Pam Gabriel, owner of Tyler, TX-based Sweet Gourmet, is responsible for evolving her store from a candy and chocolate boutique more than 12 years ago, into a culinary one-stop-shop that includes cooking classes, gourmet foods and kitchenware.
And this owner is not only big on customer service, but she’s got a pretty big Texas-sized personality as well. GOURMET INSIDER® recently got to sit down with Gabriel for some real talk about the joys in her food-centric life.
What is your favorite dish to cook at home: I don’t have a single one favorite. Anything that I can cook on Sunday afternoons. I usually throw myself into an all-day cook-a-thon for the freezer, family, neighbors and to send meals back to college for my child. I freeze a lot. Especially when it’s rainy or in the winter. I’ll cook from morning until night time. At the end of the day my husband will say, “What! And you gave it all away?”
Who is your dream sous chef? Would love to cook with Anne Burrell. She is just the neatest person. And all her recipes work and are easy to understand.
What is something you felt was a long shot but turned out to be a success? We have a bi-annual event just before Thanksgiving and Easter. It’s a lot of work on our staff and vendors but I’m always amazed at the turn out and sales for that one day event.
When I’m stressed out about holiday sales I… PRAY FIRST!!! Then every morning before the store opens, I walk the store with our staff and we go over what has to sell. We move product and focus on seasonal items that we are too heavy on.
What’s the cookbook you always go back to? Jr. League of Tyler cookbook. Or any Jr. League cookbook. Those ladies just knew how to cook. Good, old time recipes that I can change up just a little to modernize.
What’s your favorite comfort food from childhood? My Mom’s homemade tacos. It sounds so ordinary, but it wasn’t. She would cook the meat all day and deep fry the corn tortillas. Something about them was just wonderful. I remember the way the house would smell when we walked in the back door from school. She usually made them on the first day that we had a cold front blow through. Homemade tacos signaled fall and cooler weather to come. I still make them, just like she did.