reflects the tropical paradise that I now live in while also paying homage to my past! I love how this fruity, tart and strong cocktail will transport you to a warmer climate no matter where you live!

 

WHEN YOU ARE COMING UP WITH NEW DISHES OR DRINKS, DO YOU HAVE A SOURCE(S) FOR INSPIRATION?

My day job as the executive chef at Black Dolphin Inn is a constant source of inspiration. The menu changes daily and I try to shop as locally and seasonally as possible. This lush tropical landscape of ours lends to bright, colorful, and fun flavors and I try to reflect that in my recipes. When I'm not in Florida, I'm most likely eating my way around different cities while absorbing all the inspiration I can!

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT OR BAR, WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK DO YOU RECOMMEND IT, AND WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE CAN A VISITOR EXPECT?

Am I allowed to say my house? Lol. If my husband isn't practicing his bartending skills in our kitchen, then I always love checking out The Bounty Bar in New Smyrna Beach. It's a speakeasy on Flagler Avenue and my girlfriend Katie (@cocktailswithkatie) is the lead bartender and creative mastermind. Whether she's making me a classic like The Last Word or is creating something funky off-menu, she constantly crushes it and it's always so fun to see what she's into!

 

WHAT INFO ABOUT COCKTAILS DO MOST PEOPLE MAKING DRINKS AT HOME NOT KNOW THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO THEM?

Although it's kind of funny because I write recipes for a living, I always say that people should look at them for guidance and direction rather than an end-all-be-all. They're not law! The more you put your own personal spin on dishes, the more unique and "you" the recipe turns out!

 

FAVORITE ACC FLAVOR?

Watermelon Mojito

 

WHAT TRENDS (EITHER LOCAL OR INDUSTRYWIDE) ARE YOU NOTICING TAKING SHAPE AND HOW? 

To me, it seems like the tiki scene is in full bloom! And although Florida has always shown their affinity for tropical drinks, it seems like the rest of the country is on board, too!

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE? 

You can read more about me, buy my cookbook, and check out my Food Network episodes here.


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