Todd Leonard is Keeping it Fresh at Big Cedar Lodge

by Big Cedar Lodge 20. July 2012 09:29

One thing Todd Leonard knows is good food.  Todd, the Director of Restaurants for Big Cedar Lodge, has been with the company for 21 years, and he makes it his business to serve the best and freshest food in the area. 

Each restaurant at Big Cedar has its own unique character.   “Buzzard Bar is very casual with a vast menu, Devil’s Pool is just a step up, a little more organized but still rustic, and Worman House, although not formal, is a little more elegant,” Todd explains.  Each one serves up dishes specifically chosen for the ambiance of that particular setting. 

Although the recipes vary at each restaurant, the quality is the same throughout.  “Keeping the menu fresh and interesting” is what sets Big Cedar Lodge apart from other dining experiences, Todd believes.  “The best thing about my job is seeing repeat guests and their families return again and again!”

One of Todd’s favorite Big Cedar Lodge recipes is “Genny Morris’ Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast,” made with free range chickens purchased locally and prepared according to the Morris’ family tradition.  By itself, or with the Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Gravy, we know it will become one of your family favorites as well!  Enjoy…


Genny Morris’ Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast

4 medium size chicken breasts

½ gallon of butter milk

Seasoned flour (salt and pepper)




Heat peanut oil in a fryer or deep edged cast iron skillet to 275°


 Place the chicken in a plastic or glass container, season the chicken with salt and pepper, pour on the buttermilk, cover and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours.


Place the flour in a container and season, after 3-4 hours remove chicken from fridge, dredge in the seasoned flour and fry for 15 to 17 minutes.  If using cast iron, you will have to turn chicken half way though cooking. When cooked, allow to drain on a paper towel.



Mashed Potatoes


3 lbs of Yukon or Idaho Potatoes

½ lb butter

1/3 cup whole milk

Salt and pepper to taste


Peel and cut the potatoes into thirds, put the potatoes into a sauce pan and top with cold water, add quite a lot of salt to the water, place on stove and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a rolling boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 20- 25 minutes or until fork tender. Once cooked, drain the potatoes, place back in the pan and put them back onto the stove to dry them out. Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the potatoes.  Add a little bit of milk; beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.  If you prefer your mashed potatoes a little looser, add a little more milk.


Creamed gravy


¼ cup drippings or butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups whole milk




Take the drippings that you fried the chicken in and heat.  Add the flour and whisk till smooth, slowly pour in the milk a little at a time to prevent lumps, reduce heat simmer for 10-15 min. stirring occasionally until milk thickens and flour is cooked out.  Add salt and pepper to taste.



Just like Todd, we try to keep this blog “fresh and interesting.”  Please let us know if there is anything you would like to see shared or discussed.  We read and respond to comments, so let us know what you think!


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Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar is tucked into the wooded hillsides of the Ozark Mountains just 10 miles south of Branson, Missouri on Table Rock Lake. This popular vacation paradise - complete with Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park - offers cozy accommodations, delicious dining options and first class service.

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