Southern France has been the dream of Chef Amanda Tommey Terbush for quite some time. Amanda is originally from Columbus, Georgia and comes from a long line of bakers and food enthusiasts. Her grandmother, Vela, was one of the best bakers in her family. Aunt Bevelyn, who has written and published several Southern-style cookbooks, with which Amanda takes much inspiration. And her mother, Cheryl, who is an amazing bread maker, most noted for her sweet rolls.
Amanda attended the University of Georgia and studied Therapeutic Recreation. This took her to New York City to work as a Recreation Therapist, working with such diverse populations as persons with AIDS , spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, children with psychiatric and psychological disorders, and persons with mild to moderate demetia. When Amanda and her husband, Alan, moved to Chicago, she took a job in a chocolate shop, to get out of the house and meet new people. This changed everything. Amanda fell in love with everything chocolate and was the catalyst for applying to pastry school. In 2008, Amanda was accepted to the prestigious French Pastry School in Chicago. Eager to learn, Amanda staged at the newly opened Chocolate Academy at Barry Callebaut and they offered her a job after graduation. Her time at the Chocolate Academy was a master class in pastry, working with world-renowned chefs and being exposed to new ideas and techniques. This knowledge would be the foundation for pushing Amanda and in 2010, she became the Pastry Chef for Cook au Vin/La Boulangerie in Chicago. With chocolate being such a passion, she left in 2012 and took an R&D position with Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Amanda's restless creative nature struggled between making chocolate and making pastries. During her time as Pastry Chef, Amanda was longing to work with chocolate. Now that she had the chance to work with chocolate and confections at Vosges, Amanda dreamed of creating pastries again. Thus, the idea of Southern France was born.