FOOD PERSON is From Clive’s weekly series celebrating chefs, tastemakers, and founders in and around the food world. Focused around creativity, entrepreneurship, and personal origin, Food Person explores the unique and beautiful connections we all have to food and dining.
Today, I’m excited to feature my friend of 10+ years, Tammy Duncan, and the amazing pasta company she’s built, Pasta Milani. Serving artisan pasta and sauces, Pasta Milani is centered around Tammy’s Nonna, who taught her to make pasta and serve it generously. With a focus on sourcing from local farms and seasonality, Pasta Milani sells at several North Georgia farmers markets and retail locations, as well as in Marietta and Alpharetta. Check out where to find the goods near you!
What is your connection to food and pasta?
Food is more than just sustenance. Food retains our memories, evokes emotion, and can most importantly offer a physical interaction with loved ones. Food is our cultural identity and means to connect to the world around us. In my family, Saturdays were for making pasta. At a young age, I fell in love with our Saturday routine at my Nonna’s house. My mother, aunt and I would join her in crafting pasta around her small wooden table — all to be enjoyed the following Sunday at our weekly family meal.
That sounds magical! I know your grandmother and the Milani family is at the heart of what you do. How are you telling her story through Pasta Milani?
Nonna Milani was my sunshine. She taught me to gather and nourish with the ones you love, as often as possible. It is my goal to provide my community with meals that will encourage more family time and cultivate the same intimate meals Nonna cooked for us, with less of the hassle. Our products contain wholesome local ingredients sold as meal kids for easy preparation. Pasta Milani is my way of recreating her nurturing meals for our community. It’s her legacy.
“Food is our cultural identity and means to connect us to the world around us.”
Pasta has such a luscious, alluring quality to it. Why do you think people are so drawn to it?
It’s simplicity and comfort. A handcrafted pasta with simple seasonings and rich olive oil can be so easy to prepare, and yet so satisfying. We aim to enable more family memories and connections around the family dinner table through our meal kits.
I know you change up your menu every couple weeks. How does seasonality effect how you make those decisions?
Not only the season, but also the supply chain can greatly impact my menu. Quite often, a particular vegetable, herb or cheese is not available — and the whole menu must be changed. I aim to source fresh and seasonal selections when available from our local farmers. Weather and other events are also considered when tailoring the menu selections. If the week calls for heavy rain, we will likely run hearty, filling comfort dishes such as Goat Cheese Ravioli and Arrabiatta Sauce. Alternately, if it’s a warm holiday weekend, we will run lighter fun dishes such as Lemon Casarecce pasta and fresh Basil Pesto.
“It’s my goal to provide my community with meals that will encourage more family time and cultivate the same intimate meals Nonna cooked for us, with less of the hassle.”
I know you’ve met so many amazing tastemakers and small business owners since starting Pasta Milani. Who are some people you’ve met that are inspiring you?
The sense of community and empowerment has been so refreshing. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the vendors I have formed bonds with at all the local farmers markets. It’s energizing to discuss sustainability and cost effective ways to rebuild our local food economy with fellow food vendors. Sabor Provisions, Beast Little Cannery, and Foraged & Farmed are a few worth getting to know!
Dream dinner party: Who’s on the guest list and what are you serving?
Amelia Earhart, Brene Brown, and Will Smith. I’d serve a radicchio and endive salad with pear and goat cheese, herb laminated pappardelle in a garlic truffle oil with grilled eggplant and broccolini. Lastly, a tiramisu soufflé for dessert!
Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Such a vibrant and unique spin on the ordinary.
What’s a recent memorable dining experience?
Jianna in Greenville South Carolina. Their diverse and stunning menu was exciting to me! The staff was well versed in the wine list and knowledgeable about their menu. At the time, they had a Campanelli dish that I had with a lemon cream sauce. It was incredibly simple but so divine!