Business Spotlight: Robinson Home

Robinson+Home+employees+allowed+students+at+the+presentation+on+Thursday+to+taste+some+of+the+meals+they+could+potentially+make+in+their+dorms.

Image: Micah Howell

Robinson Home employees allowed students at the presentation on Thursday to taste some of the meals they could potentially make in their dorms.

Will Darragh, Staff Writer

Attention foodies: your search for a local gourmet kitchen store is over. Robinson Home in downtown Macon is here to satisfy your desire to shop locally in the community and to fulfill all your kitchenware needs.

In the store itself, one can find a variety of coffee products, specialty spreads, chic cooking supplies and more. They source locally produced jams and jellies from farms in Middle Georgia. They carry unique brands of plates and cutlery, fun and functional. On top of that, one of their main employees is a Mercer graduate.

Bentley Hudgens, who recently graduated from Mercer, works for Robinson Home, and is always willing to answer customers’ questions. He and all the staff are extremely knowledgeable. Hudgens said he enjoys talking about food with anyone; though he knows more about it than most, he is unpretentious and hilarious.

Aside from working on the frontlines serving customers, he teaches cooking classes a few times a month, he said. On Sept. 22, he was at Mercer to teach a cooking class sponsored by SGA.

The class he taught was about cooking with appliances that are allowed in any freshman dorm: a fridge/freezer, a microwave, and a rice cooker.

He created some memorable simple dishes. One was a quiche, or egg pie, that was easy and cheesy. Another was a sweet tooth-satisfying mug cake made with chocolate hazelnut spread. What he could not show us in the short amount of time he had, he talked about.

He also discussed multicultural food, which Jenna Bruck, a Mercer student who attended Hudgens’ class, especially appreciated.

“I love to explore different cuisines; the flavors in other countries are so different. It’s just interesting to try new things from various countries from around the world,” said Bruck. “I enjoyed the class because I learned some new recipes to do in my dorm room, and [Bentley’s] sassy attitude was funny. It made the things more fun.”

Aside from showing students how to cook, Hudgens talked to them about his jobs. He works as a personal chef for Robinson Home, but he also does work with different community organizations within Macon, he said.

He said that cooking was something that he was passionate about that has also allowed him to pay the bills, but working to improve people’s lives within the community was something he has always wanted to do.

“Instead of going away to some place with established food culture and community, I decided to be a part of the solution within Macon.” Hudgens said. “Macon has such a rich history, and it’s amazing to see how much it has changed since I went to school at Mercer. Robinson Home is just a part of that.”

The cooking class taught at Mercer was part of SGA’s Paint the Town Orange initiative. The goal of this initiative is to promote interaction between Mercer students and local businesses — instead of shopping for kitchenware at Walmart, for example, a student could support a local business like Robinson Home.

The difference is that Robinson Home is connected to the community; the money that you spend there will almost entirely be reinvested back into the community, because the owners and employees are locals,” said Cole Porter, an SGA representative.

Robinson Home has a lot to offer. They have an wide selection of bowls, plates and other dishes for a dorm room. Hudgens personally suggests investing in a line of paper plates and bowls made from recycled bamboo. They’re durable and make use of an otherwise wasted material, he said.

Robinson Home also offers cooking classes for all. At $45 per person, the classes can be hard to swing for most college students, but considering the price of going to the movies or a nice restaurant, it might be a reasonable option for a special date night.

“You would spend that much on full course dinner at a nice restaurant anyways. If you go to the class, you learn several new recipes and you will leave quite full. Plus, you get to hang out with me,” Hudgens said.

Just this year, Robinson Home opened their cafe and wine bar called Fork and Key. The cafe is in the store itself, and offers drinks along with cheese platters and other snacks.

If you want to take a trip to Robinson Home, you can find them in familiar downtown Macon, on 470 First St. Go grab a bite for lunch, shop for your room, or just chat with Hudgens. More information can be found on their website or on their Facebook page.