Meet Natalie Keng, the Founder and Owner of Chinese Southern Belle, a company whose sauces blend classic Asian flavor with traditional Southern ingredients. Natalie's background in good food is one that extends through both generations and continents, and pays homage to the way that food can connect people of different cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. We're excited to feature Natalie's sauces, made right here in Atlanta, in our menus.
What drives your passion for food?
Growing up as the only Asian kid in school in Smyrna, Georgia was a blessing and a curse. Mom would comfort me with Pepper Steak, sweet Vidalia onions, Carolina fried rice, and Hot Hunan Catfish (that she caught from Lake Allatoona). We all pitched in at the family restaurant and worked after school and on weekends. Friday Night Lights became Friday Night Fryer and I stood on a beer box to ring up customers. We had the best wings (before they were trendy) and egg rolls (with homemade sweet and sour sauce, of course) and Dad made the sweet iced tea! Friends loved our dinner parties and had many questions about cooking, ingredients, everything! They always asked for restaurant recommendations and how to eat out authentic. Then came questions about shopping. I was inspired, and Chinese Southern Belle was born! Every day, I continue what my parents' vision to be the bridge and the change around food, health and culture. It's a small, local company with a big vision, and it's still evolving. A regular job just isn't appealing anymore!