Born and raised in Auburn, Alabama, Nealey Dozier Thompson knows a thing or two about down-home cooking. Where she's from, Southern traditions run deep — sweet tea, soul food, and SEC football are not only revered, they’re religion.
Nealey's roots may be strong, but her love of food and adventure proved stronger. After college graduation, she packed up her bags and headed West to follow her dreams. A chance meeting and dumb luck landed her planning fabulous soirees for Hollywood's A-list, but it turned out there was more to the job than sipping on champagne and sampling wedding cakes. (Damn!)
Overwhelmed with crazy hours and even crazier brides, she did what any young twenty-something would do: she quit her "dream job" and applied to culinary school. She quickly hit her stride, attending classes by day and eating her way through the city by night. She continued her education alongside an esteemed L.A. cookbook author, where a day's work could mean navigating the renowned Santa Monica Farmers' Market or testing delicious, seasonally-inspired recipes for print. (Yep, it was as tough as it sounds.)
Nealey didn't know it then, but what started out as a link to her past became the key to her future. After a lifetime of gleaning taste memories from her travels around the world, it was only natural for her to return to the Southern cooking she cherished most. She began recreating the retro recipes of her youth, but this time without any help from a can. Seven years later her calling card is her modern spin on traditional American comfort food.
While Nealey's palate constantly evolves as her quest for culinary perfection continues, she insists her home-grown mission will always ring true. Because a wise man once said, "you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl." Here, here.
Welcome to Dixie Caviar, y'all!