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godsey's gourmet
Story by Shaila Creekmore, Photo by Courtney Fitzwater

When Lisa Godsey and Gray Hurt opened Godsey’s Gourmet Deli and Catering in March, their concept was to offer items not available anywhere else in Jonesboro. They stocked their deli cases with specialty meats and cheeses, their shelves with unique food items from local and national vendors and many of Godsey’s signature dips, sandwich spreads and other food items prepared to take home.

To complete the gourmet specialty shop experience, Godsey and Hurt brought in a trained pastry chef who will focus on providing fresh desserts daily and cakes for weddings and parties. The new addition will allow Godsey’s to become a complete caterer providing everything from the appetizer to the dessert.

Amanda Tidwell joined the Godsey’s staff after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago this past fall where she studied to be a pastry chef. Tidwell said she is excited to bring back the advanced training she received and to provide classic baking for Jonesboro.

A 2005 graduate of Westside High School, Tidwell attended Arkansas State University for two years before moving to Chicago to attend school in 2008. Tidwell said the move to a big city was a great experience for her.

“I was really excited about going to school and going to a big city. I really fell in love with the city,” said Tidwell. “At that time, I thought I would just stay there, but when I started looking at internships with no pay, it would have been very difficult to stay in the city without a paying job.”

The opportunity then came for Tidwell to return home and complete her internship at The Peabody in Memphis at Chez Philippe. While completing her degree, Tidwell began talking to Godsey and Hurt about returning home to work in the new business.

“We wanted to be able to offer something unique to Jonesboro and offer a bakery alongside the other things we have at Godsey’s Gourmet,” said Godsey. “We are the only place in town with a trained pastry chef and that will allow us to meet our customers needs in a whole new way.”

Tidwell said that while she was nervous about returning home to begin her career, she was also excited about what she could bring back to her hometown.
“Figuring out what people will like or try is a challenge, but it’s really exciting to be in on the ground floor of this new business,” said Tidwell.

Each day, Godsey’s Gourmet will offer a number of sweet items including cakes, tarts, cookies, bread and cupcakes. Tidwell said that the flavors will change often and will incorporate seasonal fruits that are available.

“We try to use as much local produce at Godsey’s as possible. We use berries and fruits from Whitton Farms and I always make my own puree from fresh fruits for the pastries and tarts,” said Tidwell.

Tidwell said her favorite items to make are tarts. While some pies will be available, she will have tarts available on a daily basis. Her fillings will include apple, cream of coconut, strawberry and fruit with pastry cream.

Cakes by the whole or sliced will be offered. A few of the regular cakes offered are carrot, banana, cookies and cream, strawberry and coconut. Breads, both savory and sweet, are available including banana bread, zucchini bread and almond croissants. Godsey’s famous chocolate chip cookie will always be available along with oatmeal raisin, apple spice oatmeal and peanut butter sandwich cookie.

Tidwell said another of her specialties is cupcakes and she will have flavors such as chocolate vanilla bean, banana with sour cream ganache, coconut lime and margarita available. Other pastries and desserts that will be offered are tiramisu, éclairs and fruit bars.

For weddings and parties, customers can design their customized cake with Tidwell and while she’s quick to say she’s no Duff from Ace of Cakes, she can work with clients to create something special.

“I make my own toppers, my own flowers, all of the decorations by hand,” said Tidwell. “I really look up to Duff from Ace of Cakes, I would love to meet him some day.”

Each day, Godsey’s will have bakery items stocked for customers to pickup for a sweet snack or whole desserts to pair with dinner. For specific requests and flavors, Tidwell said customers are welcome to call and place orders for specific flavors or desserts – even for small orders.

Godsey’s Gourmet Market and Catering, 311 South Church Street, is open Tues.-Fri., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 336-FOOD (3663).