Where are you from and what brought you to Nashville?
I was born in a Edmonds, Washington. It is a waterfront town that sits on the Puget Sound an hour North of Seattle, the majestic Pacific Northwest. Clams, Salmon, Trout, Dungeness crab and all types of berries and produce were prevalent in my life. My grandmother was the head of the state school district cafeterias and was an excellent cook. A love for food was born in many ways and the 14 years living there created the foundation of my cooking.
I love my hometown and look forward to visiting every couple years to breathe it all in. My dad’s side of the family still resides there and if you have never visited, it is a trip worth taking if you love nature and food.
But, now my hometown lies in Nashville, Tennessee I moved here after my mother and stepfather got hitched when I was 14. It was a culture shock and sent my life in a different direction, but through all these years I have developed a deep love of Nashville. Twenty-eight years watching this city grow has been fun.
What is your role with The Chef and I?
My awesome wife and I own this little dream of ours. I do everything from writing the menus and proposals, accounting, media and all things culinary of course. Lately we have been kitchen designers and interior decorators. Exciting!
What is your career background?
I started in the culinary industry washing dishes at Bonanza (Yellow, Khaki and Green, YIKES!) and my journey took me through the Sheraton, F. Scotts, the Wildhorse Saloon and the arena with the Nashville Predators. I am a self-taught chef with the help of Emile Labrousse, Richard Bailey and numerous peeps at Levy Restaurants.
What is your “claim to fame”?
Oh Snap! I don’t know really. I have done the TV demonstrations and other media over the years but I am thinking it is the Wildhorse Saloon as a whole.
It all started with the barbecue and the bbq sauce coupled with the restaurant and catering thousands of parties. A lot of my recipes are still in use over there and my bbq sauce is still being bottled. It was a fun 8 years.
What is your favorite menu item that Chef Chris has created?
Not sure how to answer this one. I am going to defer to everyone else and say that I am my second harshest critic of my cooking behind Olivia my daughter, who does not pull any punches.
Let me give you my short list of my 3 favorite eateries:
Frontera Grill, Chicago
Arun’s in Chicago
Smiling Elephant, Nashville