Community Cooks: Local chef shares recipe for veggie kabobs full of grilled flavor

Devika Patridge is the daughter and granddaughter of Atlanta chefs.

Though her grandmother and father were chefs, Devika Patridge took several winding paths before she finally decided that would be her profession, too.

“I grew up in my grandmother’s and father’s restaurants here in Atlanta,” Patridge said in a recent phone call. “My father also worked at Morris Brown in the hospitality lab, which was like a restaurant. I basically lived at Morris Brown as a young child, and I fell in love with food. But, my father didn’t want his kids to go the chef route, because it’s not an easy life, with a lot of work and a lot of hours.”

Patridge said she first thought she might become a doctor or a lawyer, but “after bouncing around a bit,” she ended up working at Morehouse as the catering director. “I’d have 10-15 events a day,” she said. “That’s how I kind of fell in love with food, again.”

However, after giving birth to two children, and gaining 60 pounds, Patridge said she reached a turning point about seven years ago, and decided she would use her cooking skills to make healthier food for herself, as well as others.

After leaving Morehouse, she moved into a commercial kitchen, where her company, Eat Urban Fresh, creates meal kits, and does meal prep, corporate catering and events.

In addition, Patridge is working with Hungry at Home, a no-contact catering and delivery platform that provides access to healthy, chef-made meals.

“We have a lot of different products,” she said. “We make our own organic seasonings, and our own dressings that we sell. But, even with all that, it took me a long time before I would call myself a chef. But, I guess I am doing this for real now.”

With the pandemic, Patridge said her business changed, but she has remained very busy.

“A lot of companies stopped having events, but our meal prep and meal kit business took off,” she said. “That’s where I started, and I know the ins and outs like nobody’s business, so that’s pretty much been our core.”

As a Black woman, Patridge said she’s had to work harder to be recognized as a chef — especially one dedicated to making healthy food.

“As Black women chefs, we get compartmentalized into a group, where we make fried chicken and soul food,” she said. “And, that is totally what I don’t cook. I cook healthy food. I want people to be healthy, and learn that healthy food can be delicious.”

Veggie kabobs cooked on a grill are one of chef Devika Patridge’s favorite ways to eat vegetables. CONTRIBUTED BY DEVIKA PATRIDGE

RECIPE
Grilled Veggie Kabobs With Garlic Aioli 

This is one of Devika Patridges’s favorite ways to eat veggies. “They are amazing,” she said, “especially for those who want that grilled kabob flavor without the meat.”

Grilled Veggie Kabobs With Garlic Aioli 
  • For the kabobs:
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • baby portabella mushrooms
  • heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • wooden sticks
  • olive oil
  • pink Himalayan salt to taste
  • granulated garlic to taste
  • black or white pepper to taste
  • Make sure the grill is prepped and hot. Cooking on a cold grill will overcook and dry out your veggies.
  • Place strips of foil directly on the grill, large enough to protect the end of the kabob sticks from becoming too hot or burned.
  • Slice or dice all the veggies at least 2 inches thick.
  • Coat the veggies in a thin layer of olive oil.
  • Lightly season the veggies with salt, granulated garlic and pepper.
  • Tightly skewer the veggies on wooden sticks, keeping the same pattern for each.
  • Leave at least 4 inches at the bottom of each kabob for holding.
  • Place the kabobs on the grill.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • Turn the kabobs once, halfway through the cooking time.
  • Remove from the grill and plate; top with aioli and parsley.Makes six to eight servings.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on six: 91 calories (percent of calories from fat, 70), 2 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 7 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 9 milligrams sodium
For the garlic aioli
  • 2 cups vegan mayonnaise
  • juice from one freshly squeezed lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pink Himalayan salt to taste
  • Blend the mayonnaise, garlic and olive oil thoroughly.
  • Add lemon juice, paprika and salt to the mixture, and mix well. Makes about 2½ cups.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per tablespoon: 86 calories (percent of calories from fat, 95), trace protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, trace fiber, 9 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 67 milligrams sodium

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