Introduced by

Have you met Vanessa Smith?

“Vanessa is not a foodie, she is not a chef and she is not writer. Vanessa is a storyteller.”

Hi! Have you met Vanessa Smith?

Despite what you think you know, from my perspective Vanessa Smith is not a foodie, she is not a chef and she is not writer. Vanessa is a storyteller. She is that person who shares the stories of local chefs and gives you the best rundowns of local eateries via Charlotte Agenda. You can always count Vanessa’s stories to go below the surface, because there is a skillfulness her ability to build a connection between the reader and the subject of an article. (and dudes, she recently landed on the list of Charlotte’s Best Female Chefs by Thrillest)

Vanessa and I cannot credit our friendship to a mutual love of cuisine or our “fangirl-ism” of the Charlotte culinary scene. The basis of our friendship began when we realized that we both storytellers, we both see a disconnect and we are filling in the gap in the best way we each know how. I am painting the stories of Charlotte’s crazy creative cuisines madness on canvas with my #RuminateCLT and Vanessa is telling their stories in word thru Charlotte Agenda. As serious as we are about this work, we also hope to create a #PimpCLT phenomenon. Do good, tell good, laugh good.

The mastery of storytelling is like a double-edged sword, you always want your identity to be incognito, but it is often at the risk of your work being more recognizable than your own face when you are in a crowd of peers and for that reason I am writing this article because we should all get to know Vanessa Smith, the lady behind the kitchen and words of the stories she tells.

I asked her 6 questions. Her answers are below.

What kind of music do you like to listen to in the kitchen?

I’m very intuitive while in the kitchen. What I listen to depends on my mood. The other day I was feeling goofy and wanted to sing a long, so I declared it oldies day and we listened to The Beatles Pandora station. A lot of times I just want a “chill” sort of feel in the kitchen. So I’m a frequent listener of the Pandora stations: Florence and the Machines, 311and Ray LaMontagne. When I’m feeling tired at the end of the night, to pump myself and the staff up to clean up shop, I play a fun station like Black Eyed Peas or something. It’s hilarious to watch everyone let loose.

What fascinates you most about people?

People in general, are fascinating. I’m especially amazed by the people in Charlotte. So many people that live here have that “go getter”, positive attitude. Every time I meet someone new, it’s awesome to hear their story. We all have a past and those pasts help shape our future and who we are today. It’s fun to see what motivates people and see what they are most passionate about. I feel like passion is contagious, it rubs off on people and is totally inspiring.

What was the last thing you cooked? (for yourself or guests)

Last night I cooked myself a stir fry for dinner. Rice noodles, a mish mash of vegetables all sautéed together with a peanuty and soy type of sauce. I’ve had a serious craving for Asian food lately. At the restaurant I last made Juevos Rancheros. It was crazy good.

Where are you ripe with talent and where do you quickly deflate?

I’m ripe with talent when it comes to being creative and cooking food. My mind is constantly running. If I couldn’t be creative, I’m not sure what I’d do. Food runs my life. Whether it’s at work and I’m thinking of specials or menu ideas, or at home thinking about what I’m going to eat that day. It consumes me.

Where I deflate would probably be my confidence. I’m constantly thinking, “Is this good enough?” “Am I good enough?”. I’m always second guessing myself. This probably stems from my past, but I try to change this mindset everyday. I try to surround myself with positive people. Life is too short to live in a constant state of negativity. I think I’ve come a long way from that.

What are two things are you looking forward to most for what’s left of 2015?

My friend’s wedding that I’m a bridesmaid in and the Fall season in general. Boots, scarves, sweaters, pumpkin, cool weather, leaves changing, Thanksgiving, apples, not having to cut my grass [hallelujah!]

What kinda of food would you be?

A taco.

Learn more about Vanessa by connecting with her on Twitter and instagram. Talking to her in real life, read her articles in Charlotte Agenda and eat her food at Harvest Moon Grille in Lake Norman.

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