Charlotte's leading female chef and entrepreneur, Lisa Brooks and her trailblazing team of female chefs have announced a monthly pop-up dining experience called Mattie’s Front Porch: an intimate monthly multi-course dinner series showcasing Low-Country and Southern coastal cuisine.

Chef Brooks, a recent finalist on food competition show Chopped, has had a lifelong passion with food. After gaining a formal culinary education, she went on to become a personal chef. Speaking on her cooking style she says, “The approach to my cuisine is to pair my Southern background, family recipes and traditions with my classic French culinary training. To create reimagined and elevated Low Country and Southern Cuisine.”

Mattie's Front Porch opened with the mission of welcoming all who are insatiably curious about elevated Southern cuisine to come together once a month to rediscover the joy that sharing a meal with others brings. The dining series was inspired by the leading women in Chef Brook’s family, specifically her grandmother, Mattie. Each event is carefully curated to share parts of Chef Brook’s life through new and inventive cuisines in an intimate setting with a maximum of only 24 guests at each dinner. The dinner party is held at a cozy pop-up location in Charlotte to provide a more authentic, at-home feel.

Image: courtesy of Amanda Richardson Brand photography

To make the series even more exciting, each month has a distinct culinary theme and refreshed menu. August's menu is a signature family-style Sunday Dinner and will feature an array of classic Southern staples served buffet style. There will also be a reading from and signing of Chef Lisa's debut cookbook "The Joy of the Feast." Tickets are available for purchase here.

Today Chef Brooks shares one of her famous dessert recipes, so you can recreate the indulgent Southern classics at home.

Brown Sugar Pecan Sweet Potato Pie

Image: courtesy of Amanda Richardson


For Pie Filling

  • 2 Ibs sweet potatoes (about 4
  • medium)
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt

For Topping

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick)

For Pie Crust

  • 2 ½  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp frozen butter, chopped
  • ¾ cup vegetable shortening, cold 
  • ½ cup ice-cold water


For Crust

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. (A food processor makes this step very easy.) Drizzle cold water in and mix until a ball of dough forms. Knead dough on floured surface just a few times. Split the dough into two halves and wrap and refrigerate at least two hours. Roll out the chilled pie dough discs and place into pie pans. Form to fit pans and cut away any excess.

For Topping:

Add butter, dark brown sugar, and chopped pecans to a small bowl and gentle combine until a crumble forms.

For Pie Filling

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place sweet potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water, then bring to a boil. Boil for 45-55 minutes until soft. Drain the boiling water and run the potatoes under very cold water. The skin should peel off easily. Place peeled potatoes into a mixer bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the potatoes on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the remaining filling ingredients and beat on high speed until smooth and combined. Spread filling into prepared pie crust. Add crumble topping mixture to the top of the pie and bake for 55-60 minutes. Let cool two hours on cooling rack.