Spaghetti, stuffed eggs, peanut butter


Chef Kim Wilcox ran her Knoxville restaurant for a full decade, but she never started her career with the intention of making grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream for a living. Wilcox previously worked in television until one day she realized she was not happy.

“I have always – all my life – loved to cook,” she told TODAY Food, adding that it was her family’s language of love. “And so I was like, ‘Why don’t I do something that, like, I really feel in my soul?'”

She started her restaurant business soon after and eventually bought a cafe in West Knoxville. Wilcox started out with simple sandwiches and soups, but his monthly grilled cheese specials quickly became a neighborhood talking point.

Wilcox poses at his restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee.Courtesy of Chris Grove

“It was so popular that when we tried to take them away people just begged us to bring them back,” she said with a laugh. “So that’s kind of how it happened.”

Of course, she kept track of each of her monthly specials that her customers couldn’t get enough of and now, after a decade of running It’s All So Yummy Café, Wilcox has published her own cookbook: “The Great Book. of Grilled Cheese. “

She kindly agreed to share three of her most original recipes with us.

Chris Grove

Arguably Wilcox’s wackiest recipe, his grilled spaghetti cheese has quite a story and it all started with rapper Eminem.

She was returning home from a music festival in Atlanta, Georgia, rapping to her hit “Lose Yourself” from the 2002 movie “8 Mile.”

“Her palms are sweaty, her knees are weak, her arms are heavy / There is already vomit on her sweater, mum’s spaghetti,” the song says.

That was when it came to Wilcox: a grilled spaghetti cheese.

Grilled peanut butter and cheddar cheese

Chris Grove

“It’s so weird but it’s so good,” Wilcox said with a laugh of his peanut butter and jelly grilled cheese. “It’s so good because you get the creaminess and a little bit of sweetness from the peanut butter and the cheddar cheese, it just has a little spiciness.

“That kind of breaks it all, you know sweet peanut butter and it’s just amazing.”

Grilled Cheese with Stuffed Eggs and Bacon

Chris Grove

This journalist’s personal favorite, the Wilcox Devil Egg Sandwich, was born because she realized that most people “don’t regularly make devil eggs at home.”

“They kind of keep them for a potluck or a vacation, so we started selling them at the cafe,” she explained. “And it was so popular that I decided one day to try to find some kind of grilled cheese that we could make that would incorporate this ingredient that we have.”

She imagined a “breakfast” sandwich and decided to just slice them up and add a few key ingredients – like their mild heat seasoning to give it a little kick.

“It’s a great combination of sweet and spicy, and that really says it all, it’s very, very popular,” she said.

As more people quit their jobs in search of happiness during this pandemic, Wilcox says she hopes people can learn from her experience.

“At one point, I realized that was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she said. “And I’m not getting any younger. And I used to say to my kids all the time, ‘I don’t care what you do with your life as long as you’re happy to do it, you know?'”

When she continued to read articles about people giving up their corporate jobs for gigs that made them happy – even if that could mean forgoing paychecks or more important benefits – she took it as a sign.

“I thought I was getting messages and decided to take a leap of faith,” she said. “You know it was scary – you have to adjust your lifestyle a little bit – but it’s been the most rewarding, exciting and fun thing I’ve ever done. I mean, that’s what I did. love, love, love to do. And that’s really important. “


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