Donna Blevins Balzaratti

I am a Graduate of Houston Academy Class of 1978 Dothan, Alabama. I attended Auburn University and obtained a Bachelors degree in food service administration, and a minor in catering in 1983.  There was this catering class at Auburn that I talked my advisor into teaching and we were the hit of the faculty since we were so cheap.  Dr. Meyer just set us up as a business and turned us loose.  I learned by “jumpingin feet first” and my love affair with “catered affairs” began.

I worked in a hotel in Atlanta, the Buckhead area, as restaurant operations manager, and moonlighted as a “grunt,” in the Capital City Club downtown under Chef Don Hamilton. There, I learned about the professional kitchen.  Chef Don is now the executive chef of the Peppermill Resort in Reno, Nevada.  I opened the Basketcase in 1989 at Northside Mall.  Two years later, after seeing some success, I moved the business to present location on South Oates.



Donna’s doodads:

First cooking memory:

I learned to make “bear claws” (pineapple-filled yeast dough) in seventh grade home-ec class.  It was the only thing I learned to make and my parents still won’t eat them to this day.

Worst cooking disaster:

During a live TV show, the hot lights melted my linzer cookie dough into a pancake batter-consistency, and it ran off the counter

Choice for final meal:

Sushi and draft beer

Words to live by:

You can fix anything with whipping cream, butter and booze.