Ivy Odom brings an energy and enthusiasm to Southern Living’s YouTube Channel called, “Hey Y’all!” that is undeniably fun and fresh! I had a chance to sit down with Ivy for a chat recently, and I am excited to share more about her with you all!
I met up with Ivy in Birmingham, AL where she lives and works. Ivy is originally from a small town in South Georgia (Moultrie) and went to the University of Georgia in Athens. She now works at her dream job as a recipe tester/developer at Southern Living Magazine. I loved finding out more about Ivy’s path to fulfilling that dream…here she is, below, showing me her Southern Living Test Kitchen.
Ivy says, when she was younger, she wanted to be a Home Economics teacher. As a student at UGA, Ivy decided on Consumer Journalism for her major and Spanish for her minor. While in college, Ivy sought out a mentor that could help guide her on her career path. Not only did Ivy find a mentor in Rebecca Lang, but she also found a friend for life. Rebecca’s guidance, coupled with Ivy’s ambition, set Ivy on her way to reaching her goal of working at Southern Living. Below, you can see Ivy as an intern with Rebecca…a sidenote about Ivy’s connection to Rebecca is that Ivy reached out to Rebecca after Googling, and Rebecca loved the drive that Ivy showed in doing so.
After finishing college and then completing culinary school (graduated top of her class!), Ivy began as an intern for the Southern Living test kitchen. At one point, Ivy was given the opportunity to bake anything she wanted. She didn’t go small! Clearly not one to shy away from an excellent chance to let her skills shine, Ivy made an 18-Layer Chocolate Cake! 18 layers is an incredible feat. 🙂 Ivy told me the story of how her Great-Grandmother used to make this cake for Ivy’s mom and uncle- increasing the number of layers with each birthday. It became a family birthday tradition and Ivy shared it with Southern Living. The video of Ivy making the recipe quickly became the most viewed video of that year on the Southern Living YouTube Channel. Way to make a career entrance, Ivy!
Ivy has such an endearing quality about her- she draws you in with her charm and grace. And, she continues to impress you the more you get to know her. What stands out to me so strongly is Ivy’s love of learning and her intelligence and curiosity. I was surprised to learn that Ivy has also passed the level one course of sommelier training. When I asked more about her training, Ivy told me that she loves wine and being an informed consumer! What I found fascinating was Ivy’s description of how much she learned from wine and its connection to art, science, geography, climate, and history.
I asked Ivy that if she could prepare a southern meal for someone who had never been to the south, what would she choose to make. Her menu did not disappoint! I love the thought that she put into what she would want to serve as to give the best “first impression” of the south. No wonder she is an excellent representative of the south’s finest! Here is Ivy’s menu…now if we could only have her cook it for us!
Ivy Odom’s Ideal Southern Meal
Ivy said she would take cues from a traditional southern New Year’s Day meal and make a few changes to offer a warm welcome to anyone visiting the south for the first time…
Fried Catfish with Remoulade
Field Peas mixed with chopped tomatoes and chopped raw Vidalia onion
Lacy Cornbread (fried in a cast iron skillet)
And for dessert~
Ivy Odom’s Favorite Cream Cheese Pound Cake
One block of cream cheese (room temperature)
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups Swan’s Down cake flour
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 stick butter, 2 eggs in electric mixer until well blended. As batter is mixing, add in another cup of both four and sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 stick of butter.
Add in the last of the flour, sugar, butter, and eggs once the second round is mixed in well.
Finally, add in the cream cheese and lemon extract and beat until smooth. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan and place in cool oven. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours, or until fork placed in center comes out clean.
In the photo above, Ivy posed in front of the cameras and equipment they use to film Hey Y’all. I asked Ivy about the production of the episodes and she says she always likes the first take because it feels the most genuine to her. The producers and editors often like the last take because it is more practiced. The final version is usually a mix of them all. I always enjoy watching each episode and seeing the variety of topics that Ivy covers. It is especially fun to see Southern Living embracing YouTube as a source to bring content to its readers. Ivy is the perfect ambassador! In fact, a few days before Ivy and I met, she was on Good Morning America sharing recipe ideas for the Super Bowl and Ivy was outstanding! I was so proud of how well she represented all of us southern ladies (I brought her this champagne bottle as a congratulatory gift)!
Ivy talked about her southern upbringing being such a great springboard for life- from the traditions of her family to her appreciation of her always-encouraging parents. Ivy says she has always been the girl who enjoys setting pretty tables, serving delicious meals, and providing a warm atmosphere for friends and family- all thanks to the examples set before her. One of the sweetest things Ivy told me was that her grandmother gifts her a piece of silver each year at Christmas so that she will eventually have a complete set- what a thoughtful gift and heirloom. I love the strong family ties and values of southern (and all) families.
I had fun asking Ivy a few rapid-fire questions about her likes and dislikes.
- Any foods you don’t like? Cantaloupe and Cauliflower
- Favorite place to go to relax? The beach
- Favorite beach? St. George Island
- Favorite chocolate for baking? Ghirardelli
- Cocktail parties or cookouts? Cocktail parties
- Favorite apron? Hedley & Bennett
- Travel essential? Earring organizer from Amazon
- Snapchat or TikTok? TikTok
- Favorite season? Summer
- Favorite holiday? Easter
- Red wine or Rose’- Red
- Favorite hostess gift to give- Tea towel
- Favorite party favor? Flower arrangement in something to keep like a teacup
- Favorite party theme? Casual Girls’ Night with Wine and a Movie
As the mom of a teenage girl, I love the example Ivy provides to my daughter and her peers. I feel grateful to Ivy for being the epitome of southern grace combined with determination, eagerness, confidence, wit, and intelligence. I could just hug her for representing all of those values to the teens out there who are searching for young role models. I asked Ivy what message she would give to girls younger than she, and this is what she had to say~
“Girl power is a lot more powerful than you think. Be willing to fight for yourself. Be fearless but with grace. Show kindness and humility. Don’t act better than others.” ~Ivy Odom
And, with that, I think you can see why I am so excited to share Ivy on my website. I can’t wait to cheer Ivy on as she continues on her path- she reaches high and I look forward to watching her soar!
You can find more from Ivy on