NashvilleBusiness.Net: 100 Leading Persons In Personal Services, Food & Hospitality Recipient 2018: Julia Turner-McKinley

Click Here To Listen Nashville Business 100 Leading Persons In Hospitality Julia Turner McKinley

My mother started me in the kitchen at age three. I remember it so vividly, standing on the chair at the stove and making lunch for my Dad. The lessons instilled are etched forever in my DNA. Serving others, we eat with our eyes first. “Make it pretty,” and smaller details like always toast the bread when making a sandwich have become the heartbeat of who I strive to be.

Fast forward a few years, after much success in the banking industry as well as property management. I still had this burning desire to go back to what I love.

My passion…


I started working with many of the city’s chefs doing pop-up events and also working the food truck scene. One of these is Vivek Surti of VEA Supper Club took me under his wing, where I assisted him for two years. Working with Vivek was an incredible learning experience as he exposed me to some of the most incredible culinary concepts, placing me right in trenches with some of our city’s most talented chefs.

A serendipitous introduction led me to a mentor ship with Chef Carlos Davis. Carlos reiterated the lessons of my mother, that food is love and brings the people together. We would sit and brainstorm ideas to incorporate different cultural influences, uniting through food, which to this day gives me breath.

Working with entrepreneur Matthew Carney of Smokin’ Thighs taught me so much about the business side of the industry. Matt, though not a chef, showed me if you have the right concept it can be developed into a huge success. I was fortunate to be involved in the early developmental stage of his brick and mortar location on Wedgewood Ave. in Nashville.

In the fall of 2013, I was recruited by Christie Cookie Co. Working for a small company, you have to be flexible and wear many hats. As a Nashville Original for 35 years, their passion has become my passion in delivering American’s favorite gourmet cookies. The details from the high quality ingredients used, to taking no shortcuts in the process and making them pretty are the all lessons from my youth that I’m thrilled to carry on today.

My happy place is still in the kitchen creating and cooking for my husband of 11 years, family and friends. I am a Zumba enthusiast and obsessed with my dachshund, Archie. I have a strong desire to inspire women young and old to be their greatest and to love their bodies regardless of shape or size. I was proud to be chosen to participate in Life Coach/Motivational Speaker Mary Hyatt’s Body Love/Babe Redefined campaign. I also currently sit on the local community board for Diersen Charities and volunteer with Nashville Wine Auction.

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