It’s not easy getting noticed in off-the-beaten paths like Birmingham, AL. But talent has a way of eventually shining through. That’s been the case for Dolester Miles, the pastry chef for Highlands Bar & Grill, Chez Fonfon and Bottega, owned by Birmingham’s greatest culinary talent, Frank Stitt. Miles, a James Beard finalist this year for Outstanding Pastry Chef, started off working at Highlands as a pantry chef, but eventually moved up to pastries, where she’s emerged as a master of Southern desserts like cobblers and pies. Thirty years have passed, and Miles has finally gotten the notice she’s due. Here are her must-haves:
1. Lemons. I like the way they taste and the tart flavor they bring to a dessert.
2. Zester. I use it constantly for all of the zesting we do, but it also works well with nutmeg, chocolate and different spices.
3. Martha Stewart Cookbooks. I love every one of them.
4. Mountain Dew. I love it. I always have, but I’ve cut back over the years and now I only drink the diet version. I treat myself to one when I get home. At work, I only drink water throughout the day.
5. Lemon Bars: My favorite go-to recipe has always been my lemon bars. I make these at home and I always bring them to family gatherings. Everyone loves them. They’re not on the menus at Highlands Bar & Grill, Chez Fonfon or Bottega right now, but they could go on sometime soon.