What is your favorite restaurant, Who inspires you?
A favorite restaurant is hard to pick, as I have favorites in each of my favorite cities.
A favorite restaurant in Atlanta is Lyla Lila. It’s like eating NYC quality food in an unpretentious, aesthically beautiful space. An “always changing with the seasons” culinary point of view is executed masterfully by talented chef/owner Craig Richards. Signature pastas and the giant-sized tiramisu are always on the table when we dine. (i’m also partial because Lyla lila was designed by my husband, Smith Hanes of Smith Hanes Studio).
Another favorite newcomer is Fishmonger. Colorful sidewalk seating greets you as you enter a fresh seafood mecca. Takeaway fresh seafood for dinner, or stay for the fan favorites: crudo, blackened grouper sandwich or salad. They don’t have a liquor license yet, so make a pit stop at Elemental Spirits on your way in for a crisp chilled white wine specially selected to go with the fish.
What cookbook should everyone own?
A classic favorite is any book by Alice Waters and the team at Chez Panisse. Since I am not a sweets cook, Chez Panisse dessert is my go-to bible. Chez Panisse where I honed my philosophy of artful food and ethos for using fresh, seasonal ingredients. I love the way the books reflect these values.
How did you spend your last birthday?
With Smith, exploring the food, culture and arts in the fabulous city of Oaxaca, Mexico
We barely tapped the surface and can’t wait to go back.
What age do you feel right now and why?
I don’t really think about age. I focus on how I feel. I feel vibrant. I feel curious. I feel excited about life. I’m continuously evolving and finally feeling comfortable in my own skin.
What do you feel is the biggest sign of weakness in another person?
a lack of empathy.
it’s talent night, what will you be bringing?
Dj tunes and good music for everyone to dance to.
What did you like to buy from the school cafeteria?
I always brought my lunch. My mom wouldn’t let us eat processed foods, thankfully!
What did you worry about today?
i’m not a big worrier, per se. I am more apt to feel overwhelmed. There’s so many things I want to do!
What was your worst job?
There are no worst jobs. I’ve had great opportunities, amazing mentors and I am grateful for all of them. I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life.
Were you ever bullied?
I remember one incidence where I was bullied in a bathroom by a group of students. It was quite terrifying. I hope I never made anyone feel bullied.
Would you rather have unlimited international air tickets or never pay at restaurants?
unlimited air tickets.
What Do You Think Of Homemade Gifts?
I think anything from the heart is lovely.
What Smell Brings Back Great Memories?
My mom was a great cook. She is probably the reason I grew up with a passion for food.
When she cooks anything, it brings back memories of all of us sitting at the table together as a family.
Alisa Barry lives in Atlanta Georgia with her husband Smith Hanes, she is the founder and creative director of Bella Cucina. Bella Cucina has been featured on Oprah's " Favorite Things" show in "O" Magazine, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Gardens and Cooking Light.