Meet Lokelani Alabanza: The Face Behind Hattie Jane’s Creamery’s Delicious Homemade Flavors

Loki Headshot_Cropped

Inventing unique ice cream flavors such as ‘Nana Puddin’, Cereal Bowl or The Elvis is a job that most of us only dream of. However, for Lokelani Alabanza, the executive pastry chef at Hattie Jane’s Creamery, this dream is a reality. As if her job wasn’t interesting enough, Lokelani’s story spans worldwide, from Las Vegas all the way to Japan.

Originally from the Bay Area in California, Lokelani was raised in Oregon. After traveling through Europe post-graduation, she landed her first kitchen job in Svendborg, Denmark. What was supposed to be a six-week excursion turned into a six-month stay.

Upon her return to the States, Lokelani enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute in Essex Junction, Vt., which is the alma mater of Alton Brown from The Food Network. She completed several culinary internships in Oregon, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“Although I went to culinary school to be a chef, my first position after graduating was as a pastry chef in LA.” Lokelani said. “It came naturally and just stuck.”

Lokelani’s culinary career has taken her all over the world, presenting her with extraordinary opportunities.  Not only did she work in actress Eva Longoria’s LA restaurant, Beso Hollywood, she opened her own hand pie company while working at Bouchon in Las Vegas. She was even a personal chef in Japan while her husband, now a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was stationed there.

“In Japan, I made it a point to shop local. I would go to local farmers market and buy fresh fish,” she said.

After finding her way to Nashville, Lokelani became the executive pastry chef at The Hutton Hotel. It was during that time that she learned about A. Marshall Family Foods.

“A good friend of mine started working at Homestead Manor and loved it,” Lokelani said. “Through that friendship, I met Corey King (executive chef at Homestead) and the rest of the A. Marshall team.”

In addition to her position at Hattie Jane’s, Lokelani is also the executive pastry chef at Harvest at Homestead Manor and plans to revamp its dessert menu soon.

“The dessert menu at Harvest has been so popular, but it’s been the same for a while,” she said. “I’m ready to shake it up.”

Lokelani says she most enjoys composing dishes. From donuts to tarts, she likes the fun and challenge of putting it all together. However, even though she enjoys working with desserts, Lokelani said she doesn’t have a big sweet tooth.

“I’d really rather just have meat and potatoes,” she said. “When it comes to sweets, I like bready things like bread pudding or almond croissants.”

On September 8, Lokelani will celebrate her one year Nashvillian anniversary since moving from Las Vegas. In her time here, she has had several stand out dining experiences, including a “really beautiful dinner” at Rolf & Daughters and a recent Sunday spent at 5 Points Pizza and Bar 308. While she’s working on creating sweet treats, she’s found friends here who keep her favorite foods in mind.

“One of my friends here often brings me Bahn Mi sandwiches,” she said. “I grew up around Asian flavors, so that’s a comfort food for me.”

Lokelani is looking forward to working further with Claire Crowell, COO of A. Marshall Family Foods and co-owner of Hattie Jane’s, which she calls a beautiful execution of Claire’s vision.

“Overall it’s been really great watching Claire’s vision transpire,” she said. Everyone walks in the door and says ‘Wow!’” She’s created this space that’s so beautiful, and it has been so great to witness. It feels good knowing that we can communicate, and I can experiment with different things.”

We are thrilled to have Lokelani on our team and look forward to seeing her creativity shine through on Hattie Jane’s Creamery’s rotating menu and at Harvest at Homestead Manor!

 

Puckett’s Boat House welcomes Keith Simpkins to our Uncorked Series!

Uncorked CollagePuckett’s Boat House is privileged to have Keith Simpkins lead the remaining sessions of Uncorked, our monthly wine tasting series. A native of Nashville, Keith previously served as Bar Manager at The Southern in downtown Nashville, where he jumped on the fast track to learning about wines which quickly ignited a passion for the experience.  

He is currently a sales manager for Grainger, and says that working outside of the industry has reminded him of his affinity for exploring and teaching the vast complexities of wine on a regular basis.

Leading “Uncorked” on Tuesday, August 16, Keith will encourage guests to keep an open mind as together they taste and discuss four pinot noirs from different regions around the world.

“Wine is whatever you want it to be,” Keith said. “Pinot noir is one of the elegant wines of the world — some of the most affordable and the most expensive — and I am looking forward to engaging with our guests about the differences and similarities within the same varietal. To me, the best part about wine is that there’s no right or wrong answer. Whatever you taste, that’s what you taste and I love to talk about the different flavors and sensations that people will pick up on.”

If you would like more info on future Uncorked events, visit the Puckett’s Boat House website.

Join the Puckett’s Family!

Pucketts At Work-6883Photo provided by our very own Jami Joe.

Puckett’s in downtown Nashville is hiring for all positions, and we can’t think of a better way to showcase the Puckett’s spirit than by sharing first-hand experiences from members of our team! If you want to be part of our Puckett’s family just like Victor and Jami, please come by our job fair at the restaurant, located at 500 Church St., on Wednesday, August 10 between 8 – 10 AM or 2 – 6 PM. Bring a valid photo ID; we will have applications on-site. We are looking forward to meeting you!

Puckett’s Offers Opportunities for all Employees

Kitchen Manager, Victor Delgado, is a testament to the opportunity Puckett’s offers for their employees to grow. Victor’s journey at Puckett’s began six years ago when he was hired as a cook. He eventually worked his way up to kitchen manager, where his favorite part of the job is working together with everyone in the “Puckett’s family.”

“It feels like family here,” Victor said. “People who work here are happy, and the customers can tell.”

Victor wants people who are interested in working at Puckett’s to know that the restaurant offers opportunities for everyone, and that the people are good at communicating, listening to what everyone has to say.

He is looking forward to continuing his journey with Puckett’s.

Thanks to the Marshall family I have been working here for years, and I hope for many more to come.”

It’s the Little Things That Makes Puckett’s Stand Out

Working at Puckett’s definitely changed the life of waitress Jami Joe. When she pulled into Nashville from Florida in 2012, she didn’t know anyone and was looking for a job. She saw on Facebook that Puckett’s was hiring, so she applied and interviewed.

When she started training two days later, the first person she met was Craig, her future husband. In addition to her husband, Puckett’s has provided Jami with lifelong friends.

“I can count on these people for anything,” Jami said. “At Puckett’s the people come first, whether it’s a family emergency or your car breaks down- they care about you.”

Although, Puckett’s has grown rapidly over the four years Jami has been there, she believes it just means more opportunities. Jami has many responsibilities within the restaurant, including coordinating large parties and training new employees.

“At the heart of it all, it’s still a family owned business with family values,” Jami Joe said.

Although Jami has worked for larger restaurants, she believes Puckett’s is special because of the camaraderie that exists between everyone. She says it’s these small things, like the family feel, that make Puckett’s stand out from the rest.

“Any issues I’ve ever had with a customer or scheduling, they’ve never batted an eye,” Jami said.

WHO: Puckett’s 5th & Church

WHAT: Job Fair; hiring for all positions

WHEN: Wednesday, August 10; 8 – 10 AM and 2 – 6 PM

WHERE: 500 Church St., Nashville, TN 37219

Puckett’s Peach-Glazed Pork Chop Recipe Revealed!

Puckett's- Food-Pork Chop-3

We made just a few changes to the Puckett’s menu this summer, and our new Peach-Glazed Pork Chop has quickly become one our most popular dishes! Of course, we’re always hoping you’ll stop by the restaurant to visit and let us cook for you, but we figured we’d be doing everyone a disservice by keeping the recipe to ourselves!

Chef Billy Hearn, from our downtown Nashville location, went on Channel 5’s Talk of the Town recently and boy, did he make us hungry! You’ll have to watch the segment to get the recipe but we’ll give you a tip — it’s best to brine the pork chops for 12-24 hours so they’ll be nice and juicy, so if you’re planning on serving this to your nearest and dearest, you’ll want to get started early! We add some color to the plate and serve the peach-glazed pork chop with our smashed sweet potatoes and flat ironed green beans. (P.S. – if you try out this recipe at home, you have to promise to post a picture on Instagram and tag @puckettsgrocery so we can admire it!)

Did you catch that beautiful shot of our Music City Hot Chicken Sandwich at the end? Like Chef Billy said, it’s just $5 if you order it from Puckett’s 5th & Church through OrderUp this week (July 25th – July 31st.) We’re not sure there’s a better deal around! And, of course, OrderUp can deliver the rest of our menu to all of you in the Nashville area at any time – just click the link on our website and get to ordering!

Calling all hot chicken lovers!

Puckett's- Food-Hot Chicken Sandwich-71

As many of y’all know, hot chicken is a special food item taken very seriously in Nashville, and Puckett’s is proud to offer our own twist on the dish. The Music City Hot Chicken Sandwich is a marinated, spicy fried chicken served on buttery Texas toast. This fiery sensation is an irresistible Nashville tradition and has everybody talking!

BUT it gets even hotter…

From Monday, July 25 to Sunday, July 31, OrderUp is featuring our Music City Hot Chicken Sandwich as their Deal of the Week during Hot Chicken Month to bring this spicy goodness right to your doorstep for just $5! It’s as simple as this: download the OrderUp app, search Puckett’s Restaurant, place your order online, and have the Music City Hot Chicken Sandwich delivered right to you!

This is a deal you won’t want to miss!

Who: Puckett’s 5th & Church in Nashville, OrderUp, & YOU!

What: Puckett’s Music City Hot Chicken Sandwich for just $5 purchased through OrderUp

When: Monday, July 25 – Sunday, July 31

Where: Delivered right to your doorstep!

Why: Why not, y’all?!