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From the Neighbor- June 2018: Chef Reshard

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By ERIN HILL
Staff Writer

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Reshard Plummer grew up going to Wakulla Springs almost every weekend. Now as an adult, he is the head chef at the lodge.
“I used to go there to swim, take boat rides and I would go inside to look at Old Joe,” Chef Reshard said.
Old Joe was an 11-foot-long alligator that once lived in Wakulla Springs. He was shot and killed in 1966. After being stuffed, Old Joe permanently resides in the lobby of the Wakulla Springs Lodge.
Chef Reshard remembers watching his parents put on big spreads as a child. That‘s when his love for cooking began.

“They were always cooking for people in the church, and feeding people who came to town to visit,” Plummer said.
His father, Elder Bernard Plummer, is the pastor of Spirit of Truth Christian Fellowship, and his mother, Vernadine, is the First Lady.
Long before becoming First Lady, Mrs. Plummer was a waitress at the Lodge . That was before Chef Reshard was born, and when Edward Ball was still living
In fact, Chef Reshard is a third-generation employee of Wakulla Springs. His great-uncle Robert Jackson helped build the Lodge. Both his grandmother, Mary Jackson, and his mother worked as waitresses in the Edward Ball Dining Room, his aunt Tessie Miller used to work there in the ice cream parlor.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t until he was in high school that he realized there was even a restaurant in the Lodge.
Chef Reshard spent four years in Wakulla High School’s culinary academy. He loved cooking so much, he opted to do four instead of just the two that were required. During his second year in the academy, the students went to the Lodge for on-the-job training.
His mother and grandmother never really talked to him about their jobs at the Lodge.
“When I told them about it, they were like ‘We worked there too,’” Chef Reshard said.
Upon graduating high school, Chef Reshard continued his education at Keiser University in Tallahassee, where he earned a degree in culinary arts. While a student at Keiser, Plummer interned in the kitchen at the Lodge in 2006. He helped cook and cater events.
He worked as an intern under then-Head Chef Chris Hazelton.
Five years ago, after working at a few other restaurants in Tallahassee and Panama City, Plummer came back home to Wakulla, and applied to work in the Lodge’s kitchen.
Hazelton remembered Plummer from when he was an intern.
“He hired me on the spot,” Chef Reshard said.
He worked under Hazelton for a year, before being promoted to head chef, after Hazelton left.
As head chef, Plummer designed a Cajun style menu.
His favorite part of the job is interacting with customers, and getting their feedback. Although the food has a kick to it, Chef Reshard said it’s not too spicy. He said some customers want as hot as he can make it.
“They’ll tell me, ‘You can’t make it spicy enough for me,’” Chef Reshard said.
He’s proudly taken on that challenge more than once. Plummer said he’s made it so spicy for at least three customers, who he had to make them sign waivers before serving it to them.
Chef Reshard’s Specialty is his Cajun Bayou Pasta. The dish includes penne pasta, shrimp brought locally, fresh out of the Gulf, and alligator meat. For anyone wondering, no alligators at Wakulla Springs are harmed during the making of Chef Reshard’s dishes. All of the gators used for his dishes are farm-raised.
In addition to the Cajun cuisine, Chef Reshard also prepares tasty desserts. His 8-layer chocolate, Key lime pie, and bourbon pecan pie are all crowd-pleasers.
Phillip Rosier, who works in the kitchen under Chef Reshard, said he’s learned a lot from him.
“I never baked a cake in my whole life,” Rosier said. “He taught me how to.”
Rosier said he enjoys working under Chef Reshard, because Plummer makes the job fun. Everyone there enjoys cooking, and Chef Reshard has a vast knowledge of food.
In addition to cooking, Chef Reshard also has a love for singing. He sings with the praise team at his family’s church, and is also over the music ministry.
When he isn’t working, he spends most of his time at church, and with his family.
The 32-year-old and his wife, Shanavior, have two children, and they are expecting their third to arrive in July.