1 on 1 with Chef Linda Harrell:
Anthony Bourdain professes, “Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” Executive Chef Linda Harrell knows this to be true. Learn about Linda’s culinary journey from Little Italy to the Big A. Chef Linda Harrell grew up with Italians, dined with Italians, cooked with Italians, taught Italians, and cooks for Italians at her own restaurant. Now That’s Italian!
Linda has spent her life around Italians, growing up on Long Island then moving to Baltimore’s Little Italy. As a teenager in Maryland, Linda wanted the fashions that all the “cool” kids were wearing. Linda was faced with two choices: wear her old Levi’s or get a summer job. Working kitchen preparation in Little Italy provided new clothes and experience in a high volume, well known restaurant. Two weeks in to her new job, Linda was prepping food for President Jimmy Carter and his Secret Service detail.
Next summer, Linda returned to Little Italy, finding work among the twenty-three restaurants inside this ethnic neighborhood. Linda was hooked on the Italian restaurant business. Lured in by employee meals enjoyed family-style with fresh bread, red sauce and meatballs. If you have never spent time cooking in a commercial kitchen, you may not know the shouting, extreme heat, commotion, food, fire and excitement that goes on. Linda wanted this life but an older man told her “cooking is for men, you can do salads.” Here Chef pauses and shares some words from her friend Chef Virginia Willis, “Cooking in kitchens has been done for centuries by women. Until they get paid for it, it’s a man’s job.” When you find fine food and great Chefs (male or female), I recommend you visit their establishments frequently. When you visit Cibo e Beve, keep an eye out for Chef Linda as she visits guests. She wants to get to know you, find out that you love the meatballs and make your experience better.
Harrell grew in her craft doing everything that was demanded of her. Linda then volunteered for more and continued to study on her own, often putting in eighty hour weeks. The Escoffier Cookbook at Harrell’s bedside, the last lesson of each day, learning everything she could about the kitchen.
Chef Harrell received formal French culinary training working with acclaimed Chef Daniel Yves Abid, at Kingsmill Country Club in Williamsburg, VA. Linda admires and owes a great deal to her mentor Chef Yves Abid. From here, she moved to Les Clos de Marchands in Williamsburg where Linda worked as the Executive Chef for five years. While there, Harrell received a great honor when featured as one of Williamsburg Magazine’s “Top Ten Culinary Wizards.”
Upon returning to Little Italy in Baltimore, Linda became Executive Chef at the acclaimed Trattoria Toscana. It was here that her passion for Tuscan cuisine ignited and she began to blend French technique with Italian simplicity, a wonderful emulsification. During the nine years back in Little Italy, Linda worked with the Saffi School in Florence, Italy, providing externships for Italian students to study with her, and in turn be exposed to emerging Italian cooking first hand.
A friend of a friend brought Chef Harrell to Atlanta, where she was the Chef de Cuisine at the Buckhead eatery, Antica Posta. She remained for two years until Steve Buero of Atlanta-based 101 Concepts Restaurant Group courted her to be Executive Chef of their new Italian Concept restaurant. “Steve and I hit it off instantly.” Mangia 101’s innovative Italian cuisine made it a popular restaurant, drawing crowds from all of Metropolitan Atlanta. When the restaurant sold, the 101 Concepts’ partners made her the Culinary Director of Meehan’s Public House restaurants, and the search began for a new venue to showcase Harrell’s Tuscan inspired cuisine
Cibo e Beve is born …
“101 Concepts presents a popular, authentic Italian restaurant, Cibo e Beve (pronounced chee-boh E bevay), which translates to “Eat and Drink.” Cibo e Beve celebrates the vibrant food, wine and culture of Italy, while paying respect to the best seasonal produce from local growers. With an emphasis on sustainable agriculture, Executive Chef/Partner Linda Harrell brings her passion and culinary experience of over 20 years to the table to delight guests with traditional Italian dishes.” – Cibo e Beve
Executive Chef Linda Harrell has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City and was featured on the national ABC-TV show, “Eat & Greet.” She has been featured in numerous periodicals such as Gourmet Magazine, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Flavors and Atlanta Magazine. She is a member of Les Dames d’ Escoffier International and actively participates in demonstrations and benefits throughout Atlanta.
Visit Chef Linda at Cibo e Beve for a variety of wonderful Italian food, exceptional service, an outstanding wine and cocktail program, Sunday Brunch, and perfect Holiday feasts!
Watch Linda’s Italian Delights cooking series on eHow.
Cibo e Beve
4969 Roswell Rd NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30342