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Southern Elegance and Culinary Mastery: A Conversation with Jennifer Maune

Updated: Feb 1

Introducing Jennifer Maune, a dynamic entrepreneur and chef hailing from the heart of Little Rock, Arkansas. Amidst the joyous chaos of raising six little ones, Jennifer weaves her passions into a captivating tapestry of design, culinary arts, and heartfelt storytelling. Her blog, 'Living Life Beautifully,' has become a haven for those seeking inspiration in home design, DIY projects, and the art of creating a welcoming home. On the academic side, Jennifer graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College, and at the age of 40, embarked on a culinary journey to Le Cordon Bleu Paris, from which she received an advanced certification. A runner-up on "Master Chef," she seamlessly intertwines her culinary prowess with design finesse, earning recognition as a Better Homes and Gardens Stylemaker and High Point Market Design Influencer. As she dreams of one day opening an elevated café and pastry shop, her philanthropic heart shines through in her support for causes close to home. Join us as we delve into Jennifer's warm and inviting world, where every detail is crafted with love and shared generously with the world.

Miami Living (ML): Jennifer, it's wonderful to have you with us for this interview. Your journey from being a Southern Belle to a culinary artist, design influencer, and reality TV star is truly fascinating. To kick things off, could you share a bit about your day-to-day life in Little Rock, Arkansas, and how you manage the beautiful chaos of being a mother of six?

Jennifer Maune (JM): I’m thankful to have a village and a very supportive spouse to help manage our day-to-day life. During hectic days, we try to be intentional with our family time, say no to things that don’t match up with our family or business goals, and give grace where needed.

ML: Your blog, 'Living Life Beautifully,' has captured the attention of many with its diverse range of topics. Before we dive into the details of your culinary and design ventures, we'd love to hear about the inspiration behind the blog and how it reflects your personal journey and interests. What sparked the idea to start sharing your experiences with a wider audience?

JM:When I founded the blog as a hobby, I was looking for a creative outlet and a way to connect with other like-minded people. Over the years, I fine tuned my content to focus on all things in the home, from recipes, to design ideas, DIY projects, and entertaining tips.

ML: As a successful blogger with a significant following, how do you balance your roles as a mother of six, culinary artist, and design influencer? Can you share some insights into how you manage your time and maintain creativity across these diverse areas?

JM: My family is my first priority, so I work hard to be intentional with parenting and blocking time with our kids to just be mom. Being an entrepreneur takes focus and leadership, and I’m thankful to have a team where I can delegate, and who shares my vision and understands our goals. Creating a strategic plan with goals for each sector of our business, clear roles for my team, and a rolling “To Do” list helps manage our time more efficiently and keep things moving forward.

ML: Your venture into the culinary world began later in life, at the age of 40, while pregnant with your sixth child.  What sparked the flame to pursue a culinary degree at that particular moment?

JM: I grew up cooking with my grandmother, so I’ve always loved being in the kitchen and teaching myself various cooking methods and recipes. My passion grew for learning more and once I started culinary school, I realized this was a calling. I love creating a meal that brings people around a table to connect, make memories, and celebrate milestones. I consider it an honor and a goal to create an unforgettable culinary experience for someone. This is why I’m so excited and passionate about opening a restaurant and expanding locations across the country.

ML: Congratulations on the remarkable achievement of reaching the Runner-Up position on FOX's "Master Chef”!  Can you share a memorable experience or lesson from your time on the show, and how has that experience influenced your approach to cooking and your culinary aspirations?

JM: One of the biggest takeaways from my experience on MasterChef came from Gordon Ramsay. He taught me the importance of building layers of flavor from the beginning and throughout the cooking process. 

ML: As a three-time Better Homes and Gardens Stylemaker and a Design Influencer at High Point Market for two consecutive years, your influence in the design space is truly commendable. Can you share insights into how your love for home design has shaped your creative journey?

JM: Thank you! Just as I want to be intentional as a mother and an entrepreneur, I want to be intentional about creating a welcoming home which has most definitely shaped my creative journey. Whether I’m sharing design inspiration for my followers, or I’m helping a client with a design project for their home, I love creating beautiful spaces that are both functional and approachable. 

ML: In addition to your busy career, you're actively involved in supporting organizations like Potluck (a food insecurity organization), CARTI (a cancer organization), and The Call (a foster care organization). How do you choose the causes you're passionate about, and what impact do you hope to make through your involvement with these organizations?

JM: We try to focus on causes that align with our business goals and family interests. I’m proud that through my public chef dinners and donated private chef dinners, I’ve raised more than $50,000 for local nonprofits that address food insecurity, cancer care, and foster care in Arkansas.

ML: Looking towards the future, what's the next exciting chapter you envision for yourself? Whether it's in design, culinary arts, or beyond, what aspirations and projects are on the horizon that you're eager to explore and share with your audience?

JM: We recently launched Heritage Seasonings, a set of three seasonings including Garlic Pepper, Lemon Pepper, and All Purpose. I’m thrilled they are shipping across the country and several boutique retailers are stocking them. I am also planning to open a farm-to-table elevated restaurant in 2024, and we plan to expand the concept across the country in the coming years. 

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By ML Staff. Images courtesy of Jennifer Maune


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