Odessa Davis brings home cooking to a kitchen near you

Odessa Davis. Photo courtesy of Odessa Davis

When baking her much beloved oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies, caterer Odessa Davis follows specific steps to get them just right.

“Butter has to be room temperature, and you’ve got to whip it, whip it for a long time to get that consistency,” said Davis, a resident of Silver Spring and owner of Odessa’s Home Cooking. “I’ve got a few videos on Facebook where I have my friends try it, and they’re fighting over the food.”

Through her 2-year-old business, Davis caters events (weddings, baby showers), prepares meals and offers cooking classes. Around 90 percent of her clients are from Montgomery County, she said. Her slogan is, “If you don’t feel like cooking, contact me.”

This summer, Davis began renting space in a commercial kitchen in Baltimore. It’s less expensive than Montgomery County, she said. Previously, she had prepared her meals in the kitchens of her clients.

Davis said her menu focuses on made-from-scratch Southern cooking. She can adapt her menu to her clients’ needs, such as if they are diabetic. Her most popular dishes are her fried chicken, fried pork chops and red rice. Her cookies, as was noted, are beloved.

Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Davis’ initial interest in cooking arose largely out of necessity when she was 8. She was living with her mother after her parents divorced. But it was her father who could cook. Davis remembers many evenings of takeout and TV dinners.

Finally she couldn’t take it anymore. She called up her father and asked him how to make fried chicken.

“My mom came home. She was like, ‘Oh, what smells good?’” Davis said. “But then she got mad at me because I touched the stove when she wasn’t home.”

She was hooked.

When she was 10, Davis and her mother moved to Montgomery County, where her mother started working for the city of Rockville in an administrative role. She later became a real estate agent. Davis attended John F. Kennedy High School in Glenmont, graduating in 2006.

Davis attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami, and after found employment as a cook with the Miami Dolphins.

But she realized she wanted to be an owner of a food business, not a chef. So she went back to school and received an associate’s degree in business management from Montgomery College, graduating with honors and starting her business. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Over the next five or six years, Davis said she hopes to either have her own storefront or to begin renting space at a commercial kitchen in Montgomery County. She also hopes to continue her work teaching cooking classes to special needs students, both children and adults.

“And some are really into cooking or don’t know how to cook for themselves, and a lot of them live on their own,” Davis said. “So I wanted them to be as independent as possible.”

Odessa’s Budget Meal

Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 lb. ground turkey
1 can of baked beans
2 Tbsp. ketchup
Salt to taste
1 pack hot dogs
1 onion
2 Tbsp. oil
Black Pepper to taste
1 cup rice
2 cups water

l Rinse the rice
l Put rice and water in a microwave bowl.
l Put it in the microwave for 15 minutes.
l Cut the hot dog and onions into small pieces.
l Heat the pan with oil.
l Add the ground turkey, salt and pepper to the pan.
l Cook until golden brown.
l Take the ground turkey out, place it in a bowl.
l Add the hot dogs.
l Cook until golden brown.
l Then add the onion.
l Cook the onion until translucent.
l Add the ground turkey, baked beans and ketchup.
l Put the heat on low.
l Cook the mixture for 20 minutes.
l Take the rice out (if the rice still not cooked add a little more water and place it back into the microwave for another 5 minutes.)
l After the food is done :
l Place the rice into a bowl then the meat mixture .

Breakfast Sandwich

Cook Time: 1hour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter
¾ cup buttermilk
1 egg
¼ milk

Breakfast Sausage

l Heat the oven to 450F. Line the cookie sheet with foil. Spray cooking spray onto the foil.
l Cut the butter into cubes.
l Place the butter and buttermilk into the freezer.
l In the bowl add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt
l Mix the dry ingredients with a fork.
l Add the cube butter into the dry ingredients.
l Mash the butter into the dry ingredients. (Butter should be broken up into tiny pieces into the dry ingredients.)
l Measure out the buttermilk and pour into the bowl.
l Gently mix the batter into the bowl.
l Sprinkle flour onto the counter and place the dough onto the flour.
l Spread the dough into 1 inch thickness.
l Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough and place it onto the cookie sheet.
l Add the egg and milk into a small bowl.
l Mix it well.
l Spread the egg mixture onto the biscuits.
l Place the biscuits into the oven for 15 minutes.
l Cook the sausage for a few minutes on each side until it is golden brown.
l Once the biscuits are done, cut one in half and place the egg and sausage in between the biscuit slice.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Total Time: 1 hour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pack of bacon

l Combine the wet ingredients together (buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract).
l In another bowl combine the dry ingredients together (all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar).
l Then whisk the dry ingredients together.
l Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
l Whisk the batter together (make sure there is no lumps).
l Place the batter to the side for 10 minutes.
l Heat the frying pan over medium heat.
l Spray the frying pan.
l Use a ½ cup to scoop the batter into the pan for each pancake.
l Make sure the pancakes are not touching each other.
l Flip the pancake when you see the bubbles.
l Cook the other side until golden brown.
l Then take them out of the pan.
l ENJOY!!!


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