How the catering of Southern Hospitality came to be— Two homes with two kitchens…
Martha grew up in south Alabama in an extended family home with two kitchens. Her Grandmother and great aunts had a kitchen with a wood burning as well as an electric stove. Her immediate family had a kitchen housed in a light-filled addition to the 1850’s home. Lev Hicks grew up in a large family with a strong tradition of eating and enjoying good food and family. His great grandparents were bakers after immigrating from Germany to Washington D.C.
When Lev and Martha married, they continued the traditions of entertaining and enjoying food and family. Their home became “a place to come to.” In the early 80’s, Martha began to cook for others out of her home kitchen. The space became too small and the volume became too great to continue without change. So change they did. In 1984, Lev and Martha built a commercial kitchen attached to their home. It was one of the first in the state of Alabama— hence, another home with two kitchens.
In 1985, Lev joined Martha in full-time catering. Working and cooking together, they built a thriving business. Each brought complimentary skills to the table, but both loved food and cooking. The opening of The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, a gift to the State of Alabama by Carolyn and Red Blount, signaled a new chapter in Southern Hospitality’s history. Lev and Martha catered all the Blount’s personal parties that weekend. It was a personal and business relationship that included all manner of fabulous entertainments. Lev and Martha had the honor of designing the kitchen housed under the Conservatory at the Blount’s estate, Wynfield. Also during part of that time, Southern Hospitality had the concession at The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art.
After Lev died of leukemia in 1999, Southern Hospitality understandably went through a period of mourning, then rethinking, and, finally, reinvention.
Today Martha and her staff, including Judy Baker, Barbara Menefee, and Polly Hugley, continue to provide memorable and noteworthy cuisine for an array of magical events, large and small. Most importantly, they never stop learning, growing, and enjoying what they do while preparing great meals for their wonderful clients.
Always learning, growing, and enjoying what they do… Join them for the tasting. In the words and spirit of Julia Childs— Bon Appetit!