Story by JK Devine
As a young man, Tim Broxton planned to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. He was going to be a lawyer.
After the Gainesville native graduated from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and joined his father’s law firm, life dealt him a heavy blow. His mother died in 2004 from surgical complications of uterine cancer. Three years later, his father died of heart disease.
To deal with these life-altering events, Broxton escaped to Spain for a month to visit a friend. In San Sebastián, he fell in love with the country, its culture and especially the food. This single experience was followed by yearly trips to Europe until 2008, changing Broxton’s perspective. But it wasn’t until a conversation at a coffeehouse in downtown Gainesville that led Broxton to commit to a new path.
“I was in Inman Perk studying for the bar exam … and mentioned to a guy there that it would be great if they had good food here,” he said.
The man, who Broxton later discovered was one of the owners, agreed. The two discussed what kind of food would pair well with the coffee. Broxton then had an epiphany. He could help people eat better by offering better quality food.
“We were talking about creating the premier food and coffee combination in Georgia,” he said, indicating he could make the food. “That was the beginning of Easy B’s.”
In 2010, Broxton established his custom-catering business Easy B’s Kitchen at 1547 Riverside Drive in Gainesville.
Broxton’s older brother, Joel, said he always knew his brother’s passion was food.
“At family events, we always had the more memorable things to eat,” he said. “At Callaway Gardens, he cooked a rack of lamb. It was the most amazing meal I’ve ever had.”
Now, Tim Broxton is tackling two new culinary projects.
The first will be Easy B’s Kitchen will sell its food inside Inman Perk, the place where he changed his career from lawyer to chef. He struck the deal recently.
This second is Broxton starting pop-up restaurants in Hall County.
“I saw (in Spain) that you could eat healthy by eating fresh local ingredients and not have to embellish them with unnecessary things,” the 45-year-old man said. “And I would like to share my unique experience through pop-up restaurants.”
Broxton did just that with his first pop-up July 8 at Sunset Cove Marina.
Brockton chose a Caribbean-theme based on his travels to the islands in the Gulf of Mexico.
His menu included:
• St. Bart’s shrimp ceviche and Nassau mixed fruit
• St. Martin snapper grilled in banana leaves
• Jamaican jerk chicken
• Cayman Calypso rice
• St. Croix fried plantains
• Granada coconut cake
• Barbados rum cake
Broxton said he wants to conduct a pop-up restaurant every four to six weeks with a different theme. In fact, he said his next one will focus on Spanish food featuring tapas.
“I’m wooed by the food in that country,” he told his more than a dozen guests in July.
A date had yet to be set for the next pop-up at press time, but Broxton seems primed to succeed. Some of his guests already acquainted with his culinary skills gushed about the food at the July pop-up.
“He makes the best ceviche in North Georgia,” said Juliet Watson, who grew up with Broxton. “He did my parents 50th wedding anniversary. The tapas were wonderful. They were to die for.”
Newcomers to Broxton’s food were also pleased with the Caribbean menu at the pop-up.
“I loved the fried plantain. The rice was awesome,” said Barbara Kesler, who was eating Broxton’s food for the first time. “The chicken was good, tender and perfectly cooked. It was cooked so well that you could cut it with a fork. You didn’t need a knife.”
Broxton was pleased overall with the food he served at his first pop-up restaurant, especially since he took his time finding the right ingredients.
“The hardest thing to do is to find the highest-quality ingredients,” he said. “You have to go to numerous sources such as farmers markets and fish markets.”
But the most important was the taste.
“If I taste it, and I’m happy with it, then it’s a success,” he said.
Red Snapper In Banana Leaf
12 x 12 Banana leaf
1 six ounce filet of Red or Pink Sanpper
1 Green onion or spring onion
4-6 matchstick sized slices of red bell pepper
1/4 Manzano pepper sliced thinly
1 tsp. coconut milk
2 thin slices of onion
Directions: Heat frying pan until hot. Add 1 tsp. canola or sunflower oil and heat fish on both sides for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Place seared snapper in banana leaf, fold green onion (scallion) in half and place on top of fish along with the peppers and lemon.
Grilling: If using charcoal, after coals have greyed, push coals to one side and place parcel on hot grill and grill indirectly until fish reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.. You may grill over direct fire but the banana leaf will scorch. The fish will be protected, so the end result (taste) will be the same; however, the leaf will not present as well. Serve immediately. Using scissors, cut a slit down the center and down the sides of 1/2 of the leaf. Note: Use caution as hot steam will emanate from the leaf when opening.
Choose the oldest looking plantains possible yellowish black. The riper plantains are sweeter than the ones that are all yellow (not as ripe).
Slice plantains perpendicularly into biased strips 1/4 inch thick or to taste Heat frying oil (peanut, canola or sunflower) to 355 degrees F. and fry until golden brown. Salt immediately upon placing the cooked plantains on a paper-towel lined plate.