Title: Executive chef, Alchemy Memphis
Hometown: Vicksburg, Miss.
Who or what was your first cooking influence? My grandmother, for sure. She was taught by her grandmother. She (his grandmother) was from a small town in Mississippi. She spent a lot of time in New Orleans. She did a lot of Italian food, and she did a lot of German food.
What was the first thing you ever cooked or baked? Probably something with my grandmother. There was a little stool I had, so I could see up on top of the counter. It was probably like Sunday dinner.
You studied archaeology at University of Mississippi. What did you like about cooking to make you decide to become a chef? I guess the creative process of cooking. The adrenaline. The camaraderie of the kitchen.
What is something important a fellow chef taught you? (New Orleans chef/restaurateur) Donald Link told me one time, "Don't call yourself a chef until you are one."
Have you ever cooked for a celebrity? (Chefs) Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse. When they filmed the movie "The Help" down in Greenwood — Sissy Spacek, the producer (and other cast members).
What do you cook at home, if anything? Comfort food. Stuff you can just put in a pot and cook all day. Pasta and gravy. Red beans and rice.
What's your favorite food? Fried chicken.
Have you got a favorite fried chicken place here? Uncle Lou's is pretty good.
What's your least favorite food? Well-done salmon. It tastes like cat food.
Alchemy Memphis is at 940 South Cooper; 901-726-4444