Chicago’s Very Own Soul Food Series: Michelle Thomas

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We visit a woman who left the law profession after practicing for almost 25 years. 50 year old Michelle Thomas gave it all up to go to cooking school at Chicago’s Kendall College.

She’s learning how to make Soul Food. And in her words, take it to the next level- Nouveau Soul Food if you will.  We talked with her, along with Chef Dina Altieri.

We found out why she’s so passionate about Soul Food.

Sautéed Collard Greens


1 Bunch fresh collard greens,  Stems removed & chopped into roughly 2” pieces

3 tablespoons of butter

½ cup onion, diced small

1-tablespoon garlic, mincedCVO2

Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

½ Cup Chicken stock

Kosher Salt, to taste

Ground white pepper, to taste


1) Wash greens in cold water

2) In large pot, bring hot water to boil, place collars in pan & stir for approx.. 3-4 minutes or until leaves are wilted & tender

3) Remove collards from pan, drain water

4) In large sauté pan, melt the butter, add onions, garlic & crushed red pepper flakes & sweat for 3-4 minutes.

5) Add chicken stock & collards to sauté pan.  Cook on high, stirring for 10 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.

6) Season with salt & pepper

Pistachio Crusted Catfish Medallions


1 Catfish fillet, sliced into thin medallions

Juice of 4 fresh lemons

1 Cup Pistachio nuts, finely ground

5 tablespoons Clarified butter

Kosher Salt, to taste

Ground white pepper, to taste


1) Place the medallions, one at a time into the lemon juice
2) Removed medallion from lemon juice & dredge in pistachio mixture, covering the medallion

3) Melt the clarified butter in the sauté pan

4) Place the medallions into the heated sauté pan and sauté for approximately 3-4 minutes or until medallion crust turns slightly brown & crunchy

5) Add salt & paper to taste