NC Seafood Festival Schedule
Sunday, October 2nd | Food Lion Cooking Challenge | 12:40 PM
2014 Food Lion Cooking Challenge Champion
Brandon’s culinary adventure started at a young age as a high school senior in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Brandon diligently learned the ropes of the hospitality industry as an intern at the historic, five-diamond resort, The Red Lion Inn. After completion of his internship, he took on his new role as Maitre D where he learned the in’s and out’s of fine dining and impeccable service standards.
Upon leaving the Red Lion Inn with a new found inspiration, Brandon’s journey led him to East Carolina University, where he studied Hospitality Management. While at ECU, he was employed with the university’s food service provider, Aramark, as a student manager. He also participated in Aramark’s competitive internship program and was placed at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Never one for idle time, Brandon also worked on perfecting his craft at the local Greenville restaurant, Chefs 505, where he quickly rose up the ranks from line cook to Sous Chef in just a year’s time. After receiving his degree from ECU in 2006, Brandon was offered the opportunity to take on an exciting new role as Executive Chef at a new restaurant opening in Washington, NC – Pia’s. In late 2007, Brandon had acquired a new title as Managing Partner, as well as a second Pia’s location in New Bern, NC. He continued to operate both restaurants until April of 2012.
In the Spring of 2012, Brandon was offered a partnership opportunity with John Van Coutren Jr. in a new project at the Hilton in Greenville. After 6 hectic months of conceptualization and renovation, Greenville’s finest restaurant, Villedge Wood-Fired Kitchen & Bar was open for business on September 25th, 2012. In early 2014 Brandon became the Director of Food and Beverage for the Greenville Hilton. He still remains as a Partner and the Executive Chef of Villedge.
Get To Know Chef Brandon Qualls
What is one ingredient that you always have on hand? I always have smoked Jalapenos, Chipotle Peppers are my favorite. Heat and Smoke make great flavor profiles.
The best thing about being a chef is: Instant gratification. It is rare in any other profession that you get to experience the outcome of your work immediately. In this profession there is never a day that is the same, there is excitement around every corner.
What fall ingredient are you most excited to cook with this year? I hated them as a kid but now look forward to them in the fall. Brussel Sprouts
Favorite seafood dish to cook? I love to layer flavors and with the addition of smoked pork shoulder. I have a comfort food favorite with a Spanish flavored fish stew with shredded smoked pork shoulder. finished with a little cilantro and smoked chili crema……Done, nap time.
If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would you choose? I would go back to Amsterdam and have Rijsttafel. There is just so much to choose from. Translated into “Rice Table” It is a Indonesian small plates galore………pork belly, duck, hrimp, eggs…..the list goes on until you are full!
The Cooking With The Chefs Tent will be located at the corner of 4th and Evans Street, and will be open on Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd.