|Chef Tully wins competition|
|Wednesday, August 8, 2012|
A funny thing happened to Chef Tully Wilson on his way to open a restaurant on the Gallatin Square. He had an opportunity to compete in a reality TV show on the Food Network, “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell,” and won.
The show, according to their website, looks for “the critical employee who can make or break a restaurant. Each week, four candidates are put through the toughest job interview of their lives, testing everything from their culinary mettle to business acumen.”“Winning this competition is definitely going to change my life,” Wilson said Monday in a phone interview. “I need to grow into a bigger market and play in the big leagues. It was a great experience all the way around. We all learn from one another at different times of our life.”
The grand prize was a position as an Executive Chef for Todd English Enterprises which operates over 20 innovative restaurants all over the country, including New York, Boston, Las Vegas and even one on the MS Queen Victoria cruise ship. Wilson’s home restaurant will be at the W Hotel in New York City but he has been assigned to the opening team.
“I look forward to working with Todd English. I will be opening restaurants all over the world,” Wilson said. “I’m going to Mexico City to open a restaurant and I don’t know how long I will be there or where I’ll be going after that.”
The role of executive chef, Wilson explains, is not hands on in the kitchen but more about developmental, design, rescue writing, financials and labor management. “I will be designing and running the restaurant, not so much the physical cooking. My sous chef will handle the day-to-day operations.”
Chef Tully’s mother, KK Wilson, said winning the competition was a dream come true for her son. “I’m so very excited for him. He’s been pulling out pots and pans and cooking all of his life,” she said. “They say that chefs are born and not made and he certainly was born to be a chef. I’m very proud that his hard work is paying off.”
He originally hoped to open the Gallatin restaurant in June but now he hopes to be ready by the end of August. “It’s coming along. We have done a lot of layout and design work and are now working on some pretty extensive renovations that it needed,” he said.
The Lebanon native graduated from New York’s Culinary Institute of America in 2004. He then worked a year as a Sous Chef at the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World and another year as Maitre d’ aboard Clipper Cruise Line. Five years ago, he opened Tully’s Bistro in Hartsville.
“I didn’t really plan to open a restaurant. It just happened,” he said. “I was transitioning to a new position on the Pride of America with Norwegian Cruise Lines on its maiden voyage but I ended up staying home.”
By Randy Cline