By Frank Mack
As a food writer, I normally use this space to write about restaurants. Duh. Well guess what? I found the best chef around.
There, I said it. And now I have to back it up. His name is Andy Brackner and he doesn’t even have a restaurant. It’s hard to imagine the kind of person that keeps a catering business flowing but this guy does it. His business, for which he serves as Executive Chef, is called Talk of the Town Catering and he should, in fact, be talk of the town.
I grew up in the restaurant business so I know the hard work that goes into preparing high quality food and I love to write about it. The catering business is a new one to me, but after learning about this guy’s work, and the food he produces, I was completely blown away. I mean this guy is producing high quality food on the go and in a multitude of places. This is a whole new world to me, and oh let me mention, his main kitchen burned last year and he just kept going. Here’s the story.
On Memorial Day weekend last year, Talk of The Town in historic Roswell burned, and that is when the business end of Roswell came together. Brackner received help from local restaurateurs like Ryan Pernice at Osteria Mattone and Marc Wegman of Adele’s, who assisted in keeping the business working. There were other folks like Lonnie and Karen Mimms, of Mimms Enterprises, who facilitated a deal to use Northview Church as a temporary space. I mean any business is tough, and this catering thing is a killer, but to jump through all of that is admirable. And it is a true story of neighbors coming together.
But this is more than just a feel good story; this is also about a chef who is very skilled at his craft. Brackner is putting creative soul, against technical skill. Creating everything from teaspoon-sized delights of creative genius to slabs of succulent red roast beef. The ideas come off him.
What makes Brackner remarkable is that you never see him create anything at all. You can spend the day with him. And you’ll never see him cook. And it’s understanding this that makes Talk of The Town such a remarkable kitchen experience.
To call the catering business fluid would be an understatement. I mean I admire when someone produces a great dish from a kitchen that is a few feet away, but this guy is producing food from miles away, without compromise, and it is a team effort. You can’t do it otherwise. You can’t train it otherwise. You have to trust the people. Really trust them and allow them to do the job and give them space to create and execute.
Nothing happens without a plan, and Talk of the Town is amazingly organized. Brackner, with his Chef de Cuisine Trey Gunning, push way beyond creative. They create a drop- dead, accurately acting, stream of culinary logistics. It ain’t as easy as Brackner makes it look. This is a symphony of food porn and things run the way Brackner wants them to run. Everything meets his sense of style and there is a wonderful pace to it all.
If you have not been to an event featuring his work then you are missing out. They produce cuisine built around the freshest most seasonal ingredients available for almost any event you can imagine. Because you’ll never see Brackner do so much as break an egg does not mean he’s invisible. He is everywhere but carries a very unassuming presence that could go unnoticed. Andy Brackner is the nicest person you will ever meet and the feel good to this story is well deserved. That’s our Andy, one of a kind, and he is one excellent chef and that is all you need to know. To find out more about Talk of the Town Catering, their site is www.talkofthetownatlanta.com.