Q&A with Amelia Eesley
Restaurateur and operating partner of her namesake restaurant, Amelia’s
Amelia Eesley looks forward to planning the holiday meal at her home every year. The expectations are high, considering she’s a restaurateur and operating partner of her namesake restaurant, Amelia’s.
“Cooking at home is my creative and relaxing time,” Eesley says.
No matter the depth of the meal, holiday cooking creates and conjures up memories. Music playing in the background while trussing the turkey, drinking hot chocolate or making cookies for Santa.
For Amelia, those memories revolve around cooking with her mother. They always spent an entire day in the kitchen baking chocolate meringue pies and pumpkin pies, the familiar Christmas songs of Johnny Mathis and Bing Crosby serving as soundtrack.
“She would let me stir the chocolate while it came to a boil,” Eesley says. “As a kid, I thought my arm would fall off, but every year, I always looked forward to the magic of watching the watery chocolate soup turn into thick pie filling.”
Another family favorite recipe was her mom’s specialty, which she called Orange Goodie. A mix of cottage cheese, canned mandarin oranges, crushed walnuts, maraschino cherries and Cool Whip.
“I get a tear in my eye just remembering how happy that dish made everyone and how good it was,” she says.
Her cooking may have been simple, but it was Amelia’s mother’s sense of style that had such an influence on her into her adult and work life.
“We were not rich, nothing was expensive, but she took the time to detail everything, creating ambiance, which became something I recognized,” she says.
When her mother died, Amelia had just taken over the general manager position at Stonehorse Cafe. In a letter, her mother told her she had become a fine businesswoman.
“Parents cannot know what lessons will impact their child, what will really stick,” Eesley says. “My mother taught me the importance of being kind, the value of hard work and how to set a room. Unbeknownst to her, those lessons have been what I built my career on.”
If cooking at home isn’t your thing, Amelia’s, 122 N. Boston Ave., has a back dining room perfect for small holiday dinners. Chef Kevin Snell often does large roasts of pork, lamb or beef on the wood grill for those dinners.