Press release- Chef Regina Charboneau to join the executive team of The American Queen as Chef de Cuisine. The American Queen will return to the Mississippi River in April of 2012.
Chef Regina's vision for the American Queen is to re-create many American Classics using the best ingredients each season and location has to offer while creating some new dishes that become synonymous with the American Queen. The Mississippi river regions offer a plethora of ingredients to work with- sustainable fish and seafood, farm raised quail, free-range chickens, artisan cheeses, wild pecans, wild honey, wild rice, sweet corn, stone ground corn meals and grits with an abundance of citrus and vegetables. The key is to re-create without totally re-inventing a classic, I want to hold on to the core of what has made a dish an American Classic. Some dishes beg for a modern twist and some are best prepared the way they were meant to originally be prepared with the best ingredients available.
Chef Regina, a native
of Natchez, Mississippi has always said she has Mississippi River water running
through her veins and no matter where she travels she always wants to come home
to Natchez.She often has been
quoted as saying “I spent my first 23 years trying to get away from Natchez and
spent the next 23 trying to get home again”.
questioned what she wanted to do with her life- her passion was cooking.She had a good
foundation with her father coming from a long line of fine Louisiana cooks and
her Mother from a long line of Mississippi hostesses. Lucky for Regina her
Mother married a good cook because she was a charming hostess but could not
cook. Being a 7th generation Natchezian where entertaining is second
nature to it’s citizens made Regina a natural in the hospitality business. She
received the best of both worlds through her parents- a father who could cook
and mother who could set a pretty table.
several Southern Universities before ending up in Alaska in the late 70’s to
earn money to go to cooking school in Paris through having the adventure of
being a “camp cook” in the bush of Alaska. After Paris Regina returned to
Alaska and became the first woman hired by Club Corporation of America and took
the position of Executive Chef at the Tower Club in Anchorage, Alaska.
After gaining more
experience Regina decided to join in the American food scene in San Francisco
that was happening in the early 80’s. Regina opened her San Francisco restaurant,
Regina's at the Regis, located in the heart of the city's theater district
where she served award-winning contemporary southern cuisine into the mid 90’s,
Regina's was a favorite late night spot for theater-goers as well as directors,
musicians and actors such as Tim Curry, Shirley MacLaine, Danny Glover, Patti
Labelle, Lily Tomlin and many more. Regina became equally known for her genuine
Southern hospitality as she has as a Southern Chef. In 1995 Regina created and
opened the first Biscuits & Blues nightclub in San Francisco, which was
awarded a WC Handy award for being the Best Blues Club in America. Regina also
opened a Chi Chi Beignet in San Francisco, a martini bar and Regina’s Sonoma in
the wine country. During this time Regina was the Chef de Cuisine for Uncommon
Journeys two Vintage rail cars- The Los Angeles and The Houston. Author Paul
Theroux traveled on the train and wrote a wonderful story about his meals
prepared by Regina on part of that trip and the lovely experience of rail
travel on Vintage trains, this article was published in Gourmet Magazine and in
two books since then. Regina has been featured in several magazines, and has
appeared on the NBC Today show as well as many NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates.
In mid 2000 Regina
came full-circle to her hometown and to be a part of the prestigious Monmouth
Plantation. Regina and her husband then purchased and restored historic Twin
Oaks, circa 1832 where they reside. Twin Oaks has six guest rooms located in an
original dependency on the property and has become one of the most popular
guesthouses in Natchez. Twin Oaks is on tour during Spring Pilgrimage. Regina
hosts Southern Cooking Classes several times during the year at Twin Oaks.
As well as being a
regular guest Chef on “P. Allen Smith Gardens” television show, Regina has been
a Southern Food writer for “The Atlantic Monthly Journals” web site for the
past two years. Regina also recently received a “Cooking for Solutions” award
at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for being an advocate of sustainable seafood.