John SomerallJohn is a private chef who was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Although trained under both George McMillan (Foodbar) and Chris Hastings (Hot & Hot Fish Club) he has developed his own style of elevated southern cuisine.

Strawberry Shortcake

John's Cornmeal Strawberry Shortcake

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8


Cornmeal Cake

  • 1 lrg eggs
  • c whole fat buttermilk
  • ½ c packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sorghum
  • c coarse yellow cornmeal preferably McEwen & Sons
  • ¾ c cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp unsalted butter

Macerated Strawberries

  • 3 c ripe strawberries, diced
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt

Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cream

  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, scraped
  • ½ c whole fat buttermilk


  • Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in oven; preheat oven to 425°F. Let skillet preheat in oven for at least 15 minutes.
  • While the skillet is preheating, whisk together eggs and buttermilk in a large bowl until frothy. Whisk in brown sugar and sorghum and set aside.
  • Whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add cornmeal mixture to buttermilk mixture; stir using a spatula until combined.
  • Carefully remove preheated skillet from oven. Add butter to skillet while swirling skillet to melt butter and evenly coat the bottom and sides of skillet. Pour melted butter into cornmeal batter in bowl and quickly stir to incorporate. Pour batter into greased hot skillet and immediately transfer to oven.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is evenly browned and sides are dark golden and pull away from skillet. Immediately invert cake onto a wire baking rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Slice the cake into wedges and serve warm with macerated strawberries and vanilla bean buttermilk cream.

Macerated Strawberries

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well incorporated. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or until the strawberries have become saturated in their own juices. Depending on how ripe the strawberries are, adjust the sweetness by adding more sugar as needed. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cream

  • Beat the heavy cream and vanilla beans in a large bowl using either a whisk or an electric mixer on medium speed, gradually adding sugar and salt, until medium peaks form. Add the buttermilk and continue beating until soft peaks form and mixture is billowy but not stiff. Serve immediately or chill up to 4 hours.