WHAT WE DO
Delicious food, prepared with care. Mom and pop, featuring simple classic pastas and rotating small plates showcasing the beauty and bounty of Mississippi’s seasonal produce.
John Martin Stokes
Has a cooking style that fits no mold. A native Oxonian by birth, he is classically trained in both French and Italian styles. Stokes is influenced by Old World cooking, Southern classics, and the idea that the best way to get to know someone is to break bread with them. He hopes to show everyone who he is and what he loves most in the world by communicating through the food.
It was in college where this fly-fisherman, chef, gentleman of the South, and lover of all things bucolic, found his true calling. Since, John has experience cooking all over the country - from Dallas, Nashville, Alaska, back to Mississippi. Highlighting the varied produce of the South through simple, straightforward preparation is the backbone behind Tarasque. Currently Stokes enjoys re-building his 1986 Land Cruiser, hanging out with Lauren and their dog Scufflegrit, and renovating their 1840's home in Water Valley.
Lauren Uncapher Stokes
The self-appointed Director of Quality Control, head of social media, reservationist, greeter, and FOH Manager loves making sure every patron knows how grateful she and John are that they chose to eat at Tarasque. Her pride in Mississippi and their town of Water Valley knows no bounds.
Growing up on a farm in Maine where her family grew their own vegetables and raised chickens, Lauren has always loved food. In her spare time she enjoys reading, napping, attempting to garden, and doing anything with John.
BEHIND THE NAME
French folklore tells of Saint Martha, the Patron Saint of Cooks, and her taming of the wild beast known as the Tarasque. The dragon had caused great destruction to the small villages he terrorized and the people fought back, but to no avail. Saint Martha had a different tactic, though. Using grace and charm alone, she overcame the dragon.