Kristin Jackson | Highway Inn

Kristin Jackson

opened her Southern food restaurant, Kiss My Grits, in Honolulu in 2011 to much acclaim. The establishment was awarded a People’s Choice for Best New Restaurant that year and served classic dishes such as fried chicken, biscuits and gravy and Eastern North Carolina-style pulled pork—the iconic foods of her beloved home state. Kristin closed the doors of her restaurant after two years but is still asked about making her famous Buttermilk “Cat Head” (a reference to the size) Biscuits & Gravy. We are honored to have her share the dish at Tūtū’s Kitchen.

Kristin is the owner of Jackson INK, a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations consulting firm. She has represented prominent non-profit organizations, the television show Baywatch Hawaii, Morimoto Waikiki and recently served as unit publicist for ABC Studios. She currently represents talented local musicians, restaurants, filmmakers and performing arts groups such as Blue Note Hawaii, J. Dolan’s and Manoa Valley Theatre. Kristin also serves as the current president of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Hawai‘i Chapter.

How did you learn to make this dish?

Learning to make biscuits is a rite of passage in Southern family, so I grew up watching my tūtūs make them,” she says. “Biscuits and gravy are the quintessential comfort food, made from simple, inexpensive ingredients. The recipe is my great-grandmother Lucy’s. She ran the town’s boarding house where residents got three meals a day. As simple as the recipe is, you have to learn it by doing—it’s all in the feel of the dough between your fingers. And the gravy—well, you have to make your own sausage! That’s the key.

Why are food and cooking important to you?

Cooking is the tie that binds a family together in the South. Celebrations, funerals, potlucks, birthdays—basically every opportunity to get together calls for food. I had a restaurant job in college where I learned to cook and fell in love with it, but I’d never really cooked much before I opened Kiss My Grits. I did it because I wanted to return to my roots and revive all my family recipes to share an authentic experience. Food is the common thread we can all relate to, and it comforts us in the worst of times. To this day, my favorite food is Kraft macaroni and cheese—it makes me feel happy and warm and fulfilled.

Buttermilk Biscuits & Gravy is our May 2019 Tūtū’s Kitchen dish