Eddie Hernandez of Taqueria Del Sol: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on May 01, 2010

eddie hernandez - taqueria del sol ITCKWhile executive chef Eddie Hernandez may not be a household name, his restaurant chain sure is.  Ask someone to get tacos in this town, and there is a good chance that they’ll suggest one of the three Taqueria Del Sol locations as their destination du jour.  Started a few years back with a single location over on the Westside, the restaurant now stretches across Atlanta’s waistline like Orion’s Belt.  With locations on Cheshire Bridge and in Decatur, this taco bar empire has even showed up in Athens.

At the epicenter of this tortilla fest is founding chef Eddie Hernandez.  Along with Mike Klank, the duo opened the Westside location way back in 2000 [Holy Crap! That’s 10 years ago].  You may have caught wind of that; this past month TDS celebrated their anniversary with a handful of events.  They also made an appearance at the Souper Jenny Food Truck Extravaganza.  If anyone is capable of handling all the running around, it’s Hernandez.  The politically inclined gent once served as the mayor of Rosebud, TX.  How’s that for a career change?

In any event, Hernandez has turned in his pen and paper and taken up a knife and tortilla maker.  Thankfully, he found some time to join us for a little Q&A on this week’s edition of Inside The Chef’s Kitchen.  Taqueria Del Sol is as popular as ever, and Hernandez is the reason.  So get your Mint Julep (it’s Derby Day after all), kick back … and welcome to ITCK!

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Hector Santiago Of Pura Vida: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen #18

Posted by Foodie Buddha on April 23, 2010

hector-santiago-itck On the last season of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Atlanta made some real headway.  We were fortunate enough to have three local chefs make it on to the hit reality TV show.  Since then, the city hasn’t stopped buzzing.  Many moons ago, Kevin Gillespie, pork tats and all, was kind enough to make an appearance on our weekly series, Inside The Chef’s Kitchen.  Now, thanks to Hector Santiago of Pura Vida, we welcome the second of those three chefs.

Stupidly exiled from Top Chef after a French themed challenge (in which the one French chef on the show represented suck-tastic), Hector is back in our city and doing his thing.  Puerto Rican through and through, you can find him slinging pans most any night at his tapas restaurant in Virginia Highlands.  Appropriately located just off Ponce De Leon Ave (Ponce de León himself played an important role in Puerto Rico’s history … he brought them rum amongst other things), Pura Vida is one of the long standing Latin restaurants in the city.

What better way to end this beautiful week with a mojito and some light reading.  And with that, welcome to ITCK!

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Chef Bradley Rouse, Atlanta Hawks Team Chef: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen #17

Posted by Foodie Buddha on April 16, 2010

bradley-rouse-itck Here on Inside The Chef’s Kitchen, we like to branch out a bit and look for people outside the Atlanta restaurant community.  For this weeks visit, we have Bradley Rouse, whose serves as the executive chef for the Atlanta Hawks.  In his spare time, he also heads up a little venture by the name of All Star Chefs (website), a chef service for athletes.

After graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta, Rouse went to work for Carbo’s Café, a now defunct French-American restaurant that was quite popular around these parts.  Rouse eventually landed at Prime Restaurant as their sushi chef before leaving the Capital of the South for a job a Wolfgang Puck’s Grand Café in Fort Lauderdale.

But alas, the call home was too much to ignore, and Rouse returned home, where he is responsible for feeding employees of the Highlight Factory, our beloved Atlanta Hawks.  That’s no sluff position, especially since one of the Hawks is now a restaurateur himself.

So it’s with great pleasure that we’re treated to pictures of Rouse along with a little bit of his time.  Hope y’all enjoy … and welcome to ITCK!

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Chef Craig Richards of La Tavola: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen #16

Posted by Foodie Buddha on April 09, 2010

craig-richards-la-tavola-itckCraig Richards of La Tavola in Virginia Highlands has been serving up straight up Italian food for the past several years at the neighborhood trattoria.  As many with many residents of Atlanta, Richards didn’t start off here.  He relocated to Atlanta from Kansas by way of Kansas City.

While in Kansas City, Richards had the opportunity to work under Lidia Bastianich.  Bastianich, one of the earliest celebrity chefs, is a fairly well known restaurateur and cookbook author.  You may remember her from her PBS TV show.

But alas, Richards left Bastianich’s care after spending some time in her eponymous Pittsburgh restaurant and moved to Atlanta.  Now as the executive chef of the Fifth Group’s La Tavola, Richards spends most of his time hunkered down in the kitchen.  He’s not all work though, you can find him cavorting around facebook or posting to his blog, which he started in August of last year.

Despite his handful of obligations (kids, wife … swimming), Richards did manage to squeeze us in for a little bit.  So sit back and enjoy … and welcome to ITCK!

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Chef Todd Richards Of Rolling Bones BBQ: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen #15 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on April 02, 2010

todd-richards-itck Todd Richards is fairly well known around these parts. Richards’ restaurant group (Lush Life Group) is the driving force behind Rolling Bones BBQ and One Flew South, that high-end restaurant located in Hartsfield-Jackson’s E-Concourse.  However, his notoriety isn’t limited to the Capital of The South.

Mixed in with his stay in Atlanta, Richards spent time in Chicago, in Nashville, and in Palm Beach as the chef de cuisine at the Ritz-Carlton.  In fact, all that work even earned him a spot on an episode of Iron Chef America.  Nowadays, you’ll find him sticking close to home as he works on a bounty of different projects.  One of the most accessible is his blogs, which is one of the better chef scribed blogs to come out of Atlanta.

But of course, Richards still makes time for we poor plebeians of the pen with a stopover for Inside The Chef’s Kitchen.  So on this Friday of beautiful weather and happenings, take a peek at what Chef Richards has to say.  If you take a liking to Richards’ humor, be sure to check him out on twitter @Rollingbonesbbq. And with that, welcome to ITCK!

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Chef Steven Hartman Of Le Vigne: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen #14

Posted by Foodie Buddha on March 26, 2010

steven-hartman-itckSteven Hartman is still a relative unknown around these parts, but that doesn’t mean we’re the least bit upset to have him here on Inside The Chef’s Kitchen.  As it turns out, the young chef of Le Vigne restaurant at Montaluce Winery has already made quite the impression on many Atlanta bloggers and foodies.  Like many others, I first stumbled across Hartman during that trip.  Since then I have been dying to get back for a meal all my own.

Though Hartman is a transplant from the highly regarded Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, TN, he already seems right at home at the Dahlonega-based winery.  If you don’t have a chance to skedaddle up to Le Vigne, you can follow all the action from Steven’s blog, humorously named Hogballs & Mountain Dew.  He also drops in over on twitter via @hogballs.

Fear not ladies and gents, Steven won’t actually serve you any hog balls (unless maybe you ask him).  In any event, we’re glad he took time out of his day to drop in here.  So grab your morning coffee, sit back and relax, and welcome to ITCK!

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Chef Ron Eyester Of Rosebud: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen #13

Posted by Foodie Buddha on February 12, 2010

ron-eyester-itckRon Eyester is a longtime fixture of the Atlanta restaurant scene.  The one time chef of Food 101 in Morningside/Virginia Highlands now serves as the owner of the restaurant.  Renamed and rebranded as Rosebud, Eyester continues to pump the city full of love from his headquarters of worldwide domination.

A huge deadhead in his own right, the musically inclined chef loves to take his polished neighborhood restaurant and open it up to fun times.  Case in point, Eyester is turning Rosebud into a sea of white on March 3rd.  That night, he’s hosting “The White Dinner,” a tribute the the cult classic Beatles album of a similar name (aka The White Album).  Full details are are up on the Rosebud website, so go have a look-see.  Meanwhile, I’ve included a copy of the menu after the jump.

So back on point, Eyester is a social dude, so you should definitely check him out on twitter via @TheAngryChef.  Meanwhile, keep reading to see what he things of my take on Proust.  And with that, welcome to ITCK!

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Chef Todd Annis Of Bold American Catering: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen #12

Posted by Foodie Buddha on February 05, 2010

todd-annis-itck Chef Todd Annis has definitely earned his knives.  As the current head of Bold American Catering, Annis is in charge of the catering arm of Fifth Group Restaurants.  Prior to that, he spent time slinging pans at places like Carbo’s Café, Araxi, and the much discussed but now defunct Rainwater.  If you’ve ever snacked on some grub while at the King Plow Art Center or Studio 887, chances are … you tasted some of Annis’ food.

You can see some of the blurb on Annis over at Creative Loafing.  It’s a piece from ‘01 when he was at Rainwater.  Meanwhile, you can also show your appreciation by giving his Facebook fan page some love.  But before you move on, kick back on this rainy Atlanta day and enjoy some musings.  And with that, welcome to ITCK!

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Chef Robert Gerstenecker Of Park 75: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen #11 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 22, 2010

robert-gerstenecker-itckFor the past 5-plus years, chef Robert Gerstenecker has helmed the kitchen at Park 75, the flagship restaurant of the Four Seasons in Midtown.  In addition to being an acclaimed fine dining spot, the restaurant has also garnered a good bit of attention for their tea service.

A Canuck by trade, the well traveled Gerstenecker has been with the Four Season chain since the early nineties.  He has spent time working everywhere from his native land to the Chinese port conglomerate known as Hong Kong.  It should be no surprise that Asian influences will sneak their way into the menu at Park 75.  If you do decide to visit Gerstenecker, there is a chef’s table in the kitchen.  It’s a friendly twist to a relatively upscale environment. 

So while the seasons of our food lives continue to fluctuate, Gerstenecker keeps his nose to the ground and his food up to date.  Though I have yet to weigh in on P-75, it’s a place revered by many.  Time to get to know the man behind the stove.  And with that, welcome to ITCK!

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Chef Ford Fry Of JCT Kitchen: Inside The Chef’s Kitchen #10 3

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 15, 2010

ford-fry-itck Seeing as I’m actually in town, I figured … what the heck … I might as well post something.  As luck would have it, today is Friday! And that means, it’s Inside The Chef’s Kitchen Day.  Today’s participant is the longstanding executive chef/partner of JCT Kitchen & Bar.

Ford Fry has been a fixture on Atlanta’s culinary scene for some time and comes backed by several noteworthy awards and accomplishments.  While JCT Kitchen and I haven’t always mixed well, it’s a restaurant with a solid reputation.  Besides, you don’t end up on the Food Network for being a slouch.

In another one of life’s strange coincidences, I ended up at JCT for dinner last night.  It was a strong meal highlighted by some impeccably fresh Otter Cove oysters and killer pork sliders (yes … those same sliders that I was so cold shoulder about).

There is no doubt that Fry is a skilled chef, a hard worker, and someone who focuses on making his restaurant and food a success.  Three things this community should not overlook.  So welcome Ford and welcome to ITCK!

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