Chef Brigitte O. Bledsoe, a mainstay in the kitchen of Miss Shirley’s Cafe for years, has left to lead Towson Tavern and sister operations The Rec Room and Torrent Lounge.
Brian Recher, president and owner of the Towson Tavern and its affiliates, announced in a press release that Bledsoe is adding her family’s recipes for Maryland crab cakes and soup, shrimp salad, deviled eggs, southern fried chicken and other items to the restaurant’s curbside pickup menu.
“We are very excited to have a chef of Brigitte’s caliber now lead our food service vision and operations,” Recher said in a statement.
Recher also said Towson Tavern is preparing for al fresco dining on Friday at 5 p.m. in accordance with Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement on Wednesday loosening coronavirus-related restrictions.
Bledsoe, who has the title of executive chef and director of operations for Towson Tavern and its affiliated kitchens, said in a statement she is excited to add Southern cuisine and favorites from the Chesapeake Bay region to the menu.
“My feeling of enthusiasm is off the charts,” she said in a statement. “It’s going to be a lot of fun to take my experience in the kitchen and elevate Towson Tavern’s food service program into something that will really ‘wow’ people.”
A spokesperson for Towson Tavern said Bledsoe is now in her second week at the restaurant group.
In a 2017 interview with Baltimore magazine, Bledsoe recalled how she started at Miss Shirley’s Cafe when it opened 13 years prior in Roland Park.
Founder Eddie Dopkin asked Bledsoe, who is self-taught, “How do I know you can cook?”
“And I said, ‘Come to my house,'” she recalled. “I made 10 to 15 different dishes, including the coconut cream stuffed French toast, and the crab cake and fried green tomatoes eggs Benedict that are still on the menu today.”
Miss Shirley’s has since grown to three locations, adding restaurants at the Inner Harbor and in Annapolis.
Jennifer McIllwain, director of marketing and public relations for Miss Shirley’s, said the restaurant has three executive chefs, two sous chefs and other team members to take over Bledsoe’s role.
“We are appreciative of Brigitte’s contributions over the years and wish her nothing but much happiness and success in her future endeavors!” McIllwain said.
In the 2017 interview, she also recounted how she learned to cook with her mom, former Baltimore magazine food editor and Sun restaurant critic Suzanne Loudermilk.
“At a young age, I remember pulling out my mom’s cookbooks saying, ‘Can we make this?'” she said. “And she would say, ‘Yes,’ and we would cook side by side.”
This story has been updated.
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