Tastemaker – Coryanne Ettiene
Embracing a Need to Feed
Ettiene Market, the award-winning destination kitchen and culinary shop in historic downtown McKinney, is coming to Round Top in September, after a successful pop-up at the spring Round Top Antiques Show. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to owner Coryanne Ettiene.
As a child of the ‘80s, Coryanne Ettiene fought domesticity tooth and nail.
“I grew up in the ‘80s with a working mom,” Ettiene, owner of Ettiene Market in McKinney, said. “My grandmother was the one tethered to the kitchen. As young girls we all wanted to live the in the 9 to 5 world of our mothers, not the homemaking world of our grandmothers.”
Ettiene outpaced domesticity by traveling the globe during her 20s, earning her master’s degree abroad during her 30s, and then climbing the corporate ladder as a management consultant. Domesticity was tenacious, though. Eventually Ettiene said, “I do,” and became a wife. Soon after she had a growing family to feed.
“I was dragged into domesticity kicking and screaming,” Ettiene said. “In my younger days, my refrigerator provided a home for take-away containers and my freezer chilled good vodka.”
Despite her pronounced preference for London’s nightlife over her own kitchen, Ettiene’s curiosity kicked in. She embarked on a journey into the kitchen. Thanks to a steady trickle of small victories, she persevered in the face of occasional kitchen disasters.
“Little by little, after an awkward and extended courtship, I fell in love,” Ettiene said. “In my heart, I’m a feeder. For me, feeding someone is one of life’s greatest joys.
She continued, “If you come to my house and I don’t have something prepared, you may just go home with a stick of butter in hand. My neighbors say, ‘No Coryanne, we can’t come in because we’re not hungry.’”
Eventually she arrived at an unexpected, but passion-fueled, destination as a nationally recognized food and lifestyle expert. For nearly a decade she entertained TV audiences across the U.S. and wrote for Better Homes and Gardens, More Magazine, Traditional Home, The Daily Meal, Huffington Post and The Dallas Morning News.
In 2015, she left the lucrative security of her established career to open Ettiene Market in historic downtown McKinney, a former small town that is now part of the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
“I left a wildly successful life and took a huge risk to become a shopkeeper, especially since Ettiene Market is so personal,” Ettiene said. “The shop tells my story from the goods I’ve personally selected to my photos on the walls.”
Ettiene Market, the result of her vision and her curation of well-loved ingredients and kitchenwares, has become an award-winning destination. In 2017, Forbes magazine designated the shop as one of the “Top 15 Main Street Stores in America,” and D Magazine named it “The Best Kitchen Accessory Store” in Dallas.
“I get to be a shopkeeper because every day someone makes it a point to come and spend time in our store,” Ettiene said. “For our part, intentionally or unintentionally, we’ve created a place where people can slow down and linger. It’s always with great gratitude that we accept the honor of their presence and their purchases.”
Discovering Round Top
Several years ago, Round Top, thanks to a Better Homes and Gardens’ assignment, was a destination for Ettiene. Her editors dispatched her to the fields near Warrenton during the bi-annual antiques show to note trends in junking. Much to her chagrin, the tight deadline forced her to go home the day she arrived.
Ever the professional, she honored the deadline but stopped long enough to pick up a local real estate magazine. A few weeks later she brought her husband back to Round Top. They strolled in the post-show quiet, ate pie under the historic oaks, and succumbed to what is often described as “Round Top magic.”
“To me, Round Top offers the quintessential Texas lifestyle,” Ettiene said. “It’s bluebonnets, longhorns, rolling hills, massive oaks, small towns and quaint churches, but most importantly it’s about the people—the genuine, authentic people.”
This past spring, for the first time, Ettiene Market popped up in Round Top during the antiques show. The temporary shop was a success that Ettiene hopes to make permanent beginning in September.
“My wonderful landlord at the Round Top RV Park is currently constructing a new building especially for Ettiene Market Round Top, which we will open during the fall antiques show,” Ettiene said. The plan is to keep it open full-time for six months as a test drive for the long term.
While she is excited about the new store and the team she has assembled to run it, the hands-on, people-centric entrepreneur is nervous about dividing her time and attention between two shops and two customer bases.
“As a shopkeeper, the thing I love best is the human connection,” Ettienne said. “I want to know our Round Top customers as well as I know our McKinney customers, but because I won’t be in the shop full time it may feel a bit like speed dating to them. People need to be prepared because I tend to go from a handshake to a hug in a nanosecond.”
A Q&A with Coryanne Ettiene
We’re excited to announce Ettiene will be lending her voice to Round Top Life & Style as the creative force behind our new column, “Tastemaker.” Read on to get a taste of Ettiene’s kitchen philosophy. Her deliciously chilling wine slushies will whet your appetite for her perspective on deliciously simple food and entertaining.
RTTLS: Why is it important—and fun—to get fluent in ‘kitchen’?
CE: So much of our lives are spent in the kitchen that if we write the kitchen off as just a room in our home we write off the moments that make life enjoyable. It’s true we have to eat, and some nights it’s a chore, but I encourage you to pause in that moment and savor the chance to be together. If you view your kitchen as a happy place, you’ll make it a point to be there—and you’ll make it a point to explore beyond your comfort zone because you’re happy, your people are happy and you’re enjoying something together. Being fluent in kitchen living translates into being present in real life.
RTTLS: How is the best way to get comfortable in the kitchen if it’s not your natural habitat?
CE: What people often forget is that it’s not about being an expert in the kitchen; it is about being present in the kitchen in a way that makes you happy and comfortable. And don’t compare yourself, your kitchen and your food to the people on Pinterest and cable television. That food exists in a virtual world that is filled with assistants, stylists, lighting experts and do overs. They bake 50 cookies to get 10 photo-worthy ones. You live and cook in the real world—and the goal is to deliver love in food form.
RTTLS: What is the secret to a good dinner party?
CE: Be a happy host. We’ve all been to a dinner party where the hosts have worked themselves silly putting together an elaborate Martha Stewart-esque spread, and they’re stressed, tired and irritable. Stress is contagious, and it kills a good time.
Remember, it’s about the people not the things. Your friends are coming to be with you not to eat off your great-grandmother’s china. If you don’t cook, order in and set a beautiful table, or host a pot luck or have it catered. It’s okay to say, “I want to spend time with you, but I burn Minute Rice®, so I had ABC prepare this for us to enjoy.”
I’ve noticed that the more intention poured into dinner party perfection the more stressed the guests are and the more reluctant they are to reciprocate. People don’t want to feel compelled to compete. They want to spend time with people they enjoy.
by Lorie A. Woodward
Photos courtesy of Coryanne Ettiene