The Essential Ingredients (Soiree Special Promotion): Tandra Watkins of Ashley’s and The Capital Bar

Tandra Watkins  
Pastry Chef, Ashley’s Restaurant and The Capital Bar & Grill
111 West Markham St., Little Rock

Most Gratifying Moments 
I have had many wonderful and memorable moments in my career, but there is one that sticks out the most just because I am a sucker for a good love story and happy endings and all. A few years ago we had a family coming into Ashley’s to celebrate their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Half a century… that’s quite a celebration and when I found out that the bride had never had a wedding cake all those years ago, I had to make her one for her golden anniversary. My team and I prepared a beautiful wedding cake for them and they were absolutely thrilled and surprised by it all. It was such a sweet moment to see the couple cutting into their wedding cake after all those years surrounded by the family that they raised together… I love that stuff!

Recipe for Success

1 | History

I have been cooking for 22 years, doing every job in the kitchen from the bottom on up.

2 | Inspiration

Cooking good food excites me and I enjoy taking care of people.

3 | R&D

Food memories, other chefs, songs, classic dishes.

4 | Schedule

However long it takes to get it all done.

5 | Home

I cook soups and stews in the cold months and lighter fare like salads when it’s warm. But Sunday is always chicken.

6 | Complicated

Our croissants that we serve for breakfast in Ashley’s. They require time to build up the layers of butter and pastry!

7 | Popular

Right now, I suppose it would be our Banana Pain Perdu with Peanut Butter Caramel, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Salty Bacon.

8 | Plan B

Writing or something in the arts.

9 | Dream Guest

My dad. He passed long before I found my feet as a chef.

10 | Star

I like Anthony Bourdain from “No Reservations”


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