Brenda Gantt is a retired American schoolteacher-turned-chef and internet personality. She went viral on Facebook in March of 2020 for her biscuit-baking video. Currently, Brenda hosts the Cooking with Brenda Gantt show on Facebook and operates a B&B out of Andalusia called The Cottle House.
Who is Brenda Gantt?
Brenda Gantt is a native of Northport and currently resides in Andalusia, Alabama.
Gantt spent most of her career as a schoolteacher. A graduate of Northport’s Tuscaloosa County High School, Gantt taught in the Tuscaloosa County School System. After moving to Covington County, she taught at the schools there until her retirement.
Gantt gained overnight fame when one of her cooking videos went viral on Facebook in early 2018. Since then, Gantt has cultivated millions of followers on her social media and has become somewhat of a local celebrity.
“Big Mama” — as her children and grandchildren call her — regularly posts videos from her kitchen. Her recipes, combined with her charming wit and religious ramblings, have made her into a household name. Her audiences greatly enjoy her Southern-infused recipes like dumplings, fried chicken, sausage, baked beans, meatloaf, peanut brittle, etc.
Outside of her online activity, Brenda owns and operates The Cottle House Bed & Breakfast outside of Andalusia, Alabama. She and her late husband purchased a 1900s house and had it renovated to serve as the location of her B&B. Moreover, Brenda personally sees her guests and prepares her famous recipes. Passers-by especially love her fried pies, fried dumplings, biscuits, scrambled eggs, and cheese grits.
Brenda was in the twilight of her life when she stumbled into fame accidentally.
In March 2020, in what was a routine day for Brenda, she posted a video on her Facebook of her baking biscuits. No one, not the least Brenda, would have thought that the video would go viral and make her into an overnight sensation.
Speaking to Fred Hunter of WBRC-6 in August 2020, Brenda said:
“One day I was just cooking lunch. And I thought, ‘Well, I’m just going to hold my phone up right here and I’m going to get my biscuit bowl, and I’m going to make these biscuits on my little Facebook and I’m going to put it on there.'”
Furthermore, she went on to say,
“My little 500 people I had on my Facebook, I guess they all shared it and they shared it and they shared it and within two weeks it had hit a million views, and I think right now it’s at 3-million views and America is making biscuits!”
At the time of the interview, Brenda was fast approaching 700 thousand Facebook followers. She subsequently hit the one million followers milestone in September 2020. As of June 2021, Brenda’s “Cooking with Brenda Gantt” page has 2.3 million followers on Facebook.
Using Social Influence for a Good Cause
Furthermore, Brenda helps drive local businesses in the rural Alabama town. Through her online following alone, she helped local businesses thrive, and in some cases, stopped them from going out of business.
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Besides that, Brenda is a devout Christian, and besides her cooking videos, she has influenced swathes of people to attend church. In addition, she singlehandedly increased the viewership of the Bethany Baptist Church’s online services.
Nathan Daniels, a pastor at Bethany Baptist, attributed Brenda for the increased viewership on the church’s YouTube videos:
“There’s just been a very significant uptick primarily because of her encouragement. It’s not just encouraging people to tune in to worship – which is great and we’re so thankful she makes that stand – but in every video, in everything that Brenda does, she’s going to be a light for Jesus.”
At the time of this writing, Brenda Gantt is 75 years old. Brenda was 73 and in the twilight of her life when she went viral in early 2018.
One of the reasons why Brend is so beloved is her drive. Even at 75, she has the vitality of someone much younger — rarely does she take a day off work. When she is not making videos to post on her “Cooking with Brenda Gantt” Facebook page, she is the head chef at The Cottle House Bed & Breakfast.
Inspired by Her Mother
Talking to StyleBluePrint.com, Brenda Gantt spoke about the pivotal role her mother played in inspiring her to take up cooking. According to Brenda, her mother was an excellent cook. Not only did her mother have great taste buds, but she also had Brenda help her out in the kitchen.
Reminiscing those days, Brenda singled out a particular day that she recalls:
“… when I was a child, I didn’t like cheese. But Mother kept making macaroni and cheese for me over the years. Eventually, I came to like it.”
Hence, Brenda credits her love for food and her work ethic to her mother.
On September 23, 2018, Brenda Gantt was widowed when her longtime husband, George Gantt, passed away at the age of 72. They had been married for 50 years since tying the knot in 1968.
George Gantt was born George Patton Gantt on April 6, 1946, to Pollard Revenel Gantt and Edra May Worley Gantt. A native of Andalusia, Alabama, Gantt graduated from Andalusia High School, class of 1964. At Andalusia HS, Gantt was a stellar athlete, playing football, basketball, and baseball at a high level.
Subsequently, he enrolled in the Business program at Livingston University in Alabama. After getting his degree, Gantt served in the United States Marine Corps.
Following his discharge, Gantt remained in law enforcement as part of the Alabama Beverage Control Board. In his 25 years at the ABC Board, Gantt reached the rank of Chief and Director before retiring.
A man of many talents and equally as many passions, Gantt dabbled in many different things. He operated a lodge called Hickory Ridge Lodge. Furthermore, he also ran an antiquities shop called Sweetgum Bottom Antiques.
When he was not pursuing his passions, George was pledging devotion to God. A fierce and devout Christian, George was a deacon at the Bethany Baptist Church for 25 years.
George was laid to rest at the chapel in Bethany Baptist Church. He is survived by his widow Brenda, their two children, and five grandchildren.
Both Brenda’s children are married and have their own families. Consequently, Brenda has five grandchildren.
Hannah Gantt is married to District Attorney Walt Merrell. They have three children together, all daughters: Bay Merrell, Cape Merrell, and Banks Merrell.
On the other hand, Brenda’s son, Dallas Gantt, is a police officer with the Tuscaloosa Police Department. He married a fellow Tuscaloosa police officer, Anna Gantt. Moreover, they have two children together: daughter Isabella Gantt and son William Gantt.
Brenda’s grandchildren take after their late grandfather in that they are all athletically gifted.
Brenda Gantt Cookbook
Gantt is in the thick of publishing her first cookbook, It’s Gonna Be Good, Y’all, due on November 12, 2021.
Pre-ordering is available now with a slated price of $34.95. According to the official description, the book features over a hundred of Gantt’s signature recipes for breakfast, dinner, and supper. Furthermore, the book has “personal stories, helpful instructions, and photos of every recipe.”
Brenda Gantt gained worldwide popularity through her signature take on several classic Southern recipes. Her recipe for buttermilk biscuits went viral on Facebook and was the driving force that propelled her to Internet stardom.
Her recipes are no secret, and she shows step-by-step how to make her recipes on her “Cooking with Brenda Gantt” Facebook videos. In addition, she has a cookbook out soon, where she admittedly has over a hundred recipes.
Among the recipes listed, fans can now learn the secrets behind her buttermilk biscuits, tomato gravy, fried okra, squash Alabama, mac n’ cheese, orange slice cake, and chocolate fudge pie.
|Date of Birth||1947|
|Place of Birth||Northport, Alabama, USA|
|Birth Name||Brenda Ann Hicks|
|Famous Name||Brenda Gantt|
|Education||Tuscaloosa County High School|
|Age||75 years old|
|Profession||Teacher, Chef, Internet Personality|
|Married To||George Gantt (? – September 23, 2018; his death)|
|Children||2 (5 grandchildren)|
|Online Presence||Facebook, Instagram|