Interview with 2012 Atlanta Rising Star Host Chef Chad Clevenger

June 2012

Katherine Sacks: How do you describe your style as a chef?
Chad Clevenger: I’d say it’s modern, seasonal, and bold. I’d like to think it’s well balanced, and I try and do local whenever I have access to it.

KS: Why do you focus on Mexican and Latin cuisine? What drew you to those flavors?
CC: I love the culture, I really love the flavors. I guess you could call me a chili head. From ceviche to tamales to the complicated sauces, everything about the cuisine I love. I’ve pretty much cooked Latin food for my entire career. It’s pretty much what I love.

KS: What is the hardest thing you’ve had to do in your career?
CC: Probably running my food cart. I ran it from June 2010 until April 2011 in Denver. Running a food cart is hard. It felt like a special event every day of the week.

KS: What advice do you have for young cooks?
CC: Study, read lots of books, go out to eat, read menus, and stage if their finances will allow it. A lot of people get caught up in the name of school, but you get the same education at community school. It’s what you put into it outside of school and curriculum.

KS: Where will we find you in five years?
CC: In five years, I’d probably like to take a stab at my own restaurant again. Now that I’m more seasoned, I’d like to try again. I’m knowledgeable enough now, experienced enough.