Life in the Kitchen!

A look-see into the lives and food of four reputable local chefs

Article by Fayette County Lifestyle Staff

Photography by Debbie McFarland and Provided

Originally published in Fayette County Lifestyle

Chef Brian Carson

Culinary Director

Barleygarden Kitchen & Craft Bar

By: Pam Reid

How did you get started as a chef and what do you do in your current role?

I have been cooking professionally for the past 16 years alongside some of the big names in the industry. The kitchen - the very place I used to make cornbread as early as six years old - is the place where I'm able to create experiences for our customers. I created the menu for all three restaurants: Barleygarden Kitchen Avalon, Box Car at Hop City West End, and Barley Garden Pinewood. As Culinary Director, I regulate the food and oversee quality at each restaurant.

What is distinguishable about Barleygarden?

We established a butcher shop at the West End location. We sell steaks and local farmer produce to the public directly. We grew to butchering half a cow a week - all Georgia grown and grass fed - grinding it to hamburger and sending it to all our locations. This is the beef we use in our restaurants, which allows us to control the freshness and quality of product and also allows us to keep the price down. Our West End and Pinewood locations have retail stores attached to the building. After dinner, grab a six-pack of craft beer to take home.

What contributes to the Barleygarden vibe?

We want to be accessible to everyone. In all locations we have great ambiance and an amazing variety of artisan beers on tap. Our menu is playful enough, yet incredibly well-rounded - there's something for everyone. The butcher shop, the retail shops and the variety on our menu contribute to our ability to create meaningful and satisfying experiences for everyone.

What's your favorite dish on the menu?

I don't really have a favorite. I think everything is good! 

Pascal Le Corre 

Pascal’s Bistro

Owner / Chef 

By: Annie Singh-Quern

Where in France did you grow up and attend cooking school? 

Monte-de-Marsan, a small city in the southeastern part of France.  I went to school in Bordeaux, for two years, when I was 19 years old. 

When did you move to the U.S.? 

I travelled to Texas when I was 22 years old. I also lived in Colorado before moving to Peachtree City in 1997. It was always my dream to open a restaurant. I achieved my goal just a few days before 2000 began! 

How did you decide on the name, Pascal’s Bistro?

The legal name is Pascal’s American Cafe. (I was inspired by the movie, Casablanca.) Pascal’s Bistro is the shortened version. 

What does “cooking” mean to you?

Cooking in an art. It requires creativity and talent. I usually take classic French dish and modify a few ingredients to improve the recipe. I try to make it even more interesting. I feel that it’s my turn to make it better. After me, the next generation can do the same!

What are some of your customers’ favorites? 

The flounder. The dish is a classic French cuisine - poached fish in a sauce. But for the stuffing, I use crab cakes which you would not find in France, and a saffron-infused broth which is pungent and wonderful. My customers love it!

 Do you cook outside of the restaurant? 

I cook every night, at home. Always experimenting. I always want to create something new - spices, ingredients, mixtures, techniques. Lately, I created a new recipe using a rack of lamb and the Indian spice, Masala.

What is the secret to your success? 

Hard work. Always. I love my life, my job, my staff, my customers, and, I love Peachtree City.

Alvin Dayrit

Ginza Japanese Restaurant 

Head Chef

By: Jackie Boeheim

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

I was working for a small mom & pop Japanese restaurant in Miami, Florida as a kitchen helper and a dishwasher. I knew then I wanted to become a Sushi Chef, but it wasn’t easy. I was mentored by four Japanese Chefs and all four of them had different personalities, styles and skills. I immersed myself by learning from all of them. 

What is the most difficult skill to master as a sushi chef?

Mastering RICE... you need to know how to prepare rice all the time, the same way every single time. Consistency and discipline are very important. 

Tell us about the craziest sushi roll you've ever created.

The WTF roll. It’s not on the menu and yet it is the most popular roll. It all started when I was working at my old sushi restaurant in town and Todd, a special effects guy working on the movie Ant-Man, asked me to make him something spicy. I created a special roll that has diced spicy tuna on the top. When Todd took his first bite, the first thing that came out of his mouth was “WHAT THE F!” Todd and I became good friends and he still gets his WTF every time. 

What is one ingredient you could not live without?

Fresh seafood/fish. I will never compromise quality.

What is one tip you can give diners when eating sushi?

Sushi is best when it’s eaten at the restaurant, it just doesn’t travel well. 

Favorite dish at your restaurant?

A variety of fresh sashimi. I love the taste of raw fish. 

Scott Smith

Chef / Owner

The Curious Pig

By Susan Walworth

You graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta. Why did you decide to become a chef?

I’ve literally worked every position in a restaurant, and it seemed like the right path. The Curious Pig is 25 years of my life experiences wrapped into one restaurant.  It’s a lifelong dream to open my own restaurant.

Who inspired your Southern culinary style?

I loved cooking with a childhood neighbor, Angie Shelton, and with my grandmother, Rayma Smith.  She always cooked simple Southern, Lowcountry recipes.

Since your menu changes often, where do you get ideas for new dishes?

We do a lot of experimental cooking, watch tv shows, and read a lot of articles.  We have a farmer bringing us python beans, which I had never even seen before. Seeing something new is inspiring.

What is the source of ingredients for The Curious Pig’s ‘elevated comfort food’?

The Curious Pig is the first chef-driven restaurant that uses local ingredients. We work tirelessly with local farmers. The understanding of what you eat is so disconnected. Most people’s farmer is Kroger. 

What’s the one ingredient you couldn’t be without?

Butter.  Butter is my baby.

What’s your favorite item on The Curious Pig menu?

Buffalo chicken skins—all the flavors of chicken wings with an amazing crunch!

As a married father of three, do you cook at home?

My wife, Amy, and I split up the cooking at home. Emery, Slade and Lilah Grey like the typical kid stuff, but we like to make it homemade.  We leave the boxed stuff at the store.

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