Andy Little is a storyteller. You won’t read his tales in a book or hear them around a campfire, though. Instead, you can taste them—the executive chef at Josephine in Nashville, Tennessee, lets his dishes do the talking.
“The restaurants that I really, really love are the ones where you know that there’s a personality behind the menu,” Little says. “It’s a story being played out in the food.”
Born and raised near Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Little started working as a waiter to pay for his studies at the Culinary Institute of America, but quickly worked his way from the front to the back of the house. He had stints in the kitchens of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. restaurants, before making his way to Nashville. In his five years at Josephine, Little has crafted a menu that showcases a blend of his Mid-Atlantic roots and his love for Southern cooking.
“I want our customers to think, ‘Yep—somebody in that kitchen is from Pennsylvania, but now he lives in the South, and what an interesting menu,’” he says. “I’m trying to form a direct line from where I’m from and where I am.”
Little’s pickled watermelon rinds are the perfect tie between his past and his present. His recipe hasn’t strayed far from his great-aunt’s Thanksgiving table, where he was first introduced to the dish as a child. He keeps it simple, using flavoring ingredients like bay leaves, cloves, and mustard seeds that you likely already have in your pantry. “I’ve messed with it too many times, but I always go back to her original recipe,” he says. “I want to be able to drill down into the root of the flavor.”
For a sweet summer treat, add a spoonful of the freshly-made pickles to charcuterie and cheese boards. Store the rest for a tasty cranberry sauce substitute when Thanksgiving rolls around.